Yesterday we considered what God indicates is the beauty of a woman. Some people choose to put the emphasis on the false notion of what women should or should not do with their appearance whereas the Word deals with the true beauty of a woman: her character. Peter indicates that the fruit of submission to her husband demonstrates the possession of such beauty. This cannot be considered without the balance of a godly husband. The better the husband, the better the wife. Peter writes:
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. (1 Peter 3:7)
Peter uses the wording, "in the same way". In the same way as what? In the same way that women demonstrate their love and respect by submitting to their husband (we defined what we mean by that yesterday) men demonstrate their love and respect by being considerate of their wives. Being considerate is as I mentioned yesterday, husbands listening to the ideas and advice of their wife and giving it fair consideration before making decisions. Husbands prove themselves to be fools when they ignore the intelligent advice and opinions of their wives. It is also a lack of respect and love to ignore the most important person in your life.
Peter writes, "treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life". Again, we have a whole bunch of people who are willing to concentrate on what they consider to be negative language instead of seeing the beauty of this passage. God created women to be beautiful, delicate, filled with emotions and physically weaker than men. Why is it wrong to recognize that men generally are stronger physically and often times emotionally than women? Is it wrong for a man to want to protect the woman that he loves, to stand by her through everything, to be a pillar of strength in emotional times? The word is "respect". Men are to respect these things in a woman by being the balance that she needs in the relationship. A cruel man will take advantage of these things, but a man who is filled with love and respect will guard his wife against people and things that would try to destroy her. Like any flower, strong and beautiful, but vulnerable. She has to be vulnerable in order to be everything she has been called to by God.
Peter also uses the word "partner" and "heir" indicating a relationship that many men and women do not recognize or appreciate. The roles may be different but the partnership and the heritage are the same. Men of immaturity or lacking in a relationship with Christ do not understand these matters and completely miss the beauty of their wife. A good man; a mature man; a man with a deep relationship with Christ will be used by God to frame the beauty of his wife. Like a handsome setting for a precious jewel is a husband to his wife. Together they are stunning and an incredible witness of God's majesty.
The last point is that no man can progress spiritually if he is not looking after and treating his wife as God has designed him to do. Peter warns, "so that nothing will hinder your prayers." A man cannot be right with Jesus if he is not right with his wife. Any disruption in this relationship will also disrupt his relationship with Jesus. A man can have the appearance of righteousness but only his wife and God know who he is behind closed doors. I think this is an important, vital, matter that husbands need to consider as they work out their marriage and salvation. How is that for balancing off the question of a wife's submission?