Are You a “What about him?” Woman?

In the Gospel of John there is an incident where John is leaning on Christ’s chest as Jesus tells his disciples about the future.  In John 21:21-22, we read “Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

What was Jesus saying to Peter? He was saying “Don’t be concerned about what I have for him to do in his life, only be concerned about what I have for you to do in your life”.

Is your knee jerk reaction as a Christian woman, when you hear tough Biblical teaching toward women, “What about him?” Or more specifically “What about the men?” This mindset comes not from God, but rather the feminist and humanist culture you have been brought up in.  And more often than not, this response is a cover for your own conviction of sin as a woman. You feel that conviction and want to deflect as quickly as possible to the men.

If this is your reaction as a woman, you have a major spiritual defect in your thinking.    The Bible commands us as Christians And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God in Romans 12:2.

Don’t worry about the men.  Leave the men to other men and to God.  Only be concerned about what God has for you to do in this life as a woman.

God has given men and women different roles to play in this life and thus different races to run.  And one of the critical differences between the roles of men and women is that God has given men spiritual oversight and responsibility for the women in their lives.  So, men must be concerned not only with how they fulfill the role God has given them as men, but they must also be concerned with the instruction and discipline of women under their spiritual authority as well.

This same thing cannot be said for women.  Women should only be concerned with the role God has given them as women and leave the men to other men and ultimately to God.   Heed Christ’s words to Peter “what is that to thee? follow thou me.

My Husband Has Left the Faith, What Should I do?

How should a Christian wife handle it when her husband abandons his Christian faith? How should she deal with her children in regard to their father? Recently one of my regular commenters, a woman who goes by the handle livinginblurredlines, wrote the following about her husband who once professed faith in Christ:

“hubby has decided to become a philosophical Odinist….meaning he doesn’t believe Odin and all the other Norse gods actually exist, but that there is an All-Father that encompasses all faiths that believe in a high deity, and he follows modern Odinism philosophies that embrace strength of self, traditional families, helping your fellow, and nationalism. So, he has no desire to find or attend a church, anymore. So, what shall I do concerning this and our children? When I married him 20 years ago I never thought I’d be faced with this issue!”

What follows are answers to several important questions that Christian wives who find themselves in this situation may be asking.

Can I leave My Unbelieving Husband?

The answer to this question is found in 1 Corinthians 7:13-16:
“And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?”

So, as you can see from the Scripture above, if your unbelieving husband wants to stay in the marriage with you, God wants you to stay with him. And the Bible tells us that in staying with him, you may actually win him to Christ.

Regarding the case of a woman whose husband has left the faith he once professed. We must realize that a true believer can never leave the faith as they are kept by the power of God. In 1 John 2:19 we read the following of those who made professions of faith and then abandoned them:
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

So, in this way as a Christian wife, you must forget your husband’s past participation in church or other Christian activities. Do not dwell on it. Wipe the slate clean in your mind and deal with him as you would someone who has never dawned the doorstep of a church.

Does God Still Want to Me to Submit to My Unbelieving Husband?

The answer to this question is found in 1 Peter 3:1-2:
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

So, the answer to this question is yes, God absolutely wants you as a Christian wife to submit to your husband who is disobedient to the Word. You win a husband, whether he be an unbelieving husband or a Christian husband who has some areas where he is disobedient to God in some way. You win him without a word, without preaching at him, nagging at him or complaining at him. You win him with your actions and your life before him. You win him with your submission, your pure life and your reverent attitude toward him.

My mother is a living example of 1 Peter 3:1-2. My mother became a Christian while married to my father. She completely changed her ways toward him. She submitted to him, lived a different life in front of him and reverenced him. And these actions by my mother brought him to Christ and this enabled me to be raised by both a Christian father and a Christian mother. My father would go on to study the Word of God and become my mother’s teacher. This can work ladies!

Can I still teach my Children the Gospel?

In Acts 5:26-29 we read the following story about the Apostles:
“Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

We can see from the story above that even if your husband forbids you from teaching your children the Gospel you can and should still do that. I would suggest you do this in private settings with your children. But you can show them you love and respect their father, but that this is something that goes beyond your relationship with their father and that having a relationship with God is the most important relationship we can have in this life.

What If My Husband Forbids Me from Taking the Kids to Church?

If your husband forbids you from going to church, you can privately seek the teaching of God. While he is at work, watch sermons from Bible teachers online. And you should privately read your Bible and pray. Let your children watch Bible teaching when Dad is not around. Have them watch Christian movies and shows that teach them about God.

