Many blog posts, marriage seminars, and entire books have been written on the importance of wives respecting their husbands. After all, Ephesians 5:33 says, "Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
Did you know, however, that husbands are called by God to respect their wives, as well? This truly is a road that is to go both ways.
1 Peter 3:7
We see this concept taught by Paul in 1 Peter 3:7 which says, "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." The Greek word translated honor is timē, the literal meaning of which, in this context, is:
- honour which belongs or is shown to one
- of the honour which one has by reason of rank and state of office which he holds
- deference, reverence
This is the same Greek word used in the following passages, as well:
"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." ~1 Timothy 1:17
" Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine." ~1 Timothy 5:17
"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." ~Hebrews 2:9
Contrary to what some believe, the honor to be shown to women according to 1 Peter 3:7 is not a condescending "there, there" type of fake honor given to an overgrown child (this idea stems from a false perspective on the meaning of the term "weaker vessel")!
Rather, it is the same as the kind of honor you would give to God, Christ, and ruling elders. This is not to say that you place your relationship with your wife on the same level as your relationship with God. He is to be your number one. It is also not to say that women are to be ruling over their husbands as would a ruling elder or a civil ruler. Marriage is a partnership. It is, however, to illustrate for us the magnitude of the honor, respect, and reverence that is to be shown to women by their husbands.
What This Means for Our Marriages
How could this understanding of the meaning behind the word "honor" in 1 Peter 3:7 change the landscape of Christian marriages in our day? I believe there are at least 3 ways this realization could positively impact marriage, and they are as follows:
- It does away with any notion of a subordination of women.
Women were not made by God to be subordinate to men in any way, shape, or form. That is not womanhood by God's design. Women are equal in worth to men, just as important as men, made in the image of God just as man was, and worthy of honor just as men are. This becomes crystal clear when we understand the meaning of the Greek word translated "honor".
- It does away with the idea that husbands are to "rule" over their wives.
The idea that men are to "rule over"women (even kindly and with love and gentleness) is an unBiblical idea. The only place in all of Scripture where this concept is even set forth is in an incredibly negative light as a result of sin, the fall, and the curse (see Genesis 3:16b – "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."), not as a result of God's design for relationships between men and women. That becomes clear when we understand the meaning of 1 Peter 3:7.
- It does away with the practice of explaining away abuse against wives.
Sadly, cases of abuse towards women are on the rise in ultra-conservative circles. More and more cases of this are coming out each year, and it is incredibly sad. Not only does this kind of behavior destroy the type of brother-and-sister relationshipGod intended for men and women to have, but it also mars His design for Biblical marriage. God-honoring marriage is a relationship between two equals who mutually love, respect, honor, serve, and revere each other. They are to be pointing one another to Christ and seek each other's best interests. There is no excuse for abuse against women (or men!). Plain and simple.
Love and Respect
The truth is that, Biblically speaking, both love and respect/reverence are to be shown to each spouse (Ephesians 5:25, Titus 2:4, Ephesians 5:33, and 1 Peter 3:7). That is what makes for a beautiful, fulfilling, impactful, God-honoring marriage! And that is what we should be seeking to live out ourselves and point others to, as well.
Originally posted at hargraveshomeandhearth.com