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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

Relationship of a Husband and Wife

Austin Fields

From The Baptist Challenge, July 2015

In the verses preceding 1 Peter 3:7, the Apostle Peter instructs the wife of her duties toward her husband, telling the wives that they are to be subject to their own husbands, and to put on a meek and quiet spirit, which is in God’s sight of great price. Then the Apostle gave Sarah as an example of how a wife should reverence her husband. In verse seven he proceeds to tell the husband how he should behave toward his wife.

First, he tells the husband that he is to dwell with her according to knowledge. This knowledge is the knowledge that God has given to the man through the Bible. This knowledge would include the reason that God made the woman for the man. “And the Lord God said, it is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helpmeet for him” (Gen. 2:18).

From this verse it is evident that the woman was made for fellowship, and to cure the loneliness of man and so Peter tells the husbands that they are to dwell with their wives according to this knowledge.

The husband is to dwell with his wife and by so doing take into consideration how the woman was made. “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man” (Gen. 2:22).

The woman was not made from the sole of man’s foot to be trampled upon and made a slave of, neither was she made from the top of his head to reign over him, but rather she was made from a place close to his heart. Therefore she is to be loved and cherished as his own flesh. “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Eph. 5:28).

Then the Apostle instructs the husband that he is to honor the wife as the weaker vessel. I know that both man and woman are but vessels in the hand of a sovereign God to fulfill his gracious purposes — both weak, but the woman weaker. Though she be the weaker vessel man should honor her as a companion, a companion in trials, tribulation, in prosperity, in poverty, also in sickness and in health. Furthermore, he should honor the wife as she is a wonderful type of the church of Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:21-33).

Then Peter proceeds to give another reason why the husband is to dwell with his wife and to honor her as the weaker vessel, and that is, both husband and wife are heirs together of the grace of God. The wife who is saved is just as much the child of God as the husband; it took the same power to save the wife as it did to save the husband. The husband should honor the wife, because God gives honor to both as fellow-heirs. “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a  blessing” (1 Pet. 3:9).

The instruction that the Apostle gives is from the throne of God, and unless we follow these instructions then our prayers are hindered. To disobey God is to regard iniquity in our hearts. David tells us: “If we regard iniquity in our hearts God will not hear us” (Psa. 66:18).

As long as disobedience reigns in our hearts, how is it possible for us to regard spiritual things in regard to prayer? Many are the men whose prayers are hindered because of problems within the home. If a man does not dwell with his wife as a wife, and does not bestow honor upon her as the weaker vessel, there arises strife within the home and contention would reign supreme rather than love toward one another. “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Tim. 2:8).

It is impossible to pray to God with a heart full of wrath toward his wife or even his fellow man. “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (Psa. 34:15).