When my wife posted “10 Marriage Tips Every WIFE Should Hear“, we began to receive comments from women who were offended by some of the tips. For the most part, they felt that some of the concepts were from the 50′s and really don’t apply anymore. Out of necessity, we have become a “self-help for women” society which is fantastic, but most resources aren’t teaching biblical principles. Instead, it’s more of a DIY plan for a woman to be completely independent of men. So when women read “Respect your husband” or “God, husband, kids…in that order” and take offense, I can understand why. However, my wife and I stay as close to a biblical marriage model as possible and at no point do I hear these things from her. Why is the perspective so skewed?
At no point do I dominate my wife or use her as a doormat. As far as I’m concerned, God put her in my path as a blessing and as part of His purpose for me. Her respect for me is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of understanding her role in our marriage. The verse below is about as clear as the bible gets about how a wife should treat her husband:
1 Peter 3: 1-2 NKJV
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. “
My wife is far from perfect, but I see her live out this verse to some extent on a daily basis. We have a blended family of five children. There are a lot of decisions to be made, and we don’t always see eye to eye on how to handle things. In those times, she defers to me. The final decision rests with me in our family, and in the end, knowing that my wife trusts me to make those important decisions motivates me to consistently strive for what is best for our family. This is what submission means in a marriage. It means that while we are a team, the responsibility and role of team leader is mine. It’s not always an easy role, but knowing that my wife supports me in it makes it easier.
As for being won over by my wife’s conduct, our blended family situation is also a prime example of how this princple is often applied in our marriage. We have five kids under the age of 14, and as you can imagine, discipline is frequently required. Add the facets of visitation and communication with former spouses into the mix, and things can get heated real quick. I can’t tell you how many times my wife’s reaction (or non-reaction) to something I was furious about changed a hateful spirit inside of me. She was the example to me of how to act in that situation and her conduct ultimately won me over. This verse doesn’t say to “submit to his dominance” like so many comments implied. It says to act right even if your hubby is off the deep end. My wife trusts me as the leader in our home, but it is often her attitude that empowers me to lead our family successfully. Putting pride aside is a tough thing and I know it’s a major factor when it comes to the daily ebb and flow of marriage.
To recap, the wife has to submit and be an example to her husband even if he’s off in la-la land. What about your husband? What’s his role in the context of this verse?
1 Peter 3:7 NKJV “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
To further explain a man’s role, read Ephesians 5:25-29.
Ephesians 5:25-29 NKJV “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”
God is clearly outlining a model for marriage in these verses. It is not until the husband and wife understand their roles and take action that they experience the fullfillment of marriage in God’s design. A husband must honor his wife “as to the weaker vessel”. These things have nothing to do with men keeping their foot on women’s necks or making them cook, clean and wipe butts. When my wife was laboring without medication to bring our daughter into the world, there was nothing weak about her. She did all the hard work, but there was not a moment that passed where I wasn’t right by her side honoring and supporting her through that labor. This verse simply implies that the man must protect and support his wife physically, emotionally and spiritually!
Karen is a vital part of our family, and not only do I spend as much time and effort as possible reminding her how much I love her, but I make sure my children do too. They know who my queen is. My wife is the first person to get a kiss when I come home, I never talk negatively about her in front of anyone, and she always gets the buttery, syrupy middle of my pancakes.