Mother’s Day and a Word to Husbands…
Being Mother’s Day this Sunday (May 9), let me highlight little-known or oft-forgotten words to men in their relationship with women. It’s most important that we keep before us biblical principles in our relationships. In setting out features of the marriage relationship in 1 Peter chapter 3, Peter has some challenging words for believing husbands in verse 7: … In the same way be considerate as you live with your wives…, he says. To first century ears these words were revolutionary. The idea that men should be considerate towards their wives was totally new. Despite liberation movements amongst first century Roman women, the reality was that they were still treated as second class citizens. Be considerate. We can only begin to imagine the relief and joy of women as they read Peter’s exhoration here. No more would they be exploited. No more would they be chattels to be used and abused. And with the almost daily news items of the abuse of women, we see the timeless relevance of Peter’s words to men. For today there is many a wife who fears her husband – his selfishness, his control, his unfaithfulness. Many wives live in marital uncertainty and loneliness. Show respect or honor, captures the meaning of considerate. ‘Get to know the woman you live with’, is another way this could be translated. Yet in far too many relationships this is ignored. A counselor often hears a woman say, ‘I don’t feel my husband cares about me. He doesn’t understand me. I’m a stranger to him. He doesn’t listen’. ‘He’s always running me down,’ is another comment. ‘Whatever I do, he’s sarcastic or critical. He loves to make me feel a failure,’ is yet another. Too often men don’t understand their life-partner because they haven’t bothered to take the time. A supreme example of this disinterest is Henry Higgins’ line in My Fair Lady: “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” Peter’s further words, live with, imply being aware of and sensitive to his wife’s sexual needs. It also refers to the issue of self-esteem: Treat them with respect, he says. One of the persistent causes of marriage breakdown is low self-esteem on the part of either a husband or a wife. Women often need the security of being cared for and appreciated. Men, we need to be considerate of our wife’s feelings. We need to tell her how wonderful she is and what a privilege it is to enjoy the closest of all human relationships with her. We need to say this often. We need to say it when our children and others will hear. And don’t forget regular expressions of love that please her; it might be chocolate, flowers and the unexpected date. Why should we do all this? Peter tells us why: Honor. Paying honor to the woman as the weaker sex,.. Nowhere in the Bible does it state that a woman is spiritually, morally or intellectually weaker than a man. Yes, a woman is physically different – it is right to separate men’s and women’s sporting competitions. The strength Peter has in mind is the implied reference to a woman becoming a victim of male exploitation. Men must be considerate and show respect. Far from taking advantage of a woman in the closest of all human relationships, husbands are to recognize their honor-bound responsibility under God. With his words to men here, Peter is introducing a virtue that the ancient world knew nothing about – chivalry. Nobody had thought about this before. In Christian ethics a humble state of mind is required of everybody: the king as well as the slave, the parent as well as the child, the husband as well as the wife. In the same way. Peter tells us in chapter 2 verse 24, Christ Jesus, although Lord of the universe, humbled himself and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Equality: Since they too are also heirs of the gracious gift of life— Equality is a fundamental biblical principle – across the sexes, across nations and races. And here Peter is not just saying that we are equal as created beings, but now as redeemed beings. We share together all the benefits of God’s promise. A woman is not any less worthy, nor does she have any less status. Both men and women are dependent upon God’s grace – even for life itself. We are equally entitled to all the benefits of heaven. Men must treat their wives as fellow-heirs. Prayer: So that nothing may hinder your prayers. How can our prayers be hindered? The Bible is quite clear that God does not hear our prayers when relationships with people around us are not right. Matthew 6 records Jesus’ comment about our need to forgive others if we expect God to forgive us. The effectiveness of our prayer life depends to a certain extent on the quality of our relationships. In the same way God doesn’t listen to the prayers of a selfish, inconsiderate husband. Men, honor and respect your wife – and not just on Mother’s Day. Under God, serve her: she is an equal beneficiary with you of all God’s promises. Pray for the Lord’s forgiveness, for none of us is perfect. May the Lord equip you to be the loving, selfless husband in your wife’s life. The post ‘Mother’s Day and a Word to Husbands…’ appeared first on The Anglican Connection.