In Colossians husbands are exhorted to love their wives and not to be bitter against them. My first reaction is, of course I’ll love her. Doesn’t it even strike you as an action that you can’t help but do. Especially if you are engaged now or newly married. You may say I have spent my most enjoyable and memorable times with her. As you dated you discussed your lives, your beginnings, evaluated your families, your likes and dislikes. After many conversations concerning doctrine and spiritual issues the two of you decided which church to attend. And because of all the time together, you have grown deeply in love.
Enters the old man of sin. In any relationship no matter how strong or how spiritual, people have conflicts, some more – some less. So today as husbands and future husbands we are called to obey scripture’s teachings.
I 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; that your prayers be not hindered.”
What does it mean for a husband to dwell with his wife according to knowledge? A husband must know that he is the head of the home and with this God given position comes a tremendous amount of spiritual responsibility. He must lead his wife in God’s word. He must be a proper example. We husbands must dwell with them, making sure we are home. Today it is very easy to become too busy with outside interests whether it be work, school or outside recreation. Dwelling with her properly means being home is the rule not the exception.
According to knowledge, again know what scripture states of her noble position in God’s covenant. God is pleased to elevate her above the angels. Your wife is a help meet for you, created to be such even as Eve was for Adam. And if she becomes a mother, she has the unique calling of bearing covenant seed. God has been pleased to give the woman the blessing of bringing forth Christ in the past and today to bring forth the church militant until Christ returns.
Contrary to the opinion of the godless world she is not to be used as a sexual play thing or looked upon as a dumb nagging woman. She is not a partner, on the end of your arm, who makes you look good.
Honor her as a spiritual sister in Christ. Love her and cherish her with the knowledge of God in your heart. Hold her in high esteem. Discuss with her the difficulty of struggling with sin in her life.
Remember her in prayer. Encourage her in her calling and daily labors. Forgive her of her sins and ask forgiveness of yours. This may sound easy, but when there is sin between the two of you only the grace of God will allow you to forgive one another. Pray for it. Consider yourself, know your iniquities. We husbands must be longsuffering as Christ is of His Bride, the church. Even as Christ has forgiven us as husbands time and again, forgive her for Christ’s sake.
She is the weaker vessel, not inferior, second rate or in any way a lesser person. She is more fragile, delicate like a flower. It pleased God to create her thus and man as the picture of strength. God has created her emotionally more tender. Husbands must know that their wives can’t handle stress as they do, don’t subject her to it. Take care to protect her from carrying too large a mental burden.
Being heirs together of the grace of life is a wonderful truth. You and she share the rewards of Christ’s agony, death on the cross, and His life giving resurrection. Together Christ has redeemed you both from your debt of sin.
As husband and wife you walk arm and arm on the pathway of life to final victory over sin and death. Look upon her as such. God has graciously blessed you with your most treasured earthly possession. A blessed marriage is a truth most wonderful.
That your prayers be not hindered. Now the warning! Ill-treat her? You will suffer. God’s ears are tightly shut to your prayers. Try to live piously in every aspect of your life and not love your wife? God will plague you, your conscience and leave you spiritually empty.
It is impossible to ask for forgiveness of our sins, plead with God to fill us with grace and not love our wife as we ought. You can’t justify yourself by saying she is wrong (even if she is) and not going to her and discussing the particular sin between you. No, go to her and reconcile differences for Christ’s cake. If Christ waited for us to come to Him, heaven would be empty. His throne would never be approached. No sinner would come to Christ’s door and knock asking for forgiveness unless Christ’s loving arm draws him.
As husbands let’s pray for grace to be loving husbands emulating our head, Jesus Christ.