Can you remember a time when the lights have gone on for you, you know, the lights in your mind, the lights in your understanding. Those “ah-ha” moments are fun.. Most people really love that moment.
Why do we like it so much? Have you ever thought about that? There’s the obvious fact that we’re excited we finally got it. But it also has to do with the feeling of satisfaction that comes when we TRULY understand something. We feel a sense of competence, a sense of accomplishment
And maybe the biggest reason is that from that point on, we start to enjoy the thing more, because we finally understand it. God made us to seek understanding. And when we have an understanding, we kind of feel like we’re walking on solid ground.
This issue of understanding is one that is specifically aimed, scripturally speaking, at husbands when it comes to marriage. Husbands are specifically charged by God through the apostle Peter to understand their wives. We’re going to look at that issue today.
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Men, become a student of your wife.
Married men, this verse is an encouragement to us not only to do something toward our wives, but it’s also an encouragement about HOW God wants to bless us through doing what He commands. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you’re going to be able to have that “a-ha” moment about your wife that brings great satisfaction and enjoyment.
1 PETER 3:7
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
So guys, living with your wife in an understanding way is a lot more than just living with her. It doesn’t mean just live in the same house. There’s a method to how you live with her that is vital… that method is “in an understanding way.”
That Greek word for “understanding way” actually means “according to knowledge.” The idea is that you’ve got to be gaining knowledge about your wife so that you can live with her wisely.
For example, maybe you’ve come to realize that when you come home from work, your wife looks frazzled, she has young kids underfoot, they just got home a couple hours ago from school, she’s trying to get dinner going, trying to stave off the arguments and fights between the children.
Then you walk in the door.
What’s been your habit in the past in a situation like this? Maybe you’ve been bothered or irritated that she wants to just dump all the responsibility on you because she’s exhausted.
But what do you need to understand about your wife in a situation like this? And how will that understanding enable you to love her as you should at that moment?
This illustrates the importance of men becoming students of their wives.
We know it’s like to be a student. We may not have enjoyed being a student in high school or college, but all of us know what it’s like to become really interested in something. Once you find that thing that you really like, you love being a student.
You dive into it, whether it’s mechanics, or woodworking, or whatever. Fly fishing, golf. whatever it is, you spend your time figuring that thing out because you love it so much.
Isn’t the point Peter is making here pretty obvious? If we’re gonna love our wives well, we need to be students of our wives in that same way, with that same sort of diligence.
Practical results of studying your wife
When you become a student of your wife, you’ll learn how she thinks. You will learn what’s important to her. You’ll learn what’s hurtful to her, what’s encouraging, what gives her joy, what builds her up. This list could go on and on, right?
Why do you need to do this? Because the better you learn these things, the more effectively you’re going to be able to love her. That was the topic of the last episode, episode number nine, so go back and listen to that if you haven’t.
And let’s not forget the HOW… How do you learn to understand these things about your wife? Through communication, by simply asking her about those topics. Here are some examples…
When you notice that she’s upset with something you and she pulls back and maybe even gives you the silent treatment, pursue her and ask her, “Did I just say something that hurt you?” And if she says, “No,” it may simply mean that she doesn’t want a conflict. Keep after it. Ask her in a way that makes it easy for her to respond, something like, “Are you sure, because I think I hurt you, and I don’t want to hurt you. Please tell me so I can change the way I speak to you.” You want to be positive towards her. You want to encourage her to open up to you, especially if it’s not been a habit of hers.
We all know there are many circumstances where a man and his wife cross their wires and don’t quite connect and understand what’s going on at the time. So guys, just ask questions.
Don’t get defensive. Don’t be accusatory. Don’t get angry. Just ask questions. Just be curious.
Try and figure out what’s going on in the heart of your woman, your wife, your beloved, so that you can then love her in an understanding way.
Leadership demands this of Christian husbands
Your wife does need to understand you and they do need to know how to to love you, but God is calling you to go first. This is true especially in those times when both sides, husband and wife, are both digging in their heels. Men, you need to be the one to take the first step to get things worked out.
That’s because leaders take initiative. so when there’s tension, when there’s a problem, somebody’s gotta get humble and start investigating what’s gone wrong. That’s you, husband. That’s what leaders do. Leaders lead.
