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“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7)

In this mixed-up world, there are developments in current times that are upside down. For example, there are biological males who believe they are women, and biological females who regard themselves as men. The Word of God is clear when it reveals that from the beginning of time God made us either male or female from the moment we entered this world (see Genesis 1:27; Mark 10:6). Nothing that people do can change this.

Another development that reaches back a number of years is the belief that women and men possess identical strengths and abilities. Again, Holy Scripture settles this matter by revealing that God made males and females differently, equipping them with differing physical and emotional strengths. In the Bible verse under study in this article, the apostle Peter speaks of the wife as the “weaker vessel.” She is generally weaker than her husband physically and emotionally.

Since the husband possesses these strengths, he is called upon to guard against the temptation of looking down upon his wife as if she were somehow inferior to him. Instead, the husband is instructed to show the utmost respect for his wife. He is also not to use his leadership position in the family to be selfish, domineering, or abusive in any way. Rather than allowing his fleshly nature to have its way in treating his spouse in such sinful ways, the husband is to show his wife tender, loving care, and unselfishly sacrifice his own interests in order to do things that are for her benefit. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, amplifies this Christian manner of treatment of a husband toward his wife when he says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) Jesus unselfishly gave Himself for the church so that we could be eternally redeemed. Husbands are likewise to love their wives and sacrifice for them!

Husbands are also to dwell with their wives with the understanding that they are fellow heirs with them of the undeserved gift of eternal life in heaven. Since a Christian wife shares this inheritance equally with her Christian husband, he is to take great care in how he regards and treats his wife, so that nothing that he says or does jeopardizes his wife’s eternal inheritance. Instead of spiritually harming her, a Christian husband will want to spiritually build up his wife in the faith. This is a very serious matter in the eyes of the Lord. And God will hold husbands accountable for the way they dwell with their wives.

As husbands hear the divine instruction given them in this Bible text, all husbands will have to confess that they have often failed to regard and treat their wives in a God-pleasing way. But as Christians we are thankful for having a forgiving God who absolves us of all our transgressions. And we look to Him to create in us a clean heart and to renew a right spirit within us. Even as our Savior Jesus unselfishly loved us, so also we strive with God’s help to honor our wives as the weaker vessels, and to treat them with loving care as fellow heirs of heaven.

The husband is to show his wife tender, loving care, and unselfishly sacrifice his own interests in order to do things that are for her benefit.

Mark Gullerud is retired from the pastoral ministry. He lives in Sunnyvale, California.