Essentials for Headship

“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.”

(1 Peter 3:7, ESV)

“To take time to develop and maintain a good marriage is God’s will; it is serving God; it is a spiritual activity pleasing in his sight” (Grudem 146). God desires for His people to have happy, healthy marriages. Fortifying the family is godly. A normal Christian marriage is one of love, honor, respect, and pure conduct.

The husband’s three-fold obligation:

  1. Insight & Skill: He must be understanding. Or “considerate” (NIV). He needs to be sensitive to her needs & feelings.
  2. Appreciation & Value: He must be chivalrous. He respects & honors his wife.
  3. Equality & Worth: He must remember that she has equal spiritual privilege. Husband & wife are joint-heirs of God’s grace & eternal life with Him.

How husbands are to show honor to their wives as weaker vessels: kind words in private; kind words in public; priority in attention given; protection & provision. “Although spiritual equality does not negate all social differences, it does have social implications” (Black & Black 91).

  1. If you are stronger than your wife, you will use your strength to protect her not pummel her.
  2. If you are smarter than your wife, you will use your intelligence to encourage her not destroy her.
  3. If you are more spiritual than your wife, you will use your spirituality to build up her faith not act the Pharisee.
  4. If you are emotionally stronger than your wife, you will use that strength to be her rock when she is heartbroken not tell her to “build a bridge & get over it.”

“The idea that one’s relationship to God may be hindered by one’s relationship to others is a repeated theme of Scripture” (Black & Black 92). This is a principle at the heart of the teaching of Christ (see Matthew 5.22-23; 6.12, 14-15; 18.35; Mark 11.25; cf. Proverbs 21.13). How we treat others matters to God. This is especially true in the marriage relationship. How we treat our spouses matters to God. If we abuse or disrespect our spouse, our prayer life will be interrupted. No husband should expect an effective prayer life if he does not honor his wife & live with her in an understanding way. No wife should expect an effective prayer life if she does not submit herself to her husband & respect him. Like when the operator tells you “Sorry, but your call cannot be completed at this time.” Heaven says, “Sorry, your prayer cannot be heard at this time.” Maybe it is interpersonal conflict; maybe it is internal emotional turmoil so that you are clear headed to pray (cf. 4.7). Go make things right, repent, & do what the Lord told you to do as a spouse.

Black, Allen & Mark Black. The College Press NIV Commentary: 1 & 2 Peter. College Press Publishing Company, 1998.

Grudem, Wayne. 1 Peter. Tyndale NT Commentaries. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002.

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