Beloved: Grace and Peace
Elkmont Baptist Church
Dearest and Beloved
Godly Roles in Marriage
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with
Grace to you.
- a series compilation
according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto
the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered" (1 Peter 3:7-8).
Have you ever noticed in most marriage ceremonies, the preacher talks about loving one another? Have you ever noticed this is contrary to what the Bible teaches? Most of my life I was taught that the husband and wife should love one another. I was surprised when I read the New Testament and saw that the wife is never commanded to love her husband, but the husband is always commanded to love his wife. (Yes, I know about Titus 2:4-5, but the reference to loving their husbands is a different Greek word and is not a command to the younger women.) Over the years I wondered about this and believe the Lord caused me to receive understanding.
I believe a woman's greatest need is security which is richly provided by unconditional love. You can see some women think they will find security in beauty or favour (Proverbs 31:30). Some think they will find it in knowledge or in food (Genesis 3). God's commands tell us that her need is met by the unconditional love of God lived and worked out through her husband who loves her as she is; who works hard to take care of her and her children; who listens to her because he cares; who wants to grow old with her - not because she will always be beautiful, but because she is his, and she grows more beautiful in his eyes because of their shared lives: heirs together of the grace of life.
Why do you think the young women always gravitate to the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13)? It is because it is their greatest desire to be loved as they are, to be cherished and honored as special.
Well, men, now you have knowledge. Dwell with her according to knowledge. Honor her as an heir together of the grace of life.
One time I kept looking at the date. I kept thinking there was something I needed to remember. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me what that day was. It was the anniversary of my wife's son's going to heaven. I called her to let her know I knew what the day was. She told me I'd never know how important that was to her.
God is gracious. When He commands us to do something, He enables us to do it. To dwell with my wife according to knowledge, I have to know her and to know what is important to her. To dwell with her according to knowledge, I must understand her. Praise be to God who enables someone like me to dwell with my wonderful wife according to knowledge.
When I was growing up, I used to hear men joking about not being able to understand women. As I recall, they were usually saying it as fact, as if justifying not trying. If God commands us to dwell with our wives according to knowledge, He provides the way and the means to keep His commandments. If we are not dwelling with our wives according to knowledge, if we are not honoring them as heirs together with us of the grace of life, our prayers are hindered.
Many modern marriage vows speak about the husband and wife each loving the other, but the Scriptures do not command the wife to love her husband. Instead, they command her to be subject to and reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:24, 33; Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1).
Why don't the Scriptures command the wife to love the husband? I believe it is because the husband's greatest need is not the same as the wife's. A husband's greatest need is respect or admiration. Just as a woman's great need for security is met by unconditional love, so a man's great need for respect is met by his wife's unconditional respect or reverence.
Proverbs 12:4 says, "A virtuous woman
a crown to her husband: but she that
as rottenness in his bones." A crown indicates a man is a king.
She makes him a king in his home. The one who shames him (doesn't give him unconditional respect) is as rottenness in his bones. Rottenness in the bones is called leukemia. Without health in the bones, the body does not heal itself.
Ladies, how can you give your husband unconditional respect, even when he is not worthy? Follow in the footsteps of Sarah. 1 Peter 3:1-6 is often taught from the perspective of a believing wife with an unbelieving husband, and it is applicable to that situation. However, if you look at Peter's example, he refers to Abraham and Sarah: "Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement" (1 Peter 3:6). To what incident is Peter referring? (See Genesis 20). Ladies, if you will show your husband respect even when he doesn't deserve it, you may be delighted at what God will do on your behalf, and at the love it will produce in your husband for you.
So the commandments for the wife are different from the commandments for the husband. The husband is commanded to love his wife. The wife is commanded to reverence her husband. Obedience to each command is possible only by the enabling of the Holy Spirit. Each command speaks to the great need of the spouse: to the wife, security via unconditional love; to the husband, respect via unconditional reverence.
What are some ways a wife can give her husband unconditional reverence?
