Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life…. — 1 Peter 3:7
Husband, absolutely no one in your life is more precious or important to you than your wife. One day when you are older and your children have started their own families and have moved to another city or state, or when your friends become elderly and pass away, your wife is the one who will still be right at your side. She started with you; she stayed with you; she will be with you through many years yet to come. And at the end of your life, she is the one who will still be right there at your side. Of all the relationships you have in this life, none compare in importance to your relationship with your wife.
This is exactly why the apostle Peter wrote to husbands in First Peter 3:7, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life….”
Peter had been married many years when he wrote this verse. He had a godly marriage that was an example to the Early Church. So when Peter spoke about marriage, he had a platform from which to speak. He had done well as a husband. Peter knew what God expects from husbands and therefore spoke strongly to husbands regarding how they should treat their wives.
In First Peter 3:7, Peter commanded husbands to “give honor” to their wives. What does this mean? The Greek word for “give” is aponemo. This word means to assign, to designate, to allocate, or to intentionally give something to someone. It refers to a calculated decision to show attention, awareness, or consideration to someone else. In this case, it refers to a man purposefully showing attention to and consideration for his wife. Because Peter uses the Greek word aponemo (“giving”), this strongly suggests that the husband’s attention, awareness, and consideration don’t occur accidentally. Rather, this word pictures a purposeful and premeditated action by a husband to intentionally demonstrate consideration for his wife.
The word “honour” is from the Greek word timao, a word that carries the idea of something so valuable that it is held as precious, prized, cherished, treasured, valuable, and very dear. Peter uses the word in this verse to speak of a husband who values his wife highly; holds her in honor; treats her graciously; esteems her; handles her respectfully; and treats her like a prized treasure that is very precious to him.
As Peter continues exhorting husbands to treat their wives with special care, he makes one statement that unfortunately is often misunderstood. He tells husbands that they are to give honor unto the wife as unto the “weaker vessel.”
The word “weaker” does not mean inferior or substandard. This is the Greek word asthenes, which actually carries the idea of something that is fragile and of great value, like a priceless, beautiful, hand-painted porcelain vase that must be treated with supreme care. Furthermore, the word “vessel” is from the Greek skeuos, which presents the idea of a vase or treasure so rare and valuable that it should be treasured, cherished, highly prized, and handled with special care.
Unfortunately, many men treat their wives like a bucket that is to be thrown under the kitchen sink or used in the barn to milk the cows! They don’t comprehend that their relationship with their wife is the most precious relationship that exists in their lives.
Because a wife is so vital to the life of the husband, he should treat her like she is important. She is to be given a place of high honor in his life, as if she were a fragile and priceless vessel. She deserves a place of distinction and should know without a doubt that her husband views her as precious, valuable, and special in his life.
Husband, I want to give you some practical suggestions for expressing appreciation to your wife. These ten suggestions may sound very simple, but they are the kinds of actions that communicate to your wife how valuable she is to you. As you look at these ten suggestions, you will see that they are small, almost effortless acts of kindness; nevertheless, your wife will deeply appreciate them.
Certainly these acts of love and consideration are the least you can do for a wife whom you expect to faithfully follow you through life! Therefore, pay close attention to the following ten easy-to-follow suggestions:
1. When you and your wife approach a door, open the door for her and let her go through the door first. If you step through the door first and then let the door slam in your wife’s face as she follows behind you, you give her the impression that she is of little value to you. So quit thinking only of yourself, and be a gentleman! Hold the door open for your wife!
2. When your wife walks up or down the stairs or when she gets in or out of the car, show enough consideration for her to reach out and take her by the hand and help her. This little tender touch communicates that you want to treat her with care. It makes her feel very special.
3. Instead of spending all the extra money on yourself, on your fishing trip, or on your personal pleasures, why not sacrifice a few of your own desires and give her that extra money to go do something for herself? When you give her a check or cash and tell her to go buy something for herself, it will probably shock her! But as she realizes that you are making a sacrifice of your own desires to bless her, it will send a gigantic signal that you love her and want to bless her.
