1 Peter 3:7 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.
Since I have a wife who beautifully fulfills the first six verses of this chapter, my attention naturally goes to this verse. Some women are offended by it, (as they are by most of the first six verses too) especially by the word, “weaker.” The thing is, it’s a simple matter of physiology that men have more muscle mass than women, and have a few other mechanical advantages as well. That’s why it’s so manifestly wrong to allow gender-confused males to compete against females in sports: hormones aside, they have too much natural advantage. In other ways, such as pain tolerance and the like, women can often be the “stronger,” but that’s not what Peter is talking about. Some people are offended by the very idea that people can be different but equal, but such an attitude is very sad and never leads to genuine happiness and harmony. As Peter says right here, if the husband fails to see his wife as his equal in inheriting the grace of God, then his prayers aren’t going to go very far! We are horrified by what we see in Islamist countries like Afghanistan, but denying that men and women are different isn’t the answer. God delights in diversity, but that doesn’t mean different value. Men and women are equally unbalanced without each other.
I was fortunately raised by parents who deeply respected each other, so that was the attitude I expected and desired in my own marriage. I have seen many couples where that respect was lacking, and it has been tragic. In the West we tend to focus on romantic love, but all too often that is just a polite way to talk about sex, and that is no foundation for anything. Sex is a beautiful gift that God has given us not only to procreate but to cement the emotional bonds between a husband and wife. However, without the respect Peter mentions, it is hardly up to the task of holding a marriage together. When asked by the professor in a Marriage and Family class in seminary what my expectations were of marriage before I got married, my answer astonished him. He was amazed that I had that image of marriage before ever experiencing it. What I said was, “I expected marriage to be the biggest job of my life, but carry the greatest rewards.” Experience has certainly born that out! It has given me great assurance as I counsel couples before I perform their wedding – as I will be doing this morning. They are generally amazed when I tell them that my wife and I are still in love after 52+ years! I couldn’t begin to enumerate all the things the Lord has taught us, and done for us, through each other, and it is precisely our differences that have been most instrumental in that. Marriage is a grand experience of discovering fulfillment through fulfilling another, and so is the opposite of selfishness. I could obviously go on and on about this, so I’d better stop!
Father, thank You for the magnificent wife You have given me, and for how we have completed each other over the years. I pray that we would continue to grow as You intend, and that our relationship would be an example to all who know us, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!