Yesterday we discussed the third requirement for a strong husband from 1 Peter 3:7. A strong husband studies his wife. Today let’s consider a fourth requirement: if you want to be a strong husband, you must SHOW HONOR TO YOUR WIFE.
This is taught in 1 Peter 3:7, which says: Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Peter’s requirements for husbands aren’t over yet. We must do everything we’ve talked about this week while also “showing honor to the woman.” That word “honor” refers to rightly esteeming the value of someone or something. To esteem them well. But notice carefully what Peter is saying here. Husbands, you are not merely commanded to feel honor but to show honor. And it is not enough to show that you honor your wife in the presence of others. You are called to show honor to the woman you married.
Husband, are you showing honor to your wife? How do you talk to her? How do you talk about her? How often do you tell her please and thank you? How well do you listen to her? What sorts of body language do you give when she’s talking? How do you treat her when she’s anxious or sad? If we could livestream a typical conversation between you and your wife, would your honor for her be obvious? Or would it look like you have greater honor for your smartphone, your television, your hobby, or your own preferences?
How often do you serve and surprise her? This is where you put all that studying of your wife into good use. As you learn about her, you learn how to serve her and surprise her in a way that shows her how much you honor her. So here’s another piece of homework for you, husbands: how specifically can you serve and surprise your wife this week?
We are blessed as a church to have many families at PBC with young children. This is a blessing, and we are so honored and encouraged that you have not allowed a pandemic or the sudden elimination of children’s programming to hinder your faithfulness. Thank you! If you are the husband in one of those families, let me encourage you to view this season with young children as a unique opportunity to show honor to your wife. Husbands, if your wife is caring for young children, she needs you to show her honor perhaps now more than ever. Consider this challenge from pastor and theologian Doug Wilson: “A principal cause of discouragement is exhaustion. If a mother is doing her job at home with her little ones, she will be far more physically tired than she used to be. What can the husband do?
First, he can help-both through helping with the kids, and also through refraining from acting like an extra kid himself. He should also help by watching the troops so that his wife can get out at least once a week. He should also arrange for a regular babysitter so that he can take her out--she needs a Sabbath.
Second, he should recognize that the kids are placing demands on his wife’s body all day long-they want to nurse, they want to be carried, they want to be held, etc. This means that he should be sensitive to how he approaches her sexually. He must not be just one more voice in the clamor.
Third, he must teach his wife to look for the long-term blessing, both in this life and the next. The most important returns from child-rearing in this life do not come in the first five years. There is necessarily a heavy investment of time and energy when the children are little. But if they are disciplined and grow they will begin to contribute far more to the family than they receive from it. But initially, as newborns and toddlers, children merely contribute to the workload.
A husband should also encourage his wife by reminding her of the eternal value of the work she is doing. When she and her children have been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, then that apparently eternal pile of laundry will finally come into perspective. A husband should help to provide a glimpse of that perspective now.”[i]
Wives, let me encourage you not to take a list here of all the areas where your husband is failing. Remember, you are not the Holy Spirit. Your job is to submit and through your submission trust God to do the work that only He can do and change your husband’s heart.
Husbands, let me encourage you to ask your wife, how can I grow in showing you honor? And patiently listen to what she says without argument or self-defense. Listen, learn, and change.
Being a strong husband requires you to show honor to your wife.
[i] Douglas Wilson, Reforming Marriage (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1995), 123.