Summary: Third in a five part series from 1 Peter that addresses how to find hope for our lives.
In a September 2004 survey, the Barna Group found the following results:
• Of those over 18 who have been married, 35% have been divorced
• 7% of all who have been married have been divorced multiple times
• Among born-again Christians the statistics are virtually identical, even when divorces that occurred before becoming a believer are eliminated
“Marriage begins with a prince kissing an angel and ends with a bald-headed man looking across the table at a fat lady”
- Old Arab proverb
“By all means marry. If you get a good wife, twice blessed you will be. If you get a bad wife, you’ll become a philosopher.”
Read 1 Peter 3:1-7
“A good marriage isn’t so much finding the right partner as it is being the right partner.”
- Chuck Swindoll
As a wife, I bring hope to my home when…
1. Submission surpasses selfishness
Submit = to subject oneself for the purpose of obeying or pleasing another
In the Bible, submission does not mean that one party being inferior to another, it just means that God has established a “chain of command”, he has given each party certain responsibilities in the relationship.
Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
1 Corinthians 11:3 (NIV)
Jesus is not inferior to God the Father; he just has a different role. The same thing is true in a marriage. The wife is not inferior to the husband. She just has a different role.
There were two lines of husbands in heaven, one for the dominant husbands and one for the passive, submissive husbands. The submissive husband line extended almost out of sight. There was one man in the dominant husband line. He was small, timid, appeared anything but a dominant husband. When the angel inquired as to why he was in this line, he said, "My wife told me to stand here."
Peter begins this section with the words “in the same way”, which points back to the last part of chapter 2 where he describes how Jesus submitted himself to the pain and humiliation of the cross for the sake of others.
We accompanied our son and his fiancé when they met with her priest to sign some pre-wedding ceremony papers. While filling out the form, our son read aloud a few questions. When he got to the last one, which read: "Are you entering this marriage at your own will?" he looked over at his fiancé. "Put down ’Yes,’" she said.
Peter isn’t the only one who writes about the need for a wife to submit to her husband. Paul describes the very same principle several times in his letters:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Ephesians 5:22-24 (NIV)
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Colossians 3:18 (NIV)
Peter and Paul are both actually elevating the status of women in marriage. In the culture of the 1st century, wives were considered to be merely property rather than equal partners with their husbands in marriage. But in order for there to be hope in a marriage the wife must be willing to put aside her own selfish desires and willingly subject herself to the needs of her husband. As we’ll see in a few minutes, that is not all that different than what her husband is to do also.
2. Behavior beats badgering
Peter writes to women whose husbands were note believers. This was a very common problem in the early church. If a man became a Christian, his wife would almost always follow and become a believer, too. But if the wife became a Christian, it wasn’t all that common for the husband to follow her decision. From my own personal observations, that still seems to be the case today. Even here at TFC, I know we have several of you women who have husbands who are not believers, but I’m not aware of any men whose wives are not believers. That’s probably why Peter writes six verses to the women and only one verse to the men in this passage. Or maybe, he just figured the men could only work on one thing at a time.
Peter makes it really clear in this passage that the way to win an unbelieving husband to the Lord is not by nagging or badgering. Instead, the wife’s behavior is to be such that when here husband observes it (the Greek word here means to look very carefully at something) he will have a desire to see what it is that causes his wife to behave in that way.