I Peter 3:7 states - "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." Husbands, it should be your joy to dwell with your wife with understanding. In other words, you need to understand what makes your wife tick--and what ticks her off (and then pursue the former and avoid the latter!). You need to know your wife's preferences, desires, and needs (both physically and emotionally) and then show honor to your wife by attending to those matters to the best of your ability.
Husbands, ask yourself: What do you owe your wife? Ultimately, you owe her the best relationship you can give her! But, how is that accomplished? Here are some important keys I'd like to share with you:
1. A HUSBAND MUST CLING TO HIS WIFE.
Genesis 2:24 - "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." A good husband will give his wife a cleaving relationship--he will cling to her. For her peace of mind, she needs to know that he will not forsake her. After leaving father and mother, husband and wife should continually grow closer (i.e., become one flesh) and be strongly knit as one. Becoming one flesh is so much more than sexual union. It's about being together and experiencing life with your mate, who is also your best friend. It's about discovering children together and nurturing them. It's about worshiping God together. It's about acts of kindness shared and tender words of encouragement exchanged. Becoming one flesh is about two lives melting together. Even after years of communication across the room, across the table, and across the pillow, the bond can (and should) continue to grow stronger. The idea of being one flesh with someone is intended exclusively for the marriage relationship. It's special and should be treated that way. Men, your wife is a part of you! She needs to know she can count on you to be there for her (especially when times get tough). Cling to her and no one else!
2. A HUSBAND MUST VIEW HIS MARRIAGE AS A GOOD THING.
Do you view your wife as a blessing or a burden? Proverbs 18:22 teaches - "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD." According to Matthew 19:6, God does the joining together in the marriage relationship. Hebrews 13:4 states - "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." Marriage is designed by God. A husband will never give his wife the relationship she deserves if he convinces himself that she is more of a hindrance than a help.
Men, do you really need a wife? Those who desire to qualify to be elders or deacons certainly do (cf. I Tim. 3), but surely there is a need for a wife beyond that--right? Absolutely! Although I have no way to prove this, it is my belief that most men will not achieve their fullest potential without a good wife behind them (which is one reason why I think God requires the leadership roles in the church to be married). A man who views his wife as a blessing and is uncompromisingly devoted to her is on the right track for success. Most men do need a wife in order to avoid sexual immorality. Additionally, without a wife, a righteous man will miss out on one of the truly rewarding challenges of life--fatherhood. Husbands, if you don't already, start viewing your wife as a gift from the Lord! She is a good thing for you and will help you be your best! To view her in any other light will harm your marriage. To look down on her is to despise the favor of Almighty God!
We will share some more thoughts on this theme in our next lesson.