From the very beginning of this letter, we’ve seen that we were chosen by the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ. In short, we were chosen not to live for ourselves, but for Jesus Christ.
And in this passage we see how this extends to the family and how we relate to each other in marriage.
Peter tells the wives,
In the same way be submissive to your 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. (1-2)
That’s not a popular message among many women today. Some try to completely tie this message to the culture of the day and say its not relevant for marriages today. And certainly, husbands in Peter’s day had far more authority in the home than we see today. But throughout Paul’s letters as well in Ephesians and Colossians, you see this same message given to wives. There’s no getting around it.
But the main question again is why? Why submit to your husband? Because you are first and foremost a servant of Christ. And he has told you to do so.
More, by doing so, you become a light to your husband. He sees not a woman that lives merely for herself, but one that lives for her Lord. One whose beauty is not simply in her jewelry, clothing, or hairstyle, but whose beauty is rooted in a transformed heart. A heart that reflects the Lord who saved her. And when he sees that, not only will he become more attracted to you, he will often times become more attracted to your Lord as well. And isn’t that our job as servants and ambassadors of Christ?
Sometimes women fear they will be taken advantage of if they submit to their husbands. Unfortunately, some will be. But Peter encourages you to be like Sarah, and do what is right, submitting to your husband and not give way to fear. (6)
And God will honor you for that.
As I mentioned yesterday, this does not mean submitting to physical abuse. If that’s happening, get out of there. Protect yourself. But through it all, maintain the attitude of Christ who, “when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (2:23)
Husbands, on the other hand, you too are servants of Christ. Your wife, however, is not your servant. She is Christ’s. And in Christ, she is a sister and fellow heir. So Peter says,
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. (7)
Your wife may be physically weaker than you; she may, by your estimation, be more emotionally fragile. But that does not give you any right to impose your will on her as a common bully would. You are to treat her with respect because Christ treats her with respect. And as much as you have received the gracious gift of life, so has she. If you ever forget that, God will hold you accountable for it.
Peter even says God will not even hear your prayers if you treat your wife wrongly.
In short, remember that in marriage, you and your spouse are both servants of Christ. And that should show in how you treat each other.
How do you treat your spouse?