Jump Start # 2983
Jump Start # 2983
1 Peter 3:7 “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow-heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
Yesterday in our Jump Start we pointed out that man is different from animals. His position, his creation, his role—totally defined by God and separate from the animal kingdom. Today, we go another step and talk about the differences between men and women. Society wants us to believe that anything a man can do, a woman can do, and vise versa. So engraved is this thought in our culture that a person can switch genders back and forth as he pleases. Men and women are not the same. We are not the same biologically. We are not wired the same. We do not have the same roles and functions. That is not saying one is greater, better, more superior or more intelligent than the other. They have different roles given to them by God.
Our verse today is directed to husbands. Treat your wife correctly and carefully. Honor her. The way you treat her impacts and affects your relationship with God. Your very prayers can be hindered because you did not live with your wife in an understanding way.
That little expression, ‘understanding way,’ says so much. One husband bemoaned, ‘the only thing I understand about my wife is that I don’t understand her.’ But on a much higher level, isn’t this what fellowship involves- Understanding each other. Isn’t this where true shepherding begins, understanding the flock. It’s a problem of the ages. Teens cry that their parents don’t understand them. The divorced cries that no one understands what they have been through. The person who lost a child, says, ‘no one understands what that is like.’ No one understands preachers, except fellow preachers. The list can go on and on. Does anyone understand?
Here are some thoughts:
First, we can make the mistake that everyone else sees and feels about things like I do. That’s a major mistake husbands make. The wife wants to watch a movie. She’s thinking, Hallmark Christmas movies. He’s thinking something with a lot of bullets, crashes and bad guys. Let’s grab a bite to eat, she says. She’s thinking a nice tea room, something with atmosphere and healthy food. He’s thinking burger and fries. A big mistake is thinking that everyone else sees things the way I do. Most don’t. You can pout about it. You can have an argument over it. Or, you can begin to understand each other.
Second, understanding comes from communication. We can’t read each other’s minds. “I know what you’re thinking,” is actually a guess, a shot in the dark. The more we talk, the more we understand each other. The more we are guarded and give safe answers, the less that other person will really know us. We’ve painted a picture for them to see, but it’s not true. Sometimes honest conversations hurt. One can be kind about it, but being truthful is just that, being truthful. If you say you like something when you don’t, then that leaves the wrong idea. Communication is the key. Now, the less we talk, the less we understand one another.
Third, what works for one often doesn’t work for the other. Long, hot baths just don’t fit in my timetable. Too much to do. Quick shower and hit the road is my way of thinking. I’m up early and go to bed late. If there was a way to bypass sleeping, I’d be for that. Now, my wife isn’t like that. She doesn’t go by the “five second rule” when something falls on the floor. I do, especially if it’s chocolate. Just blow on it and pop it in the mouth. She keeps her car cleaner than I do. What works for her is different than what works for me. The same goes spiritually for a couple. Some like long conversations about verses. Some like to read chapters and chapters of the Bible at the same time. Some like long prayers. Some like to get to worship early and stay late. Others are walking in as things are starting. What works for one is different than the other.
Fourth, trying to change one to the other is possible in some ways but not in all ways. I’ve learned to like classical music because of my wife. We’ve been to zillions of concerts. I can recognize who composed some pieces by the style of the music. In that way, she has changed me and introduced things to me. My wife will go to baseball games with me. Like me at a classical concert, she at a baseball game may ask me several questions about why this and why that. But couples butt heads when one doesn’t become completely like the other. A total makeover is really impossible and not the best. Individual tastes brings perspective and insight that only enriches one and but it helps one polish the rough edges. We need that. We don’t need every church member to be like me. We need other insights, experiences and observations that will help all of us to open our eyes to what is around us.
Now, these same points work in parenting. They also work in shepherding. Live in an understanding way. That’s the goal. That’s what needs to be done. That takes time and effort. It also takes the desire and heart to want to understand. When that is lacking, the problem is deeper than understanding. It’s now a matter of indifference and even neglect.
Live in such a way…that also implies do not live in the other way.