1. Know Your Wife
2. Honor Your Wife

Here is a humorous description of "The Seven Ages of the Married Cold"

This is the first year: "Sugar dumpling, I'm worried about my baby girl. You've got a bad sniffle and there's no telling about these things with all this strep around. I'm putting you in the hospital this afternoon for a general checkup and a good rest. I know the food's lousy but I'll bring your meals in from Lino’s. I've already got it arranged with the floor superintendent."
Second year: "Listen, darling, I don't like the sound of that cough and I've called Doc Miller to rush over here. Now you go to bed like a good girl, please? Just for papa."
Third year: "Maybe you'd better lie down, honey; nothing like a little rest when you feel punk. I'll bring you something to eat. Have we got any soup?"
Fourth year: "Look dear, be sensible. After you feed the kids and get the dishes washed, you'd better hit the sack."
Fifth year: "Why don't you get yourself a couple of aspirin?"
Sixth year: "If you'd just gargle or something, instead of sitting around barking like a seal!"
Seventh year: "For Pete's sake, stop sneezing! Whatcha trying to do, gimme pneumonia?"

What a great picture of men and marriage. What we used to hold as precious, over time, we easily begin to take for granted in our marriages. My message this morning is addressed to men. It’s addressed to men who want to regain this sort of first year of marriage feeling. Because, that’s the sort of way that we ought to be.

For the past three weeks, we have looked at verses 1-6, in which Peter addresses the women in the scattered churches of Asia Minor. He instructs them in how it is that they ought to live. They are to submit to their own husbands. They are to seek their inner beauty. They are to hope in God.

This morning, men, your time has come. In 1 Peter, chapter 3, verse 7, Peter will turn his attention upon you, instructing you in your marriage. Now, before we read the verse, you probably noticed that something doesn’t quite seem right here. Peter spent six verses addressing the women, and then, he takes only one verse to address the men. Is this because women need more instruction on how they should act in their marriage, than men do? No. If anything, I believe that the opposite is true. We men have plenty to learn about marriage.

As I prepared my message, I listened to a few pastors preach on this verse. One of them said that he wanted to entitle his message, “I am a knucklehead.” And I can relate to him. So, the brevity of the words given here to men is not a reflection upon their lack of need. Rather, I simply believe that this is a reflection upon the differences between men and women.

In general, women like to talk about the issues. They like to analyze them. They like the feel them. They like to have them illustrated. For women, the process to arriving at the solution to any problem is every bit as important as the solution. But, men are different. For the most part, men are problem-solvers. They like to hear the problem presented and to quickly figure out the solution, and then get on with life.

In many ways, that’s what Peter does. In one verse, Peter gives instructions to men as to how they ought to conduct themselves in marriage. Here it is.

1 Peter 3:7
You husbands likewise, live with [your wives] in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Before we get to our outline this morning, we need to remind ourselves once again with the context, because Peter calls attention to the context. He says, “You husbands in the same way.” It begs us to ask the question: “In what way?”

In many ways, this takes us back to chapter 2, verse 11, where Peter begins his very practical instructions on how we are to act as Christians. In chapter 2, verse 11, Peter says, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstains from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” In other words, our behavior is to be unlike the world’s behavior. In chapter 2, verse 13, we are instructed to submit to our governmental authorities. In chapter 2, verse 18, Peter instructs the servants to submit to their masters. In chapter 2, verse 21, Peter describes the suffering example of Christ. Beginning in chapter 3, Peter instructs believing wives.

In each instance, Peter instructs his readers to put aside their own, personal interests for the sake of serving others, just like Jesus did. And now, in verse 7, the transition comes to husbands. Peter begins verse 7 with these words, “You husbands in the same way.” He has already addressed the citizens, the servants, the wives, and now he addresses the husbands in how it is that they ought to conduct themselves toward their wives. Let's consider my first point:

Husbands, ...
1. Know Your Wife

Look at what Peter says in verse 7, “live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman.” The old King James is my favorite translation here as it is the most literal. It says, “Ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge.”