4. Tell your wife often how beautiful she is to you. This makes her feel cherished. She works hard to be beautiful for you, and it is only right that you acknowledge it when she looks pretty.
5. Speak honorably of your wife in front of your children. If you treat her with honor, your children will treat her with honor as well. If you have sons, you are also providing a good example to them of the way they should honor their own future wives.
6. Take your wife to dinner and let her talk, talk, and talk. The one thing she wants more than anything else is time with you. When you give her time that is completely undistracted, it lets her know that you want to be with her. By the way, in those special times set aside for your wife, it would be a good idea to leave the mobile phone at home!
7. When you are at work, remember to pick up the telephone to call her during the day, just to let her know you are thinking about her. It doesn’t take long for you to make a quick phone call, but that moment of consideration means a lot to your wife because it communicates to her how much you value her. If you tend to be forgetful about calling your wife during your busy workday, write a note to remind yourself.
8. Make time in your schedule to be only with your wife. This communicates that she is a high priority in your life. If you always have time to be with everyone else but never have time with her, you are sending her the message that she is the lowest priority in your life. Put yourself in her place, and you’ll realize that if she had time for everyone but you, it would probably make you feel pretty insignificant as well. So make time for your wife, and she will feel valued by you.
9. Men don’t like to write notes, but women love to receive them. So take a few minutes every so often to write a little note or card and leave it for your wife to find. How much time and effort does it take for you to pick up an ink pen and a piece of paper and write two or three sentences of appreciation to your wife? It’s a small investment of time and creativity that speaks volumes to your wife about your love for her.
10. Always remember special dates, such as your wife’s birthday or your wedding anniversary. Men tend to forget these things, but these are special memories to a wife and it means so much to her when these times are celebrated with her husband. Also, don’t forget to buy her a gift for these occasions. After all, wouldn’t you be shocked and disappointed if she forgot your birthday?
Now let me take this one step further and suggest ten things a husband should never do to his wife! If you do any of these ten things, you are sending a wrong signal to your wife, for none of these actions will make her feel cherished and treasured by you. In fact, they will have the opposite effect!
Husband, listen carefully:
1. Never put your wife down in front of others. She didn’t marry you to be the brunt of your jokes. Even if she smiles and laughs, trying to shrug off your verbal jabs, this kind of behavior on your part is deeply hurtful to your wife. She needs your honor, not your sarcasm. If there is a conflict between you, wait until you get home where you can talk about it privately, but never make fun of her or put her down in front of others. You certainly wouldn’t want her to do this to you!
2. Never point out your wife’s weaknesses to others. Husbands often do this, not realizing how disrespectful they are being to their wives. Talking in public about your wife’s weaknesses will embarrass her. And I must ask you again, do you want her to point out all your flaws in front of other people? You would prefer that she speak to you privately about such matters, so show her the same courtesy.
3. Never tell your wife there isn’t enough money in the budget for her to buy a new outfit — and then turn right around and spend a lot of money on yourself, your fishing trip, your hobbies, etc. When she sees you do this, it communicates to her that you love yourself more than you love her. Do you want your wife to perceive you as a selfish person who is more in love with yourself than concerned about blessing her?
4. Never tell your wife that you don’t have time for her. Even if your schedule is packed, look for time to be with her. She married you because she loves you and wants to be with you. When you consistently make time for everyone in your life except your wife, you are making a very big mistake. If needed, cancel something in your schedule so you can give attention to this most important relationship in your life.
5. Never walk in front of your wife. Husbands are notorious for walking in front of their wives, and wives detest it. Too often men act as if they are racing when they walk, usually leaving their wives to walk five to fifteen feet behind them. Now, I understand that you may think your wife walks too slowly, but what is the use of racing in front of her if you must then stop, turn around, and wait for her to catch up with you? It takes the same amount of time to get to your destination, whether you walk alongside your wife or you walk ahead and then wait for her. So take your wife’s hand, and discipline yourself to walk by her side. You’ll shock her by doing this!
6. Never compare your wife to another woman. She wants to be the one and only woman in your life, so comparing her to other women is not wise and shows great disrespect. Do you want her to compare you to other men? I don’t think so.
