Summary: A Biblical look at building a marriage that lasts.
A wedding is one thing; a marriage is another. When we think about weddings; images of soft music, rows of candles, beautiful attire and cake smashed all over the face of two newlyweds. However, every married couple realizes that the excitement of the wedding day cannot sustain a lifetime together. The honeymoon generally has a very short life span. After which the smooth ride becomes rough as the road of life becomes filled with potholes. Soon newlyweds discover that a marriage license is really just a learner’s permit and soon many scream is there life after marriage? Author Joe Aldrich puts it this way, “the essential difficulties of life do not end, but rather begin with marriage.” This all seems to be painting a pretty bleak portrait, doesn’t it? Fortunately, a letter written by Peter who was not only one of Jesus’ disciples; but a married man as well. As we read the words of this letter we discover new hope for the age-old struggle between two sinful people trying to coexist under the same roof. Earlier in his letter we learned about submission. We discovered that believers, as loyal citizens, should submit to governing authorities and that slaves should respond to their masters in a positive manner. We also took a brief look at the ultimate example of Christ’s submission. Now we were look at a true test of submission and love: relationships between husbands and wives.
I. Peter begins this chapter by offering some wise counsel to wives.
A. Peter’s new hope for marriages rested upon the example of Christ.
1. The Greek term meaning “in the same manner” or “likewise” connects the first six verses of chapter 3 with the passage that began in 2:13.
2. Just as Jesus submitted to His Father’s will, wives are called to willingly submit to their husbands in love.
3. Most wives would respond, “No problem Peter. I will willing submit, as long as my husband is attentive, takes out the trash, helps with the kids and helps with the house work.”
4. It is natural to have such a conditional response: “If my husband acts this way then I will honor, serve and love him faithfully.”
B. Peter’s directive is not just for the women who are married to the perfect man.
1. Peter implies that even the best of husbands are often insensitive, inattentive and yes even unpleasant to be around.
2. Peter addresses the wives of couch potatoes, slackers and the unsaved.
3. Today many wives feel trapped in marriages that have lost their spark.
4. Maybe the tenderness and kindness in your marriage has flown out the window.
5. Regardless of your situation Peter has a word of hope for you.
II. Peter offers three practical ways to find new hope for your marriage.
A. Peter prompts wives to carefully analyze their own actions.
1. Women who find themselves dealing on a daily basis with an unresponsive or even antagonistic husband may be tempted to respond by nagging, pouting or manipulating.
2. There are two major problems with such behavior.
a. Nagging wives assume a responsibility that is not theirs, trying to change their husbands.
b. She is spending her energies on the wrong person by focusing on her needs rather than the needs of her husband.
3. An obedient wife chooses to love her husband unconditionally and refuses to play the blame and shame game.
4. Ruth Graham the wife of Billy puts it this way, “It’s my job to love Billy. It’s God’s job to make him good.”
5. A wife’s loving unselfish actions penetrate deeper than any sharp rebuke.
6. Peter shows that the secret to changing a man’s heart is to let go and let God.
7. The quiet submission of a Godly wife will influence her husband more than any bitter badgering.
B. Peter exhorts wives to carefully examine their attitudes.
1. Before jumping to legalistic conclusions, realize the passage does not forbid a visit to the hair salon, the wearing of jewelry or the wearing of pants.
2. Peter is simply saying that woman should be recognized for strength of character.
3. Peter urges women to strive for eternal character that is precious in the sight of God.
4. The most important beauty is the inner beauty.
C. Peter urges wives to evaluate who receives their attention.
1. Peter undoubtedly reviewed in his mind the stories of holy women down through the centuries such as Ruth, Hannah and Esther. Women who their security in God rather than their husbands.
2. Peter shows that Sarah respected Abraham greatly even though he was far from perfect.
3. In this upside down world in which men want to be more like women and women more like men God reminds us that He made us vastly different.