This translation is good, for two reasons. First of all, it catches the significance of the main verb, "to dwell." Peter’s exhortation to the husbands isn’t simply that we ought to live with our wives, in the sense that we keep the same address and we share meals together and we sleep in the same bed. No, the idea behind the Greek word here is that we are to "really live with” our wives. The idea here is that we are to be one with them, and spend time with them, cultivating and nurturing a home with harmony and good will, intimately dwelling with our wives.

The second reason why the King James Translation here is good is the way that it translates how it is that we ought to dwell with our wives. We are to dwell with our wives, “according to knowledge.” In the Greek, it’s kata gnosin (kata gnosin), “according to knowledge.” Peter is saying that we husbands ought to know all about our own wife. We ought to know about our wives physically. We ought to know about our wives spiritually. We ought to know about our wives emotionally. We ought to know about our wives intimately. We ought to know about our wives personally.

And with all that knowledge that we gain of her, we need to dwell with her appropriately. That’s where the New American Standard translation is good at this point. “Live with your wives in an understanding way.” This translation is good in that it comes across with the emphasis upon a tender heart of compassion that a husband ought to have for his wife.

I believe that this phrase, “in an understanding way” is at the heart of Peter’s exhortation to men. That’s why I have phrased my first point the way that I did, "Husbands, Know Your Wife."

The implication of this is simple: as you know her, you ought to dwell with her appropriately. See, there is a way that might be appropriate for a couple of guys to live together in a college dorm room, which is not appropriate for a man dwelling with a wife. Under this main exhortation, I want to give you three sub points of things that you need to know about your wife. First,

1. Know Your Wife Physically.

This is what Peter first addresses. He says, “Live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman.”

While not true in every instance, for the most part, women are smaller than men. There are instances in which a wife is taller than her husband. Perhaps there are more instances in which a wife weighs more than a husband. As the nursery rhyme says, "Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean." But, in almost every instance, a husband will be stronger than his wife.

For instance, if you husbands and wives would arm wrestle, my guess is that in 1000 cases to 1 the husbands would win. (Men, if your wife can beat you at arm-wrestling, join a gym and change that.) You have every advantage over your wife. In general, men are 40 percent muscle and 15 percent fat. Whereas women are generally only 25 percent muscle and 25 percent fat. In general, your arms and longer and your shoulders are wider than your wife’s arms and shoulders. And pound for pound, you are two to three times more powerful than she is. [1]

To live with your wife according to knowledge, you need to know these sorts of things. You need to know her weaknesses. You need to know her frailties. But, notice how Peter points this out. He says that your wife is “weaker.” He didn’t say that she was “weak.” The implication here isn’t upon the strength of the man, it’s on the relative weakness of your wife. The implication here is that you are weak yourself. She is simply weaker than you are.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Scriptures are abundantly clear that God looks with favor upon those who are weak. "God looks upon the meek and gentle" (Matthew 5:3-12). God chose the weak and despised (1 Cor. 1:26-30). The weaker members are necessary (1 Cor. 12:22-25). God chose the poor to be rich in faith (James 2:5).

Weakness isn't a bad thing, as Douglas Wilson says, “The weakness Peter mentions is God’s design, not her fault. It is not a fault at all. Weakness is only a fault if it falls short of the design. A china cup is weaker than the five-pound sledge but a hammer is no good at all for drinking tea.” [2]

God has designed a woman to be a china cup. God has designed men to be sledge hammers. Men, you need to understand her physical weakness. Don’t crush her. How easy is it for a sledge hammer to break a china cup. Sadly, there are many husbands who have done such a thing. They have crushed their wives physically like Tamar, who forced Amnon to lie with him. The Scripture says, “Since he was stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her” (2 Sam. 13:14). Many men have crushed their wives verbally by constantly tearing them down, never speaking an encouraging word to their wives. Men, these things ought not to be.