But Isn’t It Wrong to Keep Secrets From My Husband?

A tenant of humanism is “complete transparency in any relationship”. No secrets. None at all. But this is not how God sees things. God keeps secrets from us, and sometimes it is necessary for us to keep secrets from each other.

In Proverbs 28:13 the Bible says He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy”. But then in Proverbs 27:12 we read “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished”.

And then in Matthew 6:1-6 Jesus made the follow statements:
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Jesus reveals that it is not wrong to do good things in secret. Whether it is doing good for others or even good in obedience to God. It is only wrong to do evil things in secret or to try and cover something that is a sin against God.

Conclusion

The humanist atheist and the humanist Christian would both find the advice given here to be absurd because they hold individualism as the highest ideal. Nothing is more important than each individual being able to live their lives out in the open, exactly as they want to live it (as long as that life style does not violate humanist principles in any way of course).

Humanists love the word “transparency” and regularly apply it to relationships. They don’t like secrets. Whether it is the government keeping secrets from its citizens, husbands keeping secrets from wives or wives keeping secrets from husbands.

Of course, humanists always have some exceptions to their rules. For instance, humanists have no problem with women not being transparent with their husbands about murdering their unborn children. But I digress.

So, the humanist would say “If the husband and wife cannot find a way to openly live out their beliefs with one another and tolerate their differences then they should just divorce. But by no means should the wife have to live a secret life as a Christian or keep these kinds of secrets from her husband”.

But for us a Biblicist Christians, we know that there are more important things than our individual wishes and desires. We know that the institution of marriage is more important than the individual happiness of either the husband or wife. We know that marriage is based on a covenant, not total transparency. And we know that we can also find joy in the midst of less than ideal circumstances.

In Matthew 6:1-6, Jesus tells us that being totally transparent in regard to our thoughts or actions is not always the best thing. In fact, he tells us that doing good things toward God, for God or for others in secret can be virtuous. And in Proverbs 27:12 we read that it is “prudent” to sometimes hide ourselves or our actions.

It is utterly disappointing for any Christian wife to hear from her husband that he has left the faith and he is not the believer she thought he was. But God can still greatly use such a Christian wife in the life of her unbelieving husband. And she can still have a vibrant personal faith and have an impact for Christ on her children and on others.

God tells Christian wives in 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 that they must remain with their unbelieving husbands if the husband is willing to stay.

And yes, it will be more challenging in the area of submission. But God makes it clear in 1 Peter 3:1-2 that wives still have to obey unbelieving husbands and he says that wives may win their husbands by their submission, pure lives and reverent behavior.

Christian wives who find themselves married to unbelieving husbands may have to practice their faith in secret. But Jesus shows us in Matthew 6:1-6 that not only is it not a sin to do good toward God and others in secret, but that such actions can be virtuous.

Some Christian wives abuse the Acts 5:29 principle that “We ought to obey God rather man” in order to openly defy their husbands at every turn. But as a Christian wife married to an unbelieving husband, you should make every effort to not have to openly defy your husband.

Wives Forget Your Father’s House

While the Bible tells men to “leave” their father and mother when they enter marriage it uses a different word for women when they enter marriage.  In Psalm 45:10-11 we read “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him”.

Psalm 45:10-11 is widely recognized as a prophecy concerning Christ and his church.  But it is also very practical and applicable to marriage between men and women.  Ephesians 5:23 tells us “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

I can’t tell you how many times I have had haters of the Bible’s teachings on gender roles say “You think men are gods and that is wrong!”.   Each time I hear a variation of that statement I chuckle a bit to myself and remember 1 Corinthians 2:14 which states “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”.

The Bible does not teach that men are gods.  There is only one God.  Men are not God, but God did create men to represent him in this world.  This is the clear teaching of the Bible found in passages like Ephesians 5:22-33 and 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. So, when we understand this concept as Christians, we understand that women are not to worship their husbands or regard their husbands as their savior.  We have one God and one savior whose name is Jesus Christ.

But after we set aside the last part from Psalm 45:10-11 concerning worship, what comes before that is very applicable to women in marriage.

The call to the young woman to regard her new husband as her lord is mirrored in 1 Peter 3:5-6 where the Bible states “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement”.

Now we can zero on what is different in the call to women when they enter marriage.  While men, in multiple Bible passages like Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7 and Ephesians 5:31, are commanded to “leave” their father and mother when they enter marriage women are told in Psalm 45:10-11 to “forget” their people and their father’s house.

