9 Minute Read + Scripture readings
Today’s Bible Reading:
Today’s Bible Verse(s):
“Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker partner, showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”
1 Peter 3:7 (CSB)
Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):
Some read through the duties and attitudes of the husband and wife that are addressed in Scripture and come to horribly incorrect assumptions. So, let’s spend a few minutes trying to quickly, briefly unpack some of what the Bible says.
First, when God speaks to us through His Word about husbands and wives, we understand that He made us and so He knows how we work best. His desire is for marriage to be a little bit of heaven on earth for both the husband and wife. His desire is for human flourishing in marriage. Therefore, He has given us roles to fill.
Second, the Bible presents mutual submission in marriage. In Ephesians 5, in the verse that directly precedes the one that calls upon wives to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22), it calls upon all Jesus-followers to submit to everyone else (Ephesians 5:21). So, while the wife is told by God to submit to her husband, the husband is also told by God to submit to his wife.
Third, biblical submission simply means that we “rank under” each other. We put someone else above ourself. For the wife, that means that she follows the leadership of her husband (Ephesians 5:22-24), even if he is not a Jesus-follower (1 Peter 3:1-6). In order for governments to thrive, there must be a leader and Christians are called to submit to their leaders (Romans 13:1-2). In order for churches to thrive, there must be a leader and members of the congregation are told to submit to their leaders (Hebrews 13:17). And in order for marriages to thrive, there must be a leader and God has determined that the husband be that leader.
However, male headship is not male-superiority. We know that Jesus and God the Father are equally God. One is not greater than the other. In fact, Jesus once said that “he who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). So, neither God the Father nor Jesus is more important than the other. They are both saturated in value. With that knowledge, read the next verse.
1 Corinthians 11:3 (CSB): “But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.”
Did you see that? Jesus is equal to and yet submissive to the Father just as the wife is equal to and yet submissive to the husband. Submission has absolutely nothing to do with value. It has to do with roles.
So, what does male headship look like? Simply put, the husband submits himself to his wife. While the buck stops with him, he is to love his wife so much that he places her needs and desires above his own, even to the point that he is dying to himself.
Ephesians 5:25 (CSB): “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her”
Just as Jesus gave up His heavenly rights and privileges to die on the cross for our benefit (Philippians 2:5-8), so the husband must realize that his life and every decision he makes must be in his wife’s best interest, not his own. How does a Christian husband spell “love” for his wife?
C-O-M-P-A-S-S-I-O-N-A-T-E – S-A-C-R-I-F-I-C-E
Further, the husband is to treat his wife as the “weaker partner.”
1 Peter 3:7 (CSB): “Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker partner, showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”
Weaker partner does not mean weaker mentally or spiritually. Girls and women tend to make better grades in school and tend to make up well over 50% of those who regularly attend church and Bible studies. Further, is has been my observation that males always marry “above themselves,” never their equals. So, passages like Galatians 3:28, where it says that males and females are equal in Christ, is a comfort to any honest male.
So, regarding the words “weaker partner,” how are we to understand that? Well, my friend, which is weaker – a piece of fine china or a brick? You get the idea. If a husband is truly serious about following the Lord, he will lead his wife but treat her as someone that he will protect, serve, selflessly love, and highly value. He will listen to her, seek to truly know her, and willingly give of himself for her benefit.
Finally, if we were to ask 100 wives what they most wanted from their husbands, they would overwhelmingly say: “I want him to truly love me.” But, if we were to ask 100 husbands what they wanted from their wives, they would overwhelmingly say (besides the most obvious answer of sex): “I want her to really respect me.” So, since God’s commands are for our good, we aren’t surprised to hear Him say to husbands and wives:
Ephesians 5:33 (CSB): “To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.”
God’s design for marriage, and the roles He has called us to fill in our marriage, are really for our good. Let’s read our Bibles and obey what God tells us to do. In doing so, we’re really working toward our happiness and the flourishing of our marriage.
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Lord Jesus, even though You removed Adam and Eve from the Garden because of their sin, You let them take each other out into the cold, dark world. So, marriage is the one remaining remnant we have from Paradise. Help me to fulfill my role, depending upon You for the wisdom and strength to do that. In my marriage, help me to cultivate an atmosphere that brings a little bit of Heaven to earth. And, in so doing, help me to demonstrate what the Gospel looks like as You gave of Yourself for the church, and the church, in turn, responds to Your sacrificial love and leadership. Amen.