When they discover that something’s wrong, they try to figure out what’s wrong. They ask, “How can we make this better? How can we find a solution?” That’s your job as a leader.
Understand your wife’s uniqueness as a woman
This idea of living with your wife in an understanding way also means that you not only have to understand YOUR wife’s unique perspectives and attitudes, you also need to understand her uniqueness as a woman.
It’s obvious, but it should be said: Your wife is not a man.
Just let that weight of that statement land on you for a moment.
She doesn’t think like you think. She doesn’t feel things like you feel them. She probably feels them more intensely or differently or with more emotion. She doesn’t respond to things the way you do typically.
It’s like you’re speaking Greek and she’s speaking Latin. You’ve got to learn her language. You’ve got to learn the woman’s language because you’re a man and you don’t know it. So take your time. Learn.
And make sure you’re coming at this subject with the right attitude…
Women are designed as they are intentionally, by God. It’s a beautiful thing that she is different from you. She’s complementary to you.
It’s like melody and harmony and music. The two go together. And when they’re together, and they’re both on key, man, what a wonderful thing that is. That’s what men and women are supposed to be together.
God wants two different types of people – a man and a woman – to bring more glory to Himself and more joy to the married couple.
Examine your common irritations with your wife
A lot of times, the irritations men feel in interactions with their wife has to do with her not seeing something the way the guy sees it, or her not responding the way he thinks she should. A lot of that is because she’s not a man, and guys, you’re not going to see it exactly the same.
That’s why you’ve got to lead the way in communication. You’ve got to lead the way in understanding her so that you can get on the same page with her, and then you learn to speak her language so she understands what you’re saying. and she understands what you’re feeling. That’s how you’re able to be unified in the things that you’re dealing with.
And when it comes to leading her well, you have to ask the question, “” Am I leading her in GOD’s way, not my way?”
This is where humility comes in… men have to learn to drop their pride and ensure that they are leading in God’s way, so that it’s not an issue of “your opinion versus her opinion.” When you know what God’s opinion is, you can lead her in the right way.
This has helped us so many times when we’ve been in an argument and needed to get on the same page. When we stop and we recognize that both of us have hearts that are aligned with the Lord, we can become unified around that and together, find out what He wants. Then we can walk down that path together.
Show your wife honor
Honor. That’s an interesting word. We show honor to people in all kinds of ways: through medals and trophies, awards, ceremonies, parties. We do all kinds of things to honor people.
Husbands, do you think about your wife that way? Do you often consider that you should be showing her honor in public, when you’re talking with others, or in the way you talk about her when she’s not around? Are you honoring her? Are you showing her honor personally, physically, in the way you speak to her, in the way you touch her, in the way you treat her? Are you showing her honor?
There’s a lot of fun and creative ways a husband can show honor.. Giving your wife a day off because of how hard she works around the home. Telling.
Men, here is a quick self-check for you…
If you find that your adolescent or teenage boys are being disrespectful to your wife, it could be because you’re not respecting your wife. You’re not honoring her and they’re just picking up your attitude. So just do a heart check. Check out what’s going on in your own home.
The three reasons husbands should honor their wives…
Peter says that men should honor their wives because their wife is a weaker vessel.
Now women, if you’re reading, I know that can push some buttons. You might feel like a statement of this nature is demeaning, or it makes you feel denigrated and criticized and like you’re not valuable. But that’s not what Peter had in mind at all.
Since we’re talking about two different kinds of people here (men and women) and their different roles in the marriage (husband and wife), let’s compare two different things in an effort to understand what Peter’s telling us.
Think about the differences between a tupperware container and a crystal goblet.
Women, if I asked upi to pick one to represent you, which one are you going to pick?
I suspect you’ll choose the goblet. Why? Because it’s pretty, it’s delicate. It’s fine. It’s all those things women love to be seen as and love and want to be.
Look at the difference between the two containers. They both hold things. They both are valuable for what they were made for. But they have different thresholds when it comes to pressure or when it comes to how you can use them.
The tupperware, you can throw it all around, treat it roughly, and it’s not going to break. It’s going to be durable. But a crystal goblet can’t be treated the same way. It’s going to break if you do those kinds of things because it’s delicate, it’s precious.