Men, don’t use your strength to crush your wife. Rather, use it to protect your wife. Don’t put her in a place of danger. Don’t walk down dark alleys late at night. When danger comes, hold her and shield her from the danger. When a strange noise comes from the house somewhere, you get out of bed and check it out.

Provide for your wife. You are the one who has the stamina to work. So, work hard and provide for her. In other words, use your strength for her good, and not for her bad. These things are Biblical. When you look to the Bible for the roles and responsibilities of a man, it’s to provide for her and protect her. This leads to sub point #2. Men, not only do you need to know your wife physically, you also need to ...

2. Know Your Wife Biblically.

In other words, you need to understand what God has called her to be and to do. When you know and understand what God has called her to be and do, you then can help her be like that.

These past three weeks have been a good primer for you to understand the God-ordained role that has been given to her. How easy is it for us to look here at Peter’s words and apply them to husbands.

In verses 1-2, we learn that she is called to submit to her husband. And so, husbands, know this about her. God calls her to submit to you! So, make it easy for her. Be such a kind and loving and gracious husband, that she actually wants to submit to you. Speak long and often about your appreciation for the ways in which she serves you and your household.

In verses 3-4, we learn that she is called to seek her internal beauty. And so, husbands, know this about her. God calls her to prioritize her internal beauty above her external beauty. She is to seek to cultivate within her a gentle and quiet spirit. So, make it your aim to help her in this process. Be satisfied in her natural appearance. Tell her that she’s beautiful, just the way that she is. Don’t compel her to spend much time and money in making herself beautiful, only to satisfy your eyes. Commend her as she grows in her gentleness and quietness.

In verses 5-6, we learn that she is called to hope in God. And so, husbands, help her with these things. Throughout your lives together, help her to hope in God. Read the Scriptures with her. Pray with her. Constantly speak of God’s goodness to her. Direct her to hope in God.

There are many other passages in the Bible to which we could turn that describe her role Biblically. Husbands, these passages are primarily for your wife, as they are addressed specifically to the roles of women. But, they are also for you. You ought to study them too, so as to help her grow in her femininity.

Titus 2, verses 3-5 describe what women ought to be, "Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored."

You can take each of these characteristics and easily apply them to your life in helping your wife fulfill her God-ordained role.

For instance, ...

- When you read that an older woman is to be reverent in her behavior, lead her and help her to be reverent. Never be flippant about God in your home. Cultivate in your own heart a fear of God and seek to impart that to your wife as well.
- When you read that she is not to be a malicious gossip, help her in this. First of all, don’t gossip with her. Don’t be a gossip yourself. When she is gossiping, stop her from doing so with gentleness.
- When you read that a younger woman is to love her husband, help her. Be the sort of husband that she can’t help but to love.
- When you read that she is to love her children, help her. Work hard and cultivate your children’s life a pleasantness to be around. Discipline your children for your wife’s sake! Well-mannered children are easier to love.
- When you read that your wife is to be pure, help her. Don’t expose her to impure things. Don’t put bad movies before her eyes. Don’t let her hear bad language. Do everything that you can to keep her from smutty romance novels or soap operas.

We could go on and on and on about the wife’s role in marriage. We could look at Genesis 2 or 1 Timothy 2. We could look at Proverbs 31 or various Psalms, like Psalm 127 or 128. But, my message this morning isn’t a message to women. It’s a message to men.

But, I hope the point is made. Husbands, please know what the Bible calls a wife and woman to be and work hard to help your wife grow in her femininity. So work and so live in your own life that you help to lead your wife into her Biblical role.

3. Know Your Wife Personally.

Every woman in this room is different. They have different likes and dislikes. They have different tastes. They have different skills and abilities. They have different backgrounds and experiences. They have different sorts of temptations. They have different personalities.

Some like to stay at home. Others like to go out. Some like Chinese food. Others can’t stand Chinese food. Some are night owls. Others are early birds. Some like to watch sports. Others don’t. But, men you need to be an expert in your wife.