A woman’s forgetting of her father’s house is a critical part of the process of her becoming one with her husband.  Her father may have taught her differently and conducted his home differently than the way her husband will conduct his home.  And if she clings to the way her father conducted his home and constantly compares that to her how her husband leads his home there will be problems in the marriage.

How many women today refuse to follow this Scriptural admonition to forget their father’s house? How many women today even refuse to give up their father’s last name or hyphenate their last name? How many women respect their fathers more than their husbands?  A woman who refuses to forget her father’s house, to clear the slate and let her husband redefine for her how their home will be conducted will never have the kind of unity in marriage that God calls for.

A final note to fathers.  As Christian fathers, we should want our daughters to marry godly men and it is our God given right according to Exodus 22:17, to “utterly refuse to give” our daughters in marriage to men whom we do not approve of.   But our culture no longer respects the rights of fathers and has given young women freedom to ignore the spiritual authority of their fathers in this regard.   This is why it is so important for us as Christian fathers in this post-feminist culture to cultivate close spiritual relationships with our daughters to the point that they would never want to disappoint us.

My daughter is within 2 years of the time we have agreed she will begin courting, not long after she graduates high school.  I am excited to see what God will do in her life.  She is not perfect and has her flaws like we all do, but I am happy that God has blessed her with a meek and submissive spirit when it comes to the men in her life whether it be me or her grandfathers.  But when it comes to other women, she is a warrior for God and stands on the front lines fighting against abortion and feminism.

I would never bless her marriage to a man who was not a Christian, a Biblicist and a firm believer in Biblical gender roles. However, I realize the man she marries may have many differences with me outside of these areas.  And I have told her as much throughout the years.  I have told her when she marries, she needs to forget my interpretations and applications of the Bible and how I conducted our house and instead fully embrace her husband’s leading in these areas.

Husbands Wash Your Dirty Wives

When we think of a woman being “dirty” outside the literal meaning we will usually think of a woman acting in a sexually inappropriate manner.    And while there certainly are whorish women who do act in whorish ways there is another type of dirtiness in women that has nothing to do with a woman acting whorish.

When a woman speaks disrespectfully to her husband or does not show proper deference to her husband, that is her acting in a dirty way toward her husband.   When a wife refuses to submit any part of her life to her husband’s spiritual leadership that is her acting in a dirty way.   Sometimes it may not be her actions, but it may in fact be her attitudes and beliefs that are dirty.

Christian husbands, to love your wife as Christ loves his church requires that you wash her spiritual spots, wrinkles and blemishes with the Word of God.  You are to wash her dirty attitudes, beliefs and actions with the Word of God.

You could liken this to how you might wash your car.  You look over that car and make sure every dirt spot and blemish are gone and that it shines so good you can see your reflection in it.  It is the same idea with your wife spiritually.  After you wash her, her views and behaviors should be a reflection of the things you have taught her from God’s Word.

The washing of your wife requires a combination of knowing her, listening to her, teaching her, correcting her and yes disciplining her.   The washing of your wife will sometimes require great sacrifice on your part as the washing of his wife required great sacrifice on the part of Christ.  Sometimes it means temporarily sacrificing the peace in your home to rebuke your wife.  It might mean sacrificing time you might have spent doing things that were more enjoyable.  But it is a sacrifice that is necessary on the part of every Christian husband.

1 Peter 3:7 Why Are a Husband’s Prayers Hindered?

After addressing the submission of wives to their husbands in 1 Peter 3:1-6 the Apostle turns his discussion toward husbands and the treatment of their wives in verse 7 when he states “Likewise, ye husbands”.  He then caps the commands toward husbands with a warning to them of what will happen if they do not treat their wives as he has just stated when he says “that your prayers be not hindered”.

Before we discuss how the Apostle Peter, writing under the inspiration of God, tells husbands to treat their wives, we must first address whose prayers are being hindered.

Whose Prayers Will be Hindered?

Mathew Henry in his famous commentary stated the following about verse 7 of 1 Peter 3:

“The reasons are, Because she is the weaker vessel by nature and constitution, and so ought to be defended: but then the wife is, in other and higher respects, equal to her husband; they are heirs together of the grace of life, of all the blessings of this life and another, and therefore should live peaceably and quietly one with another, and, if they do not, their prayers one with another and one for another will be hindered, so that often “you will not pray at all, or, if you do, you will pray with a discomposed ruffled mind, and so without success.”

