For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
— 1 Peter 3:10,11
Do you want a good marriage? Do you want to live a long and happy life with your spouse? If your answer is “Yes, that’s exactly what I want,” you need to pay close attention to the words of Peter recorded in First Peter 3:10,11. It says, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”
Peter tells us that if a spouse wants to experience a full life and see good days together with his or her mate, that spouse must learn to “…refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” The word “refrain” is the word pauo, which means to pause. It means to take a break; to take a rest; or to cease from what one is doing. The word “evil” is the Greek word kakos, the word for something that is evil, vile, foul, or destructive. In this context, it implies ugly words that, when spoken, bring destruction and harm.
Can you think of a time when you got so angry that you exploded and spewed destructive words? Were you sorry later that you said those words? That is what Peter is talking about here. He is basically saying, “If you want to have a long and happy life together, you have to learn how to refrain from saying ugly, hurtful, and destructive things to each other. It’s time for you to cease from this behavior!”
Then Peter urges husbands and wives to make sure their lips “speak no guile.” The word “guile” is the word dolos, an old Greek word that carries the idea of trickery and manipulation.
Manipulation and dishonesty are destructive to a marital relationship. When a husband and wife manipulate, deceive, or lie to each other, they create an atmosphere of distrust that disrupts their ability to maintain a peaceful, harmonious home. Talk to any marital counselor, and he or she will tell you that deception and manipulation in a marriage is very destructive to the trust that is required to keep the marriage relationship strong. That’s why Peter urges spouses to stay out of the deception and manipulation business!
So if you want to have a good life and a happy marriage, you must learn to take a lifelong break from speaking evil. You must also determine in your heart that you will no longer play the manipulation game with your spouse! Peter says that instead of taking that wrong route, you must “eschew evil.”
The word “eschew” is the Greek word ekklino, from the word ek and klino. The word ek means out, and the word klino means to turn. When they are used as one word, it means to turn aside or to intentionally turn away from something.
This means that instead of following the volatile and destructive patterns that have been a part of the marriage for so long, a spouse who wants to change must determine to put aside these negative practices. There must be an intentional turning away from every destructive behavior pattern and an intentional turning toward those actions that build trust and make a relationship strong and healthy. This is why Peter goes on to say that spouses must “do good.”
The word “do” is the word poieo, the Greek word that means to do something. But as noted earlier (see January 15), the word poieo also carries with it the idea of creativity. In other words, if we can’t easily think of a way to do good to our spouses, we need to get creative and put some effort into thinking of ways to bless and to be a blessing to them!
The word “good” is the word agathos, a word that suggests actions that are good, profitable, beneficial, and virtuous. So if you want your marriage to be blessed, strong, long-lasting, and healthy, you must deliberately look for ways to be a blessing. Find ways to become a benefit to your spouse!
Peter tells husbands and wives to “seek peace” instead of constantly getting into conflicts with each other. The word “seek” is the Greek word zelos. It describes a fierce determination to have something or to become something. The Greek tense Peter uses when he writes the word zelos implies a constant and arduous seeking to obtain something, not just an occasional attempt. This person is straining forward with all his might. He is committed; he has a never-give-up attitude; and he will not stop until he finally obtains that which he deeply desires!
What is the treasure that Peter tells spouses to seek after? Peace! Anyone who has been successfully married for a long period of time will tell you that “peace” in a marriage doesn’t happen accidentally. If a husband and wife are able to live together in peace and harmony, they have achieved that goal through hard work, patience, understanding, and a never-give-up desire to have peace in their relationship.
Many events and misunderstandings can occur to disrupt peace in a relationship, so your desire for marital peace must be stronger than any of these other forces. If you’re not totally fixed on having peace with your spouse, the devil will find a way to constantly get in between the two of you.
Peter says that if you’re going to have this kind of peace between you and your spouse, you must “ensue” it. The word “ensue” is the Greek word dioko, an old Greek word that means to hunt, to chase, or to pursue. It was a hunting term used to illustrate a hunter who is so committed to getting his trophy that he goes out into the forest and begins to literally stalk that animal. He follows the tracks and the scent of the animal; he watches, waits, and strategizes. And because of the hunter’s careful planning and determined following of that animal, eventually he gets his game!
Isn’t it interesting that Peter would use this word to tell us how we should seek after peace? This means peace won’t come to us by accident. If we are going to have peace in our relationships — especially our marital relationship — we must put on our hunting clothes and develop a plan for peace! If necessary, we must be willing to stalk peace — following its tracks and its scent and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, strategizing on how to finally obtain peace in our marriage relationship!
Remember, we live in a day when marriages are quickly made and quickly dissolved. Therefore, if you see a healthy marriage that has lasted through many years, realize that this couple has worked very hard to have such a good relationship.
I urge you to take Peter’s words deep into your heart. Determine to do everything you can to make your marriage strong and healthy. It’s going to take hard work and commitment to make it happen. But if you want to experience a happy, fulfilling life with your spouse, every bit of that hard work will be well worth it in the long run!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, help me to become more committed to my marriage. Forgive me for being a contributor to strife and conflict, and teach me how to refrain my tongue from speaking evil so I can bring benefit and blessing to my spouse. Open my heart and my eyes, Lord. Show me things I can do to encourage my mate. No one has more influence in my spouse’s life than I do, so I am asking You to help me to be the right kind of influence he (or she) needs!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I am a great encouragement to my spouse! I work hard on my marriage. I find ways to be a blessing. The Spirit of God is showing me the steps I need to take to obtain peace with my spouse. I am not a source of conflict, and I refuse to let the devil use me any longer. From this day forward, the enemy will not use my lips as his entryway into my marriage. I will do everything needed to make my marriage strong and healthy, just the way Jesus wants it to be!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Can you think of a time when you got so angry at your spouse that you said a lot of ugly, destructive words to him or her? How did your poisonous words affect the outcome of that particular conflict? Did you ever allow God’s peace to resolve that situation by humbly asking your spouse for forgiveness?
2. What can you do to make sure you don’t make the same mistake the next time you are dealing with an emotionally charged situation in your marriage?
3. Can you think of some good things you can do to bless your spouse in the days ahead as you seek to establish God’s peace as the abiding force in your marriage? Get creative!