I remember counseling with a pastor in the months before I was married. He said, “Steve, for the rest of your life, I encourage you to make your wife, Yvonne, the object of your study. Get a doctorate in Yvonnology.” I give the same advice to all of you husbands out there. You may need to get a doctorate in Michellology or Adriannology or Karenlology or Kristiology.

How can you get your doctorate in your wife? The only way is to talk with her. You need to communicate with her. You need to ask her questions. You need to find out what pleases her. You need to find out what’s important to her. You need to find out where her strengths and weaknesses lie. By nature, many of us men are not talkers. We would rather communicate in grunts and short sentences. But Peter here, calls us to talk with our wives to get to know them. By nature, many of us men are not talkers. We would rather communicate in grunts and short sentences.But, Peter here calls us to talk with our wives to get to know them.

One man said that it takes five minutes a day, one evening a week, one day a month, and one weekend a year. That's good advice. Perhaps you say, " I don't know what to talk about!" Here is a little questionnaire that I found helpful a few years ago. It might be helpful for you men to ask your wife. Here are five questions for you to ask yourself (and your wife). Each of these questions ought to have a list of answers.

Question #1: What does my wife need?

Question #2: What does my wife want?

Question #3: What is important to my wife?

Question #4: What can I do to please my wife?

Question #5: What are particular areas of temptation for my wife?

This is a good start into understanding your own wife, so that you can dwell with her according to knowledge. But, it’s only half the puzzle. Not only is there a knowing. There is also a doing. Peter implies both in this text. “Dwell with her according to knowledge.” You need to “know her.” But, you also need to dwell with her according to that knowledge. If you are anything like me, you have blown it before.

Back in 1994, Yvonne and I had been married for a little more than a year. We were signed up to attend a Valentine’s Day banquet at a church near my work, some 45 minutes away from where we were living. The plan was simple, I’d head over to the church after work. My wife would come with another couple to meet us there. In the course of time, I arrived, but she didn’t.

As the evening progressed, neither she, nor this couple showed up. I didn’t know why they hadn’t made it there on time. I didn’t know what happened to them. I didn’t know what to do. This was long before cell phones. The only way that I could be a part of the solution was to hunt them down, somewhere on the 45 minute drive between church and home. But, that would be like looking for a needle in a hay stack. I figured that Yvonne was in good hands with this other couple.

Stupid me, I simply enjoyed my time at the banquet, oblivious to what may have happened to them. Turns out that their car broke down on I-88 and it took them 45 minutes to flag down a car to help them in the sub-zero weather. Finally, they got a ride to a near-by town and had a friend come and pick them up and take them home.

My blunder was not seeking them out, or calling, or rescuing them. I blew it. I should have set out to find the needle in the haystack.

I was not living with my wife in an understanding way. I’m telling you, it was a low point in our marriage. I wasn’t banished to the couch that night, but I should have been.

As I stand here today, there are some things that I’m not doing. I’m not. Particularly, there are some issues in our home that need to be addressed. Yvonne and I have talked about them. We have agreed about what needs to get done. But, I've not done them. It’s not so much that they need to get done. It’s that Yvonne needs to see progress. I’ve not made the progress that I need to make. As I make progress, I demonstrate my care for and understanding of my wife.

So, it’s not like I have been living the picture-perfect role of the understanding husband. In many ways, “I am a knucklehead.” But, knowing that I had this message to preach, I talked with my wife about how I'm doing in living with her in an understanding way. She emailed me Friday afternoon. She wrote, “Just a thought... maybe for personal application of your sermon, you could make 2 strategic phone calls (before Sunday if possible)? Maybe you already have. I love you!” By the grace of God, I have made these phone calls and started the ball rolling on several projects. That’s how the Word has it’s way of working in our lives

Men, perhaps there are some phone calls that you need to make. Men, perhaps there are some things that you need to do to demonstrate your care and concern for your wife. She is dependent upon you. You are called to meet her needs.