The key phrase in Matthew Henry’s statement above is “if they do not, their prayers one with another and one for another will be hindered”.    The “they” and “their” he is referring to is both the husband and wife.

Matthew Henry was taking the position that this phrase “and as being heirs together of the grace of life” was addressing both the husband and wife and therefore the warning “that your prayers be not hindered” was addressed to both husbands and wives.

But this is where we must remind ourselves that no commentator, no matter how famous or respected, is inerrant in their interpretation or application of the Scriptures.

I have read writings of many of the great men of the reformation like Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Knox.  I loved reading the commentaries of Spurgeon as a young man.  But a realization I had to come to was, none of these men were more inerrant than any Christians before them or after them except for those men who spoke and wrote the very Word of God.  Only the Old Testament Prophets, Jesus Christ and his Apostles after him were inerrant in their writings and understanding of God’s will.

This blog is in essence an online commentary, not unlike that of Matthew Henry or Charles Spurgeon.  I could be wrong in my interpretation and applications of the Scriptures just as Matthew Henry or Charles Spurgeon could be wrong in theirs.   Each of us must look at the Scriptures, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, use our knowledge of the original language of the Scriptures as well the historical and grammatical context in which various passages are written to come to what we believe is the correct interpretation and application of the Scriptures.

Some have argued that Matthew Henry’s interpretation is correct because of the Greek word “hymōn” or “Humon” (transliterated) that is in the phrase “that your [Humon] prayers be not hindered”.    They argue that since humon is always used in a plural sense to speak to a group, that it is talking to both the husband and the wife.

While it true that humon is always speaking to a group, we must look to the context to know what group it is speaking to. In the same passage we are discussing, the apostle Peter begins his conversation on marriage by first speaking to wives in 1 Peter 3:1-2:

“Likewise, ye wives [gynaikes], be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your [humon] chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

The English word “wives”, is a translation of the Greek word used to address women in the plural sense which is “gynaikes”.  From the passage above, whose “chaste conversation couple with fear” is the Apostle addressing? It is clear from the context that it is that of the wives.

Peter uses the Greek word which refers to men in the plural sense “andres” to refer to husbands, when he writes the passage we are looking at:

“Likewise, ye husbands [andres], dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your [humon] prayers be not hindered.”

There is nothing in the language of 1 Peter 3:7 which would indicate the prayers being hindered are anyone other than that of a husband’s prayers in the same way that the chaste and fearful behavior of verse 2 is referring strictly to wives in reference to their husbands.

Therefore, we can rightly conclude that 1 Peter 3:7 in its entirety is speaking to husbands and not both husbands and wives.

So, Peter is saying that if husbands don’t do the things, he commanded them toward their wives, their prayers will be hindered.  Now let’s look at how husbands are commanded to treat their wives.

Three Things God Commands of Husbands Toward their Wives

“dwell [sunoikeo ] with them according to knowledge[Gnosis],”

Sunoikeo refers to domestic association, people living together but it also was commonly used as euphemism for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.  And the Greek word gnosis means exactly what is translated as – knowledge.  It is to know about something or to know someone intimately depending on the context.    So, we can see the Apostle is saying “Husbands as you live together with your wives in this intimate and sexual relationship, do so according to knowledge”.  So, the question is what knowledge is he talking about?  Is it just a general knowledge of God and His Word? Is it also knowing your wife’s strengths and weaknesses and where she needs spiritual instruction? And could it also be knowing her fears, her concerns and her requests?  I will give the answer after we finish looking at the last two parts of this verse.

Peter then moves on to tell men two ways in which they must give proper honor their wives.  The first way is mentioned below:

“giving honour unto the wife [gune], as unto the weaker [Asthenes] vessel [Skeuos],”

The Greek word Asthenes means “weak, infirm or feeble” and Skeuos literally refers to vessels like household utensils including bowls or pitchers.  Skeuos is a common euphemism for the human body in the New Testament and our souls are seen as indwelling our vessels.

What this means is that husbands are to give honor to their wives as is appropriate for their station as the weaker vessel. But why would we honor someone for being weaker?

The answer is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

If we remember that God created men to image his attributes, including his strength, and woman to image mankind and our weakness and dependence upon God then this makes perfect sense.  In the same way that we should glory in our weakness and need of God’s strength, so too women should glory in their weakness and dependence upon man’s strength.  And thus, we as men should not demean women who demonstrate their need of our strength, but instead we honor women for doing this.

