Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
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.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For,
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
- 1 Peter 3:1-12
Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
- Psalm 34:11-16
Welcome to something that should not be controversial, but it is. In a way, it is a continuation of yesterday’s essay on the things that have no hope. Because sin gets in the way.
Before I go any further, I want to say to all wives out there that you must obey your husband. Your husband loves you and has your best interest at heart, and it is Biblical. So, obey him.
You are still not convinced? It is right there in the Bible. Can God be wrong?
The thing is that God is not wrong. If the husband loves his wife with Godly love, he will have the wife’s best interest at heart. If that is a given fact and understood by both parties, the wife would be crazy not to obey her husband.
Thus, it works only when God is the most important thing in the home.
And if you have two loving people who work as a team to herd the cats… Excuse me, keep the children in line, it is less likely that the children will be major problems, in that they will see the love of their parents and the love of God expressed through their parents. There will be no mixed signals. The mixed signals will come when they meet their friends and are tempted, but even then, some children can be mature far beyond their age when they are brought up in a Christ-like atmosphere. They can be tempted by their friends, and then think, “Nope, this ‘great’ idea of my friend does not compute.” I avoided a variety of stupid stunts when I was growing up, based on my concept of right and wrong, not from my parents setting down rules.
Did my wife and I accomplish that? Not by a long shot. But, our friends were shocked one time when my wife and I disagreed on something. What caused the disagreement, not even an argument? I cannot remember, but it was something to do with scouting leadership, because we were at a leadership support group planning conference. Thus, the support group of the support group so that scouting leaders had support – if they ever showed up to the meetings.
But those same scouting leaders did not see us at home. I just finished Beth Moore’s book, Audacious, where she talked about Jesus being audacious, and we must be audacious as well. I was on the verge of audacity when I got married, but my wife only fully understood and realized salvation after the boys left the nest.
She was very loving, very caring for family and neighbors from a very early age, but she stopped short of giving God the glory (that intellectual versus heart knowledge). But for the past 20 years, she has been on fire. And in those 20 years, her health has steadily failed. It was as if she finally accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior just in time as the long road toward Heaven began. Within 3 years her kidneys started to fail, now in end stage – but hope of enough recovery to get off dialysis. She has had half her thyroid and parathyroid removed and the latest bloodwork shows that she probably should have the remaining half removed. Her heart is strong, only after three by-passes, a stent, and open-heart surgery to replace a valve. And her latest trip to the hospital marked a symptom of “failure to thrive.”
We have made tons of adjustments. Hugs become precious. Kisses are more rare (not as much COVID as it is a variety of illnesses over the past year, kissing on the forehead instead). Now the loving care that used to be a caress has become placing the blood pressure cuff on her arm and logging into a logbook that I got for the purpose, such data as blood pressure, pulse, blood sugar, and weight. My bear hugs have been replaced by telling her which pills she is allowed to take based on her vital signs. I have a few doctors on speed dial, but my wife hates for me to call. She thinks that the wave of dizziness or weakness will pass, and the doctor’s standard message is to go to the ER. My wife is convinced that she will feel fine about the time she gets admitted – another wasted ER visit.
Before all these medical issues, my wife was the master of the kitchen. It was best to stay out of her way. She taught both boys how to cook. As a scout leader, I taught them a few trail techniques that they took to the kitchen. That was a good thing as one daughter-in-law simply does not cook and the other hates to do so, with making handmade pizza as one exception. Both sons eat out much more often than they should, and when they dine in, they do the cooking almost all the time. But when they grew up, my wife had everyone on a strict schedule for three meals a day. After the boys left the nest, the evening meal became later, to prevent late-night snacking, but that just meant that I got a snack as soon as I got home from work.
Without the boys to do chores, my wife created a rule that the one who cooked does not have to do the dishes. It became her cooking and me cleaning. Now, it is equally shared on the cooking and me doing most of the cleaning of dishes, all cleaning of the house, and all laundry.
God set up a perfect system. The wife obeyed the husband and the husband loved the wife to the point of being sacrificial love. That works if it is mutual.
What brought this entire bit of writing together was a television show on the Christian station. There is a beautiful young nurse, wife, and mother who has a show mostly dedicated to cooking. In one episode, one of her best friends showed up to help with the cooking. They talked about how they were holding down fulltime jobs and needed quick meals, also healthy meals, so that the food would be ready as soon as the husband came home. Their conversation gushed of dutiful obedience to their husbands. I was shocked. I watched the credits to see if the television show was fifty years old. Everything was modern in the kitchen, so the show was filmed recently.
Then, I remembered our household. It was like that. There were adjustments. We went from being married without children, married with small children, married with grade-school and then high school and then college children. Then came the empty nest, followed by the poor health years.
The key is to learn how to read your spouse’s signals. When do you have to take over the bulk of everything? This needs to be reciprocal. A spouse may send you false signals because they like for you to do everything.
It all comes down to the husband sacrificially loving the wife, going far beyond the halfway point. And when that is accomplished, the wife should never have any reason to not obey her husband. God’s plan works, even the marriage plan.
Does that not have a parallel with becoming a true Christian? When we make a commitment to surrender to Jesus, we make that commitment unconditionally. In response, we receive limitless love. If in a marriage we entertain the slightest, most fleeting idea of divorcing our spouse, it is not an unconditional commitment. For a year, I prayed more than once each day for Jesus to come into my heart, but only when my request was unconditional did Jesus come in to take over. And in like mind, when I married my wife 45 and a half years ago, it was the same unconditional commitment.
I received far more than I put into our relationship. My wife was born to serve, but now she is having problems with failing health in being the one that is served. She feels that she must get out of bed and cook a meal.
You may have a relationship that did not work out as well. For me, my wife was not as committed to God as I was at first, but her internal feeling of needing to serve others took over. Then, upon knowing Jesus personally and intimately, she and I are of like minds.
I hope that this explanation of how we got things to work can be helpful. The key is that if marriage is not working, there is probably sin in some form that is getting in the way. A one-sided relationship is hard to maintain. Both spouses need to be committed to God and committed to each other. But if you accomplish that, you can make the Apostle Peter’s advice work in your marriage.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.