My second admonition to you husbands is this:
2. Honor Your Wife

This comes straight from the last half of verse 7, “and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life.” Men, you are to show honor to your wife.

This word here translated, “honor,” is often translated, “price” or “cost.” When Judas returned the 30 silver pieces to the chief priests, they refused to put it into the treasury, because “it is the price of blood” (Matt. 27:6). (This word translated “price” is the word that Peter used to describe how husbands ought to “honor” their wives). The early church sacrificed greatly for each other, selling lands and houses. They would “bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet” who distributed the money (Acts 4:34). (This word, “proceeds” is the word that Peter used).

This gives you an indication of what this word means. It means that you place value upon something or someone. It means that you then speak well of them and seek to please them. That’s why this word is often used in giving honor to God. "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever" (1 Tim. 1:17). “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing" (Rev. 5:12).

Men, you are called to honor your wife. You are called to value your wife. Warren Wiersbe said it well, ...

Chivalry may be dead, but every husband must be a “knight in shining armor” who treats his wife like a princess.. ... The husband should treat his wife like an expensive, beautiful, fragile vase, in which is a precious treasure. After they get married, many a husband forgets to be kind and gentlemanly and starts taking his wife for granted. He forgets that happiness in a home is made up of many little things, including the small courtesies of life. Big resentments often grow out of small hurts. [3]

This is good. But, honoring your wife is more than that. When you want to honor another person, it is usually a public occasion. We have “honor banquets,” in which we have a change to publicly recognize and thank certain individuals we want to honor. And so, men if you want to honor your wife, you have a very public task. You are called to make known your own value of your wife to others.

Think about Proverbs 31. Much of the chapter speaks about the virtuous woman. But, at the end of the chapter, it speaks about her husband. “Her husband ... praises her saying: ‘Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all’” (Prov. 31:29).

Men, you are called to say these kind of things about your wife. Tell this to your children. Tell this to your extended family. Tell your coworkers, “Guys, my wife is absolutely wonderful! I can’t even begin to describe my love for her! She’s amazing! She’s beautiful! Her love for God abounds. I love to see the way that she tenderly cares for our children. Our house is like a palace. She has decorated it and worked hard to maintain it. I love being there with her!” When your co-workers want to spend a Friday evening together at the bowling alley, politely tell them, “Sorry, I’ve got more important things to do on Friday night. I’m taking my wife out on a date.” When your co-workers speak poorly of their wives, overcome their evil talk with your good talk about your wife.

You may well say, “Steve, it’s easy for you. You have a wife like that!” I do. Yvonne is a great servant to me. We have been married for fifteen, wonderful years (with the exception of a certain Valentine’s Day Banquet many years ago). In eternity it will be made clear for all to see that any ministry that I have at Rock Valley Bible, I owe, in large measure to Yvonne. I couldn’t have asked for a better wife. My heart resonates with the words that Charles Spurgeon wrote to his wifey, ...

My Own Dear one--None know how grateful I am to God for you. In all I have ever done for Him, you have a large share. For in making me so happy you have fitted me for service. Not an ounce of power has ever been lost to the good cause through you. I have served the Lord far more, and never less, for your sweet companionship. The Lord God Almighty bless you now and forever! [4]

That’s just a sampling of the many letters that Charles Spurgeon wrote to his wife, Susannah. After the death of Charles, Susannah published many of them. It was a difficult task for her. She said, ...

I have been trying in these pages to leave the "love" out of the letters as much as possible, lest my precious things should appear but platitudes to my readers, but it is a difficult task; for little rills of tenderness run between all the sentences, like the singing, dancing waters among the boulders of a brook, and I cannot still the music altogether. To the end of his beautiful life it was the same, his letters were always those of a devoted lover, as well as of a tender husband; not only did the brook never dry up, but the stream grew deeper and broader, and the rhythm of its song waxed sweeter and stronger. [5]

For those of you with wonderful wives, such things are easily said and written. Men, if you haven’t said such things or written such thing. Say them and write them!

