Journal 1 Pet 3 Husbands (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “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 Pet 3:7
Observation: Peter has a word to the wives; Peter has a word to the husbands. Each one has challenges for the Believer, staring at the instruction for each, personal sin to cause trembling before Jesus. Tough subject, lots of resistance involved… Want to talk about gender roles in the Church? Fear and trembling abound…
Analysis: I will talk about husbands because I am one.
I think that I have broken every command that Scripture has given towards conduct to my wife. Therefore, I may be an authority on what NOT to do. I am certainly not alone.
Here is a frequent wrong: “Live with your wives in an understanding way…” Early in marriage life (like all of my marriage life) I lean to “live with your wife in a condescending way…” The key phrase that gets me to that is the “…the woman as the weaker vessel…” appeals to my pride.
If I focus on the “weaker vessel” phrase, which then becomes “I am strong, you are weak” (condescending thinking), I am so far off the mark where Jesus wants me to be. “Therefore, be imitators of God (as beloved children). And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…” (Eph 5:1-2a) It is not the exertion of authority or power, but imitating Jesus who walked in love and sacrifice: the vision of a godly husband.
I am learning that my place is to disciple my wife. I have a goal: “Husbands: Love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. (Reason) … that he might sanctify her having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. So that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Eph 5:24-27)
There was a time that I was ambitious in the church and, to complete my ambition, my household needed to be in order. That meant my wife needed to get in line. But I proved that I was short-sighted, and my ambition was selfish along the pattern of Simon the Magician (cp. Acts 8). Since then, I am focusing on caring for my wife as my main disciple, taking the long view, with the goal to present her before the Throne in the same manner that Jesus will present the Church.
After all, husbands, thinking about it: She is the disciple God assigned to you and the one you will be accountable for in the way you conduct yourself.
Prayer: Lord God, how do I accurately say I need your grace, abundant grace in being a husband. My sinfulness gets in the way every day, either from shrinking from your ways or stepping outside of them. That path of doing it “just right” is so narrow.
Help me be slow to speak, quick to hear, and really slow to anger. If I have to assert so-called authority, I want to do it as you would. If I play my cards right, look to the horizons, and take a plan for discipleship—first for me, then (in parallel) for her—she may look to me as her appointed husband, with respect. Maybe.
Bring revival in my heart, O’ God.