Jump Start # 2780
1 Peter 3:7 “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.”
Our passage today reminds us of what God expects within a marriage. Surprisingly, the Covid-pandemic has not brought a significant increase in divorces as the professionals expected. Still, much needs to be taught about having a marriage that honors the Lord and is a blessing to others. The core foundational value of marriage is not one’s personal happiness. For if it is, when that happiness goes, so goes the reason to remain married. The foundation of the marriage needs to be God and glorifying Him through that relationship.
I was running through some slides on a lesson I did on divorce from a while back. I’d forgotten how sad these numbers were:
- 41% of first marriages end in divorce
- 60% of second marriages end in divorce
- The average length of a marriage is 8 years
- 43% of children are being raised without a father
- 1 in 3 women who are divorced will lose their home
- The average legal fees for a divorce run between $20,000-$30,000
The Common English version begins our verse today, “Submit by living with your wife in ways that honor her…” That takes the emphasis off of self and puts it on the other person. Honor the other person. Make them feel loved, wanted and accepted. And, I believe that we all need reminders of this. Those of us that have been married for decades can get sloppy in our relationship and like little gnats buzzing around, we can irritate more than we honor.
So, what does it take to make a marriage last? It’s more than simply putting the years into it. Some do that with their jobs, but they hate it every step of the way. They long for the day of retirement so they can be through with that job. Marriage shouldn’t be seen that way. That’s not the way God designed it.
I heard one preacher trying to explain our passage. He said, “the one thing I understand about my wife is that I don’t understand her.” That got a chuckle from the audience, but it left the passage hanging without an explanation. The Holy Spirit said to live with your wife in an understanding way. Just what way is that?
Here are a few thoughts:
First, be thoughtful of her. Generally, most wives want the house to look nice. That’s often much higher on her list than on the man’s list. For men, generally, how we define things picked up and put away is not the way she would define them. Understand that! So, you are going to be doing things that you probably wouldn’t do if you were living on your own. And, since you don’t want to live on your own, you’ll go out of your way to do things that pleases her. You’ll pick up stuff and put things where they go. You are not living in a locker room, nor is the room where the TV is at, a stadium where you toss cups on the ground.
Being thoughtful is much more than just picking up the mess you made. It’s thinking about her. I have a picture of my wife on my desk. I look at it several times throughout the day. When I’m stuck and can’t find the right word, I find myself looking at her picture. That helps me be mindful and thoughtful. That will lead you to saying a prayer for her. You’ll pray that she is safe today. You’ll pray that her day goes well. You’ll pray for her goodness and kindness to be seen by others. You’ll thank the Lord for her.
Second, to honor her, you’ll let her have first choice. Where do you want to eat? She often says, “I don’t care,” but I know what she would not choose. I don’t suggest those places. I know the kind of food she likes, and the kind she does not like. Let her choose what movie to watch. She may not like bullets, car chases and bombs exploding, my type of movie. She may like a movie where the characters talk and they talk a lot. She may like movies about family and love. Honor her. Sit through those without sighing, complaining or making editorial comments about how poor the acting is, or how predicable the plot was. She likes it and you honor her by liking it. Let her choose. That honors her.
Third, by being a person of God. That’s one of the best ways you show that you love her. Be the person that God wants you to be. Be holy. Be a servant. Be kind. Be engaged in the kingdom. Be a leader. Be generous. You help your marriage when you step up and be the person that God wants you to be. Sprinkle grace, forgiveness, gentleness and kindness in your conversations, actions and attitudes. What a difference that makes in your marriage.
How do you stay married? Do what you did when you were dating. A couple has to want to be married more than they want to be divorced. Bumps, stress and trials happen in a marriage. But side by side, one in name and one in aim, two people can honor the Lord just as He intended.
Making marriage work—it is a work. But it happens every day, when a man and woman step up and have the heart that the Lord wants.