The Apostle Paul tells us two primary ways: "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Timothy 2:11-12). The wife can show unconditional respect for her husband by not usurping his authority, nor by teaching him. What do I mean? Let me give you an example. When I began to understand that it was my responsibility before God to teach my children and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, one aspect of this was choosing the curricula which we would use in educating them. Now, because my wife had been doing that, she knew more about it than I did. If she had usurped my authority/responsibility and taught me, acting like she knew more than I did (which she did), I expect I would have thrown up my hands and quit. I certainly felt inadequate and quite stupid. My wife never made me feel stupid; she never gave me reason to believe she was thinking, "I can do better than him." She let me know she was pleased that I was accepting responsibility which God called me to.
As children of Adam, we men are prone to abdicate our responsibility. As children of Eve, you ladies are prone to take responsibility. As adopted children of the King, we are enabled to act the roles God has called us to.
There is one commandment given to husbands that I did not address yet, but God has reminded me of it. The Apostle Paul tells us, "Husband, love
wives, and be not
bitter against them" (Colossians 3:19).
Why do you suppose that a husband is specifically commanded to not be bitter against his wife? I suggest that this is something easy for a husband to do, since a man's great need is respect, and we need it most from those whose admiration we most want: our wives. When we do not get the respect we need, it is easy for us to become bitter.
What happens when bitterness finds roots? Hebrews tells us, "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble
and thereby many be defiled; Lest there
any fornicator, or profane person, as
Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright" (Hebrews 12:15-17). Ephesians says, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:26-27).
When a man fails of the grace of God, a root of bitterness springs up. It will trouble the one who has it. It will cause many to be defiled, made unclean. Read that it will affect those around us, our wives, our children, our friends. The fruit of bitterness is fornication (interest in pornography or other women), profanity (not necessarily cursing, but worldly, not interested in the things of God, interest in the now instead of the eternal), and it will give place to the devil. It grants the devil legal authority to trouble the one who is bitter and those under his authority and care.
What is the fix for the root of bitterness? Paul tells us, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:31-32).
How did God remind me of this? I came home one evening wanting my wife's attention and admiration. When I did not get it, I went to bed upset and troubled. How did the Lord get me through this? When she came to bed, even though the lights were out, I could see in her face that she was in pain. I asked her, and she told me her lung was hurting terribly. I knew I had let my guard down, and the enemy had attacked her. I told the enemy and the hurt to leave and not return. Her testimony was the hurt in her lung left and did not return.
Authority may be defined as the right to command or the right to act. The Centurion understood that to be in authority, you must be under authority. The Lord Jesus was pleased by his faith.
One day, as I drove home from work, storms hit the area. My wife told me that the weather people were warning about heavy rains, lightning strikes, and some hail. I went back outside and spoke to the storm, "Peace, be still." I told the lightning to stay in the heavens, and told the rain to fall softly on the fields (surely we still need the rain). I asked the Holy Spirit to enforce these words in Jesus' name. Shortly, the storm quieted. Coincidence?
Later that evening, my wife complained of a headache that wouldn't stop. I was sitting on the couch and heard the Holy Spirit speak to me and tell me, "Command the headache to leave." So I did. I told the headache to leave her. The Spirit continued to tell me what to pray. I told the headache to leave her and go to the abyss and not return. I did have to tell it twice to leave. My wife's testimony was that it left.
The Apostle Paul tells us that the head of the man is the Lord Jesus; that the head of the woman is the man. He tells us that Jesus' head is God the Father (1 Corinthians 11).
Men, we must line up under the Lord Jesus to be in authority. Ladies, you must line up under you husband to be in authority. Children, you just line up under your parents to be in authority.
We return to the commands given to husbands and wives. The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy, "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety" (1 Timothy 2:12-15).
We know from the context of the passage that Paul is speaking about husbands and wives since he gives Adam and Eve as examples and speaks of childbearing. Why would Paul not allow a wife to teach, nor to usurp authority over her husband?
We know from 1 Corinthians 11, that God is the head of Christ, and He is the head of the man, and the man is the head of the woman. A woman who is characterized by teaching her husband, or who usurps her husband's place as head, will be conveying disrespect to and for her husband. She will be conveying disrespect for God's created order.
Now the term
That meek and quiet spirit will be a blessing to your husband and your family and will be in the sight of God of great price.
can best be understood in comparing its use to the passage in
1 Peter 3. It is the same root word used in 1 Peter 3:4 for
: ". . . of a meek and
quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (Strong's G2272).
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation.
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.