Now, some of you may be thinking, “But I don’t have such a wife.” Men, Peter leaves you with no excuse. For three weeks, now, men, I have pointed out that in 1 Peter, chapter 3, verse 1, the wife is to submit to her husband. For three weeks, I have pointed out how there aren’t any exceptions to this call, “even if your husband is disobedient to the word.” Husbands, now I turn the table. There is no exception clause here in 1 Peter, chapter 3 for you men as well.

And if, in the integrity of your heart, you can’t say about your wife that she excels all other women, then find something else to say about her! There are redeemable qualities in every woman.

Maybe you need to start small. Just as big resentments often grow out of small hurts, so also great wives often grow out of small encouragements from their husbands. I guarantee you that if you consistently build her up and communicate your affection for her and encourage her, she will blossom over the years. And you may well be able to say someday, “Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all” (Prov. 31:29).

This week I read a parable of what took place on a primitive Pacific island, ...

... where a man paid the dowry for his wife in cows. Two or three cows could buy a decent wife, four or five a very nice one. But Johnny lingo had offered an unheard of eight cows for Sarita, a girl whom everyone in her home village thought rather plain looking. The local folks all made fun of Johnny, who they thought was crazy to pay so much for a wife.

When the teller of the story finally sees Johnny Lingo's wife, she is stunned by her beauty. She askes him how this could be the same woman--how can she be so different? Johnny's reply shows that he's nobody's fool:

"Do you ever think,' he asked, "what it must mean to a woman to know that her husband has settled on the lowest price for which she can be bought? And then later, when the women talk, they boast of what their husbands paid for them. One says four cows, another maybe six. How does she feel, the woman who was sold for one or two? This could not happen to my Sarita."

"Then you did this just to make your wife happy?"

"I wanted Sarita to be happy, yes. But I wanted more than that. You say she is different. This is true. Many things can change a woman. Things that happen inside, thinkgs that happen outside. but the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands."

"Then you wanted--"

"I wanted to marry Sarita. I loved her and no other woman."

"But--" I was close to understanding.

"But," he finished softly, "I wanted an eight-cow wife." [6]

Men, if you want to have an eight-cow wife, honor her by building her up. One of the things that you need to realize about Charles Spurgeon’s wife is that she was a sickly woman. For a few years, she was an invalid, in very poor health never leaving the home. For years, he would often go off to preach, while she remained home alone. And yet, such words freely flowed from his mouth and from his pen, which surely helped to cause his wife to flourish in her own eyes.

Husbands, perhaps a picture might help you. Think of a teacup. Your wife is a teacup. We honor teacups at our house by housing them in a specific cabinet. We only take them out on very special occasions, when guests come for a special dinner. We never run them through the dishwasher, lest the light golden trim around them wear away with the intense heat. We don’t allow little children to use the teacups in our house. We protect our teacups, so that they don't break. Husbands, consider your wife to be a teacup! Take care of your wife. Protect your wife.

And now the question comes, “Why?” Why should I honor my wife? Peter gives us two answers to this question.

The first one is that she is a fellow heir of the grace of life with you. Look down at verse 7 again, “as a fellow heir of the grace of life.”

Husbands, honor your wives, because, through the gospel, they will also enjoy all of the great blessings in the world to come that you have come to know and enjoy in Christ.

She will stand right beside you in eternity, giving praise to the risen Lord! Women aren’t second-class citizens. Women aren’t to be cast off as your servants. You aren’t dishonor your wife in any way. No, as fellow image-bearers, your wife will receive the same inheritance, that you will receive. Lest you have forgotten what sort of inheritance that will be, chapter 1, verse 4 lays it out for us. It is imperishable. It is undefiled. It is unfading. It is reserved for all who have hoped in Christ.

Such is the future for all who believe in Christ. It matters not whether you are a man or a woman. For indeed, in Christ Jesus, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

Now, that’s not to say that a wife’s role is the same as a husband’s role, because it isn’t. The husband is to lead, and the wife is to submit. But, a woman is has every bit as much a share of heaven that any man can look forward to. Your role, husbands, is to keep that ever in front of your mind, that you might lead your wife to the grace of life.

