Last night I was speaking to my wife about certain things concerning the Law of God and how we are to interact with society. I was trying to explain something but then it happened. I said something to my wife that turned her (immediately) off only to become angry with me. I reflected on what I said and I shouldn’t have said it to begin with. I went to bed a little earlier last night to reflect on the conversation.
You know those moments when you realize that you wish you could take back what was said? Yeah, that was me last night. There are a few things that I (and other husbands) need to keep in mind when speaking to our wives. They are to be treated differently because they are your other half. Luther used to frequently refer to his wife as “my rib”. There is a sense of intimacy, softness, and closeness in this remark.
How to Live With Your Wife
A few things we should consider are penned by Peter. Here is what he writes:
You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
When we look at this passage alone, we can already learn a few things. He doesn’t just ask us to be nice or love our wives (which are all good things to do!), but he gives us a more detailed understanding of how we are to view our wives.
Right from the start he tells us to “live with your wives in an understanding way”. This is huge! If you have been married for even a few days you can notice significant changes. Probably the first thing you will notice is that you cannot live the way you used to live. As a bachelor you might have left everything messy in your bedroom, or the whole apartment (house, etc). Well, if you try this today (for the most part) eventually your wife will get on you to pick up after yourself (and rightfully so). Also, you might notice that it is not your time anymore but our time. Understand that you have your wife living with you. You must sacrifice your time for her. Instead of watching a movie or playing video games by yourself, do those things with her. This sounds very simple but it might be harder than you think. However, I think the main point Peter is getting to revolves around the idea of knowing and understanding how to live with your wife in a gentle, softer, and knowledgeable way. Let your wife know you care for her and be gracious to her in all aspects of life.
Peter continues to say “as with someone weaker, since she is a woman”. This might be hard for some to hear at first because there might be negative reaction. However, Peter is only referring to the beautiful way in which God created woman. As we know, God created woman from man as a helper to him. We know that God has created them equal as image bearers but uniquely different in roles. We know this from nature as well. When you live with a woman, you know that they have more emotional needs then men do. They are more sensitive to how they are spoken to, treated, etc. We have to realize this in order to live in an “understanding way”.
Finally, we must also understand that they are to be treated as equals in Christ. Peter tells us that we are to “show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life”. We cannot simply look at our wives as just a helper or someone who we should love emotionally and physically. We are to love them in Christ. We are to give them the same honor as anyone else who names the name of Christ. Do not forget that they too are our sisters. Christ bought them with His own blood. Peter also tells us that we should do these things so that our “prayers will not be hindered”. There is probably a bigger idea here, but I want to think of the most immediate practical application to this phrase. Have you ever been so upset at someone that you cannot think about anything else? Or have you ever felt so sad or disconnected that you cannot think about anything else? I believe this is something Peter had in mind. When you say something wrong (like I did) in an insensitive way to your wife (like I did) you will get an automatic response and disconnect from your wife. This could hinder your prayers. This could hinder what you should be praying for as well.
Keep in mind what you ought to be doing, saying, and how you should act around your wife. Be true and honest but with gentleness. Live in an understanding way so that you may be at peace with your wife and your prayers will not be hindered.