Day 5

Wives and Husbands

from the 1 & 2 Peter reading plan

1 Peter 3:1-7, Genesis 1:26-28, Ephesians 5:22-33

BY Claire Gibson

Just before Thanksgiving, Patrick asked my father for his blessing to propose. An Army Colonel who’d spent nearly 30 years serving in the U.S. Military, my father has all the outward trappings of intimidation. Patrick braced for the third degree. Instead, my father laughed, shrugged, and smiled.

“You’re both smart,” he said. “If Claire wants to marry you, then you have my blessing.” Before Patrick could breathe easy, my father put up one finger as if he’d just remembered something important.

“You know, Claire has a tendency to want to take charge,” he said.

Way to go dad. I can’t blame him for saying that—it’s true. I do have a tendency to want to take charge. For that reason, reading this passage is difficult. It’s easy to read verses about how God loves me. It’s hard to read about what God expects of me. But deep down I know the passages of Scripture that make me most uncomfortable are likely the passages I need to engage with the most.

When I read this passage the first time, all I could think about were women who’ve been mistreated, oppressed, and abused by men who have used these Scriptures to justify their abhorrent behavior. But Peter isn’t writing this passage for society at large. He’s telling individual women to submit to their own husbands, not for all women everywhere to be subordinate to men in general.

If my father’s first warning weren’t enough, nine years of marriage have likely taught my husband that my ability to submit isn’t my best quality. Whenever there’s a decision to be made, my knee-jerk reaction is to grab the reins—not out of kindness, but out of pride and fear. My desire for control is more powerful than my desire for deeper marital connection. All the while, the world tells me that I can be superwoman, have it all, remain young-looking, and raise a family. Soon, my hands are full of reins, but my heart is empty of peace. God invites me into a new way of living. The new way is slower, quieter. Because God loves me, I can trust that obeying His guidance won’t lead to more harm but, ultimately, to His blessing.

At the end of the previous chapter, Peter outlined Jesus’s suffering and sacrifice on the cross. He begins this chapter with these words: “In the same way, wives submit yourselves to your own husbands” (v.1). Peter then calls husbands to do the same, especially taking in to account the societal norms of the day, which saw women as “weaker” and less than their male counterparts. He instructs:

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life (v.7).

Jesus gave us a model for sacrificial love. And if we’re following His model, we cannot be surprised when loving well is sometimes hard and messy; it may cost us something in return. Jesus put down His rights in order to grant us access to the kingdom of God. In the same way, we’re called to put down our own need for control, trusting His ways are best.


Post Comments (81)

81 thoughts on "Wives and Husbands"

  1. Erin Carr says:

    What a great way to put it!

  2. Renee Tidwell says:

    I would love to hear others experiences with verses 1 and 2. I pray over this verse and my husband daily because he is not a saved Christian. He knows lots of Biblical facts, it wasn’t raised the way I was and doesn’t actively seek the Lord. We have 2 young children and I’m faced with taking them to church by myself. I know that God can change hearts, and I’m praying daily that He will move my husband. It’s such a hard position to be in.

  3. Keturah G says:

    My heart will forever be enough for my man to trust, as long as it’s kept in the hands of my Heavenly Father.

  4. Rose B says:

    The study was SO thoughtfully written today. I absolutely was so struck by this. Being recently married I want to set Godly patterns for my marriage going into the future. GOD change me to honour you and honour my husband in everything I do.

  5. Rachel says:

    This Scripture is not to be used to allow emotional abuse. I would seek counseling, personal and marital, with people who will hold him accountable for his actions.

    As far as your son, you are his mother and he has a biblical mandate to respect you. I would hold him to that. Im so sorry you’re enduring this.

  6. Heather says:

    What happens when you have been married to a man who had constantly abused you emotionally for 20 years because you are trying to “be submissive and win him for the Lord” my 11 year old son is now picking up my husbands bad habits. I am not meaning for th is to sound like I am perfect, I am set I am definitely not, but lately I am feeling more and more broken and finding it hard to be the good example. I am a stay at home mom with a few health issues. I will admit the last few months I spend all my time reading my bible and devotions just so I don’t break. Any advice?

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