That’s what Peter’s saying here. He’s saying, “Men, you’re the Tupperware. You’re used to being banged around. You are tough and you can handle lots of abuse. But your wife isn’t fashioned in the same way as you. She can get to her breaking point more easily and more quickly than you will.
God has just used the words “weaker vessel” to describe the lovely and delicate way He’s made our wives, and it’s our responsibility to keep them from breaking — especially in the way WE treat them.
There’s another thing that’s a little more obvious that we need to draw from this “weaker vessel” language. It’s this: In most cases men, your wife is physically weaker than you. Because that is true, Peter is saying something to us about our demeanor toward our wives. We should not be intimidating them with our presence. We shouldn’t be using our volume and our voice to whip them into line with what we want, to pressure them. That’s the exact opposite of showing honor, isn’t it?
Peter is saying show her honor because she’s a weaker vessel. She needs that honor.
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You can always assume that if God gives us an instruction that is oriented or aimed at how we are to treat another person, it’s because that person needs that kind of treatment from you. So in this case, he’s telling us that wives need honor from their husbands. They need their husbands to respect and value them and treasure them.
And I just had a thought that I know that there are marriages where the wife is a strong personality, and the husband could very well feel intimidated by her. And maybe she is even stronger physically. Yeah, well, that does happen sometimes. And that does happen. And so.
And when a man treats his wife this way, when a man treats his wife rightly, honors her rightly, she thrives. She becomes what she’s designed to be even more so. She flourishes.
Your wife is an heir of life right alongside you
There’s another reason Peter says here that men are to honor their wives, it’s because she is an heir of life alongside you. So what Peter’s saying is that men should not fall prey to the error of thinking that because they’re the leader in the home or the one who’s been tasked with responsibility for the whole family, that they have one up on their wives in terms of pecking order in the Kingdom of God.
Peter is saying that she’s on equal footing in the Kingdom, she is your sister in Christ. John Piper described this once and he said, “Every man who is married when he gets to heaven is going to be stunned by the radiance and glory and majesty of the woman he’s lived with all his life because she’s an heir of life right alongside him with the same glory, the same respect, the same honor, the same inheritance that he’s gonna receive.”
When men understand this, it becomes a great motivation to honor their wife because of who she really is, she’s a daughter of the king.
Watch out men, don’t disrupt the power of your own prayers
Husbands, if it’s true that your wife is a daughter of God, a daughter of the King, you need to understand that the way you treat her can come between you and her Father (God). Imagine it in human terms: If you’re mistreating a man’s daughter, do you think he’s going to be keen on listening to your requests for help, or that he’s going to be eager to help you with anything, as long as you are mistreating his daughter?
Peter’s lovingly warning you that your prayers can be affected if you don’t treat your wife well, because you’re going to put — now get that right — you are going to put a wedge between you and your God, because you’re mistreating His daughter.
That’s a healthy exhortation to husbands that requires them to appropriately humble themselves before the Lord. It’s a reality of what it means to be a steward over one of God’s daughters, and it’s part of learning to fear the Lord. And also, it’s all for our good.
That’s because God loves husbands and he wants them to enjoy their marriage and delight in their wife. So that’s why he gives us hard commands like that.
An assignment for the husbands
This episode’s assignment is going to require courage and it’s going to require some humility.
- On a 1 to 10 scale, with one being low and 10 being high, how well do you understand your wife? Once you have that number on your 1 to 10 scale, ask yourself this follow-up question.
- What can you do practically to increase that rating a point or two?
- On the same 1 to 10 scale, how well do you live with your wife according to understanding?
- Practically, what are you doing to increase that rating point one or two?
Now guys, here’s the last question. This one is where the courage comes in. Humble yourself, be ready to grow and then take on this next assignment…
- Ask your wife to rate you on this 1 to 10 scale regarding these questions. Compare answers and discuss what you discover.
LISTEN SEPARATELY then set a weekly appointment to discuss what you’ve heard, pray about what God may want YOU to adjust or implement, then plan how you will do so.
LISTEN TOGETHER: Set a standing weekly date to listen together, pray over what you’ve heard, discuss, and strategize how to implement relevant things into your relationship.
DO THE HOMEWORK: The more you invest, the more you’ll grow and experience God’s blessings!