A few months back I had the opportunity to teach through the book of 1 Peter to our home fellowship. It truly is a challenging book from front to back, but Chapter 3 is where we spent some time diving in and chewing on the steak that Peter is cooking up. I thought I might share some thoughts we had specifically for the dads in the group.
We spent a whole study on verses 1-6 of chapter 3 which all pertain to wives. As I taught I could see the Spirit working, and the hearts of the ladies being challenged by the Word of God. While this was excellent, I did have an underlying motive. If I could get the wives upset or at least challenged, then when I told them that the following week we would be looking at husbands, I was assured that every husband would be in attendance for that study.
I have a passion growing in my heart to see men of faith rise up and take hold of the mantle that God has given to us to truly be the spiritual leaders of our households. Armed with that motivation, I prepared a spiritual kick in the shorts for the guys in my study. We spent an entire study on one verse, 1 Peter 3:7 which says:
"You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered."
There is so much to take away from this one verse I don’t think that I can cover it all in a single writing (perhaps this will expand into multiple newsletter entries).
Let’s start at the beginning - Peter addresses us, the husbands. Peter was not the sharpest pencil in the box but he did understand the way of men. First get their attention, YOU HUSBANDS! In other words, “eyes on Peter here guys”. And keep it short. One verse ought to cover it. But there is so much in that one verse.
Then he says, “in the same way”, same way as what? Well I think it beckons back to Chapter 2 and verse 12 – “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles…” Peter is reminding us that our lives are on display, both inside the home and outside of it. So remember that as we relate to our wives.
Then Peter begins to lower the boom. He says, “In an understanding way”. Wait a minute. Peter, I believe in miracles and all, I know the power of the Holy Spirit but understand our wives? Come on. We’ve all heard the pop psychology right? Venus/Mars or Spaghetti/Waffles. What Peter is saying is impossible right?!? Perhaps it’s not.
Take a moment and reflect back to when you were dating your wife. Do you recall how passionate you were about knowing her? Remember how much time you spent thinking about her and replaying every moment over and over. You may have never taken to academics but I can guarantee that you studied your wife. You found out the things she liked and didn’t. You learned of her choices in music. You committed to memory her favorite restaurant, her favorite author, her favorite store, what kind of flowers she liked. You learned of her hopes and dreams for the future, of her goals for life. You studied her like a Payton Manning studies film.
So what happened? Life got in the way, marriage, jobs, kids, kids, more kids (we are homeschoolers here). And familiarity set in. And exhaustion set in. And perhaps indifference set in. You thought to yourself, “I’ve got her now; I know all I need to know about her”. And the studying stopped.
Well I think what Peter is saying here is that the studying of your wife is to be a life long process. It doesn’t end at the alter, it should continue on throughout life. And so I encourage us all, let us take time to study our wives once again. Find out what her new favorite song is. Can you name 3 restaurants that your wife would like to try? What book is she looking forward to reading? What are her hopes and dreams for the next 5 years? Etc. Etc. Etc.
Well, as is typical when you teach something, God tends to show you the plank sticking out of your eye that you have managed to overlook. So with that, I need to ask Michelle a few questions. Go talk to your wife. We’ll get back to this next time.