The honoring of the weaker vessel also means we honor women for fulfilling the complete role that God designed the weaker vessel to play.  In Proverbs 31:28 after showing all the wonderful ways in which the virtuous wife serves her husband, his children and his home the Bible tells us the following:

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

Now that we have covered the first way men are commanded to honor their wives, we can now move on to the second way men are commanded to honor their wives.

“and as being heirs together of the grace of life”

Wives are to be accorded the honor that is due to fellow believers and husbands should never forget that their wives are not only their wives, but sisters in Christ. In Romans 12:10 we read the following of how we are to treat our brethren in Christ:

“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another”.

So, we see three things men are commanded to do toward their wives:

  1. Live with them in an intimate and sexual relationship according to knowledge.
  2. Honor them for the part in God’s master design that he has designed them to play as the weaker vessel.
  3. Honor them as fellow believers and sisters in Christ.

What knowledge do men need to have with their wives?

In 2 Peter 3:18 we read “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen”.  There is no doubt that first and foremost the goal of every Christian should be to grow in the knowledge of Christ and then apply that knowledge to everything we do in this life including how we conduct our marriages.

But 1 Peter 3:7 does not say “dwell with them according to the knowledge of God” or “dwell with them according to the knowledge of Christ”.  It simply says dwell with them according to knowledge. And since the treatment of wives by their husbands is the subject Peter is addressing it strongly suggests that knowledge is indeed a husband’s knowledge of his wife.

And this idea of a man needing to know his wife on a spiritual level is seen in Ephesians 5:25-27:

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

How can a man wash his wife’s spiritual spots and wrinkles if he does not know his wife’s mind? Again, in Ephesians 5:28-29, we read the following of husbands toward their wives:

“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”

How can a man know his wife’s needs without knowing her mind? Without talking to her?

And finally, our greatest indicator of what “knowledge” husbands are supposed to have as they live with their wives is found in the warning given to husbands:

“that your prayers be not hindered”

In 1 Peter 5:7 the Bible tells us “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you”.  We are called to cast our cares, our concerns and our fears upon God because he cares for us.  Is that not a huge part of our prayers to God?

So as husbands if we want God to hear our cares and concerns why would we think we can do so while turning a deaf ear to our wife’s cares and concerns?

God Sometimes Will Not Hear Our Prayers and so Too Husbands Will Not Hear Their Wives

Now the principles I have just laid out from the Scriptures about men needing to hear their wife’s concerns in the same way that they want God to hear their concerns could certainly be abused.  In fact, it has been abused by the modern church today which has been infested with feminism.

If we remember that man images God in the life of his wife then we must also remember that God sometimes will not hear our prayers because of our sin.  In Isaiah 1:15, God says to his wife Israel, “And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood”.  Because Israel was in open sin against God, her husband, he hid himself from seeing her needs and he would not hear her requests.  In the same way, when a wife is acting in unrepentant sin against her husband, she cannot expect that he will hear her requests.

In James 4:3 we read “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts”.  So, when we ask God with wrong motives or ask with selfish ambition, he will not hear such requests and in the same way if a husband sees his wife asking for something with wrong motives or from a position of selfishness, he has every right to turn down such sinful requests.

Finally, in John 5:14 the Bible states “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us”.   Just as husband should know his wife’s mind, so too a wife should know her husband’s mind.  And a wife should never ask her husband for something she knows goes against his will on a matter just as we should never pray to God for something we know goes against his will especially as recorded in the Bible.

Conclusion

1 Peter 3:7 is written to husbands, not husbands and wives.  The prayers that will be hindered are not the prayers of both the husband and wife, but of the husband alone.  God tells men they must dwell with their wives according to knowledge, honor them in their station as the weaker vessel, and honor them as fellow believers and sisters in Christ.  If a husband fails to do these three things, God will not hear his prayers.

When we look at God’s command of husbands in Ephesians 5:25-27 to wash their wife’s spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word, we know that part of the knowledge Peter alludes to in 1 Peter 3:7 is of a man knowing his wife’s spiritual character.  He cannot wash what he does not know.

When we look at God’s command of husbands in Ephesians 5:28-29 for them to love and care for the needs of their wife’s body and protect her as they would their own body then we also know that part of the knowledge Peter alludes to in 1 Peter 3:7 is a man knowing his wife’s requests for her physical needs.