7. Never make sexual innuendoes about your wife in front of others. This is not only disrespectful; it is deeply offensive to a wife. Your sexual relationship is a time of intimacy that is to be shared only between the two of you. Therefore, when you make jokes about it or talk about it in front of others, you are humiliating your wife and making her feel cheap. This is certainly not a way to cherish her or to treat her like a treasure!
8. Never lie to your wife or tell a half-truth to cover your tracks. Honesty must be the foundation of your relationship. If you violate her trust by lying to her and she discovers it, your act of deception will affect her ability to trust you in the future. Therefore, if you really love your wife, always level with her and be honest. It may be difficult for her to hear what you have to say, but at least she will know you are being honest with her. If she discovers you have been lying to her, this will result in a far greater hurt than if you honestly admit to her what you have done wrong.
9. Never dishonor your wife in front of your children. She is their mother, and they need to be taught to respect and honor her. If you treat her like a joke in front of the kids, they will treat her the same way. Dishonoring her and arguing with her before the children discredits her in their eyes. Do you want her to scold you or rebuke you in front of your children? Wouldn’t you prefer that she express her disagreements with you in private? Then show her the same consideration that you want her to show you.
10. Never forget your wife’s birthday or your wedding anniversary! Excuse me for repeating this point, but it’s important. Men who consistently forget these two important dates and yet expect their marriage relationship to stay healthy are either ignorant or stupid. These are special dates in your wife’s mind. Remembering her birthday tells her that you are thinking of her. Remembering your wedding anniversary tells her that you deeply care about your relationship with her.
Remember, Peter commands husbands in First Peter 3:7 to “give honor” to their wives. As noted earlier, the word “give” describes a calculated decision to show attention, awareness, or consideration to someone else. This pictures a purposeful and premeditated action by a husband to intentionally show attention and demonstrate consideration for his wife.
If these kinds of thoughtful acts don’t come naturally to you, it’s time for you to learn how to do them. Quit saying, “I just don’t think that way,” and learn to think that way! The truth is that you show kindness and consideration to other people, so you can do the same for your wife as well. Peter tells you what your responsibility is as a husband: “…giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel….” If you intend to be an obedient son of God, you have no choice but to learn how to develop these skills in your life, because God commands that you show this kind of consideration to your wife.
If you sincerely want to please the Lord and to be a blessing to your wife, why don’t you go before the Lord today and ask Him to forgive you for being insensitive to her needs? After you talk to the Lord, it is also important that you humble yourself and ask your wife to forgive you as well. Then follow up your repentance with actions. Let the Holy Spirit teach you, correct you, and show you how to become more sensitive to the woman you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. Never forget — there is no relationship in your life more important than the one you have with your wife!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I am asking You to please forgive me for being so selfish, self-centered, and neglectful of my wife and her needs. I expect her to faithfully serve me, but I have given her so little in return. I am truly sorry that I’ve ignored her and, as a result, hurt her. I accept responsibility for the role I have played in wounding her and making her feel unimportant. Please help me become more sensitive to my wife. Teach me to speak words that build her up, not words that put her down. As I follow Your leading in this area, please heal my wife’s heart and bring tenderness back into our relationship once more. I accept Your challenge to purposefully show the honor, attention, respect, and tenderness she deserves. Thank You for helping me change in this vital area of my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I am a loving and caring husband. My wife feels loved, respected, esteemed, and special because I do the things that communicate value to her. The Holy Spirit is helping me become more considerate, more tender, and more thoughtful. Every day I am dying to the flesh and becoming less selfish and self-centered. I am a godly example of what a husband ought to be, and my actions give a great sense of worth to the wife whom Jesus has given to me.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. When is the last time you did something really extra special for your wife to show her how much you love and care for her?
2. Have you been guilty of jesting about your wife in front of others or of putting her down in front of the children? Would you want her to do this to you?
3. Is it time for you to humble yourself and to ask your wife to forgive you for the times you have been insensitive and uncaring of her needs?