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Trials From Without - Lesson 14 - An Empowered Husband

1 Peter 3: 7

The power of Spiritual Reality

7 You husbands, in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

We talked last time about the power God vests in wives to influence their husbands for good. It’s the inner beauty of a meek and fearless spirit that connects with God’s work to reach even a disobedient man. In one verse, Peter addresses husbands, beginning with “in the same way.”

The same way is the way of faith. Sarah was the example of a godly, protected wife whose husband, Abraham, twice subjected her to an unthinkable threat. She passed through the trouble unscathed because God watched over her. Now, employing that same kind of victorious faith, a husband is instructed on how to relate to his wife.

First, a husband must be understanding (using practical knowledge, discretion, and prudence), realizing his wife is probably physically weaker. I say probably because it’s sometimes not true, but the man should always allow for a difference and show his wife patience and kindness at all times. This seems obvious, but many of us have been in moments of stress where we demanded too much of our wives, and gentleness was forgotten. Maybe you’ve had that happen and there was an observer who pointed out your harshness — that’s pretty humiliating.

The next thing to do is honor your wife as a fellow heir of the grace of life. Earlier in this chapter, Peter spoke of wives being submissive to their husbands, and some men erroneously take that to mean they should rule over their wives. A husband is to lead the family; he will give an account for all that happens, but the ground is still level at the foot of the cross, and there is no hierarchy in Christ. Wives are fellow heirs with husbands in all God is doing in grace, and husbands must have an attitude of equality when dealing with their wives. Men, you will be blessed by the insights your wife will share with you out of God’s Word if you are listening. However, if you take an attitude of superiority, you will forfeit much in your marriage. Intimacy will be undermined if you make your wife feel like she is lesser or secondary. She may withdraw to some extent for lack of motivation caused by feeling belittled. If this continues long enough, it may threaten your marriage or leave it open to external sabotage. Consider Paul’s words to the Galatians:

Galatians 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

In God’s view, there isn’t even such a thing as male and female, but we are all one in Christ. Sure, a man must carry out his family responsibility, but always with an attitude of honoring and valuing his wife as a person divinely endowed with all the same things he has from God.

There is a reward. The man with these attitudes toward his wife will have a successful prayer ministry. Mistreating a wife or having a haughty attitude toward her will hinder a man’s prayers. God will not answer the prayers of a man who dishonors his wife. I’ve known men in this position, and their frustration level was high, yet they didn’t seem to notice what they were lacking in their prayer effort. They were so full of themselves that they trucked their wives in many ways. Then God withheld answers to prayers, but they ran right over that warning, and their conflict reflected in their children to where the family was marked by tension and anger.

Men, stop and take inventory of your marriage. Would your wife say she is cared for with the gentleness a woman deserves? Is she honored for who she is and what she does? Does she feel that she is your equal? Or are you just blasting ahead, doing your thing, leaving her to fit in where she can?

Maybe you two should find a quiet place where you can candidly discuss your relationship in light of 1 Peter 3:1-7 and find out if God has more for you than you have been experiencing.

There is no better human relationship than a fully intimate marriage.

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