In 1 Peter 3:5-6, which directly proceeds the passage we have been studying, the Apostle Peter writes “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement”.   A woman, if she is following the example given to us by God of the women of old is to regard her husband as her lord.

The Greek word kurios translated as “lord” in 1 Peter 3:6 can also be translated as “master” as it is in Colossians 4:1 where the Bible states “Masters [Kurios], give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master [Kurios] in heaven”.  In many ways 1 Peter 3:7 repeats this same concept of Colossians 4:1 with husbands toward their wives.   We as husbands must remember that just as we are a master to our wives, we also have a master in heaven who watches how we treat her.

This does not mean that if a man’s wife is divorcing him or other bad things are happening that it automatically means he is not living with his wife according to knowledge or not honoring her as the weaker vessel and as a fellow sister in Christ.  We must remember that wife’s can and do act in evil ways against their husbands just as Israel acted in evil ways against her husband who was God.  In Isaiah 1:15 God hid his eyes from Israel and closed his ears to her prayers because she was in sinful rebellion against him.

No wife can expect to have her husband’s ear while she stands in rebellion against him.

Also, God makes it clear in John 5:14 that we don’t get everything we request from him, but only what is in accordance with his will.  And this is no different with a husband and wife situation.   A husband hearing his wife’s requests and granting them are two very different things.  And once a woman knows her husband’s mind on something, she ought not to continue asking for that same thing knowing it goes against his will.

The Scriptures warn us in Proverbs 4:27 “Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil”.  And on this matter of the treatment of wives, like most other moral subjects, there is a far left and a far right position that are both wrong and the Bible stands in the middle of the two.

On the one hand, a man knowing his wife’s spiritual mindset, her cares and her concerns is not the same as him having to run all family decisions through his wife first.  Nothing in the Scriptures gives this requirement of men.  Marriage is not a partnership, but rather a patriarchy.  When the Scriptures refer to a man dwelling with his wife according to knowledge, it is in regard to him knowing her personal spiritual and physical needs, not him getting her vote on family decisions.

On the other hand, A man knowing his wife’s spiritual condition, knowing her mind, knowing what her physical needs are, hearing her cares and concerns, honoring her station as the weaker vessel and honoring her as a fellow sister is not him putting his wife on a pedestal.  It is him obeying the Word of God.  And if he does not obey the Word of God on these matters God will not hear his prayers.  This is the express teaching of 1 Peter 3:7.

If You Love Your Wife, You Will Discipline Her

We are told in Ephesians 5:25 that husbands are to love their wives “even as Christ also loved the church” and in Revelation 3:19 Christ after rebuking his churches says “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”.  This shows us as Christian husbands that an indispensable part of us loving our wives as Christ loves his church is that we rebuke and discipline our wives.

A husband who will not rebuke or discipline his wife for sinful behavior is no better than a parent who will not rebuke and discipline their child for sinful behavior. 

And no, a husband disciplining his wife is not him treating his wife as a child, it is him treating his wife as a woman and women are under the authority of men in God’s order.   And no, God does not recognize the modern invention of the “adult” social class.  So, the notion we hear so often in churches that “he is an “adult” and responsible for himself before God and she is an “adult” and responsible for herself before God” is completely unbiblical.  The humanist invention of the “adult” social class is a perversion and attempt to give women the same rights, responsibilities and privileges as men, something God never did.

For more details on the how a husband can go about disciplining his wife in a way which follows Biblical principles for discipline see my article “7 Ways To Discipline Your Wife“.

Husbands If You Don’t Hear Your Wife, God Won’t Hear You

Christian husbands, God says you must know your wife, and not just in the sexual sense of the word.  You are also called to know her on a spiritual and emotional level.  This does not mean you have to become an emotional being like a woman, or “get more in touch with your feelings”.  It simply means talking to your wife and listening to her fears, her concerns and her requests in the same way you want God to listen to your fears, concerns and requests when you bring them to him.

Does listening to your wife mean you will always do what she wants? Of course not.   God listens to our prayers but he does not always grant our requests or do things in the way we would like him to do them.  Sometimes God corrects us and shows us later that what we were asking for was not right.  And sometimes after a husband listens to his wife, he may need to correct her thinking, just as God corrects our thinking through the Holy Spirit and through his Word.

And finally, husbands, remember that if you will not hear your wife’s fears, concerns and requests God will not hear yours.  So, if you sense that you are being shut out by God, perhaps you are doing the same thing to your wife.