God’s Word for You
1 Peter 3:7 A husband’s duty
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, April 25, 2022
7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (NIV)
Peter has written to wives; now he turns to husbands. Just as he warned wives not to give in to fear (verse 6), he now warns husbands “in the same way” to be considerate of their wives. The more a woman submits to her husband’s authority in the home, the more vulnerable she makes herself, and this will lead to many kinds of fear and even terror. A husband must—must—be aware of this and consider his wife in these terms. As for “weaker partner,” Peter’s word (skeuos, σκεύoς) basically means “vessel” (container) but can mean a great many similar things. Both the husband and wife are God’s vessels through which the Lord pours out blessings into the family and into the world. In what way is the wife the weaker vessel? Almost all societies (including Peter’s and ours) judge young women in terms of beauty and young men in terms of strength. A great many men who are not Christian tend to judge anyone who is weaker than they are with contempt. A Christian husband should never, must never, act that way toward anyone, and most especially toward the one who is dearest to him. His role is to care for her, not to win an endless string of competitions with her.
A man’s wife is his co-heir in the gracious gift of life. In the context of this verse, that life is especially the new life, the life of faith, which we live out here on earth in the time we have before we’re called home to glory. So Peter’s caution about nothing hindering our prayers is directly connected to the way in which we treat our wives. If a man, the head of his household, treats his wife without respect, can he be expected to be treated with respect by God, who in turn is the man’s head (1 Corinthians 11:3)? If a husband treats his wife without any love, should he expect any love from God? If he treats her without respect, should he anticipate any respect from his Master? If he does not listen to her words, should he expect that God will listen to any of his? This is what Peter means by letting nothing hinder your prayers. Anything but the utmost consideration, concern, and understanding of your wife would fall short of the meaning the Holy Spirit gives to us through Peter’s pen. Apart from his own faith, his wife’s faith and well-being must be one of his highest priorities. This is part of the vow he has taken. He wants to remove her fears. And as John says so simply: “Perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).
This gracious gift of life will blossom like a bouquet of flowers in every part of their life together. Their love, their companionship, their friendship, the plans they make, the long, tiring and endlessly fulfilling path of parents—all of these are a part of this blessed gift of life. This of course also includes heaven, but the marriage is for this life, and this is Peter’s context.
God makes his grace fill us in vast quantities. “God is able to make all grace abound in you” (2 Corinthians 9:8). As he fills us up to the very top with his blessings again and again, we can overflow with his grace, and pour it out on the people around us, especially the people we love. A husband and wife need to remember this, lavishing their affection on one another at all times. It doesn’t matter if the world doesn’t know he loves her above all things, but the point is that she must know it. Don’t make her wonder. Make her delighted to see you. Be her “apple tree among the trees of the forest,” so that she will be delighted to sit in your shade (Song of Solomon 2:3). May the vows you make toward one another be a source of comfort, delight and joy every day of your life, a faint foretaste of the eternal pleasures of Paradise in heaven.
Pastor Timothy Smith