I love what Albert Barnes noted in his commentary on this passage, ...

It was an important advance made in society when the Christian religion gave such a direction as this: [giving honor unto the wife], for everywhere among the heathen, and under all false systems of religion, woman has been regarded as worthy of little honor or respect. She has been considered as a slave, or as a mere instrument to gratify the passions of man. It is one of the elementary doctrines of Christianity, however, that woman is to be treated with respect; and one of the first and marked effects of religion on society is to elevate the wife to a condition in which she will be worthy of esteem. ... Christianity has done much to elevate the female sex. It has taught that the woman is an heir to the grace of life as well as the man; that, while she is inferior in bodily vigor, she is his equal in the most important respect; that she is a fellow-traveler with him to a higher world; and that in every way she is entitled to all the blessings which redemption confers, as much as he is. This single truth has done more than all other things combined to elevate the female sex, and is all that is needful to raise her from degradation all over the world. They, therefore, who desire the elevation of the female sex, who see woman ignorant and degraded in the dark parts of the earth, should be the friends of all well-directed efforts to send the gospel to heathen lands. [7]

Do you want women world-wide to receive honor? Then support the work of world-wide missions! The spread of Christianity has done much to help in honoring women. Of all religions, Christianity is a woman's best freind. Throughout all history, the cause of the cross has brought women out of degradation into a place of honor. Those who fight for equal rights in our country are actually trying to bring women down (though they know this not). For, a woman can be held in no greater honor than when a country follows the Christian creed. So, men, give honor to your wives, because they are fellow heirs of the same promises that you have received in Christ.

Peter gives a second reason why it is that we need to honor our wives. Look at it there in verse 7, "...show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

Giving honor to your wife has implications regarding your relationship with the Lord. If your life is such that you are not living with your wives in an understanding way, and you are not showing her much honor, then, your prayers will be hindered.

I’m not sure exactly how this works. I’m not sure whether this will hinder you from praying, or whether this will hinder God from listening. But, somehow, your prayers won’t have any effect. They either don’t get out of your mouth, or they don’t reach the throne of God.

My guess is that both are involved. When you are not sensitive to your wife’s needs and wants, neither will your soul be sensitive to cast your cares upon the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). Should you utter some prayers, they simply won’t arrive at the throne of God to have any effect whatsoever.

When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he said, “We wanted to come to you--I, Paul, more than once--and yet Satan hindered us” (1 Thess. 2:18). For some reason, Paul wasn’t able to get to Thessalonica. And yet, Satan hindered him from even being able to leave. When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he said, “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Gal. 5:7). In this instance, we see a runner running, but something is getting in the way so that the runner couldn’t finish his race.

Men, this is what happens when your marriage lacks: your relationship with the Lord will lack. If things aren’t right at home, things won’t be right with God. Your prayers will be clogged. Men, I hope that you see the seriousness of these things and pledge before God, to honor your wives.


This sermon was delivered to Rock Valley Bible Church on March 16, 2008 by Steve Brandon.
For more information see www.rvbc.cc.

[1] See Lou Priolo's excellent book, "The Complete Husband," p. 30.

[2] Douglas Wilson, Reforming Marriage, p. 35.

[3] Warren Wiersbe, Bible Exposition Commentary.

[4] See http://chi.gospelcom.net/GLIMPSEF/Glimpses/glmps103.shtml.

[5] Ibid.

[6] The story of Johnny Lingo is all over the internet. It was written by Patricia McGerr and appeared in Reader's Digest [2/88], pp. 138-141. I was alerted to this story by a sermon preached by Steven Cole of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship in Flagstaff, Arizona. His message can be found online here: http://www.fcfonline.org/content/1/sermons/092792m.pdf.

[7] Barnes' Notes on the New Testament (from his comments on 1 Peter 3:7).