We all know how easy it is to tear down. You could spend one hour building a sandcastle. It can be destroyed with one swift kick.
It is easy to see the dust in someone else’s eye and overlook the plank in your own. In this message on Christian marriage I really just want you to look at half of it. The tendency will be to look at the wrong half.
If you are a wife I want you to look at what Peter says to the wives. If you are a husband I want you to look at what Peter says to the husbands. The normal tendency is to hear the Biblical admonition for your spouse and miss the part that is your own responsibility. The idea is to be a builder-upper, not a tear-downer.
When couples are engaged they see each other in the best light. They see the strengths and overlook the faults. But what destroys marriages is when the focus shifts. Now they become blind to the strengths and see the faults like a flashing billboard.
Christianity is a call to be selfless. To think of others needs more highly than yourself. In Christian marriage we are called to think of our spouses needs before our own needs. Don’t think Ah-ha, he or she is not doing that! Approach this with how you can apply this and build up your spouse.
1 Peter 3:1-7
1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Wives: Build up your husbands
Ladies, Paul in Ephesians 5 wrote more to husbands than wives. Peter has 6 verses for wives and 1 for husbands.
In Submission vs. 1-2
In the same way, submit. This passage is in the context of submission referring back to 1 Peter 2:13. Peter gives the purpose of this command. So that, if any of your husbands are not believers you might win them over to faith in Christ. From the view of servant love, the wife builds up the husband when she supports him and submits to him.
Nagging and criticizing your husband is the tear-downer. It does not have a place for the wife that desires to honor Christ. A healthy marriage is about building up your spouse. Unselfishness motivates the wife to seek the good of the husband and to delight in it.
Peter even calls the wife of an unbeliever to submit. He may be able to deny faith, but he won’t be able to deny that his wife’s faith made a difference. The Bible calls us to avoid an unequally yoked marriage, but the wife who finds herself in this situation is to win her husband by her deeds.
Augustine accounts how his mother influenced his father, “she did all she could to win him serving her husband as a master, speaking of the Lord by her conduct, by which the Lord made her beautiful, finally at the end of his life, her husband gained Christ.”
Wives of unbelieving husbands aren’t called to hit husbands over the head with Bibles. They are called to submit and win them over by your actions. Let the fruit of the Spirit flow from your lives.
Wives let your beauty be inward vs. 3-4
Peter calls the wife to make the priority inward. You may have met someone who claims the reason they do not go to church is because some church taught women not to wear make-up. For one thing Peter is not prohibiting make-up. He is calling the wife to let the inward beauty be the real emphasis.
Real beauty isn’t about clothes, hairstyle and jewelry. Real beauty is about the inner self. It is about a gentle and quiet spirit. This inward unfading beauty is of great worth in God’s sight. Inward beauty may not dominate television commercials. God notices, your husband will notice and appreciate the inward beauty.
The example of Sarah
Sarah had inward beauty at an advanced age. Kings were finding Sarah attractive. Sarah is an example (vs. 6) of a woman who had the inward beauty. She obeyed and respected her husband. She is an example of a “holy woman” whose hope is in God.
Wives you build up your husband by respecting them. Be concerned about the inward beauty of a gentile and quiet spirit. Build up your husband.
Husbands vs. 7
Husbands are called to consideration in the same way (as the wives). You are to have understanding for your wife. To have consideration and understanding you need to give attention to the needs of your wife. This is the way you become a builder-upper.
A husband who works all the time to meet the financial needs of the family has missed the understanding part. Husbands need to understand their wives need intimacy and communication. Husbands you should take time to find out what makes your wives tick.
There is listening and interacting with your wife. Sharing your thoughts and dreams. Watching sports on television is probably not the thing that meets your wife’s need. Husband as the head of the household you are called to be a servant leader. That means meeting your wife’s need for togetherness.
It takes an effort on your part husband to share your feelings with your wife, but the Bible says be considerate of your wife. In the Christian household the man is the head of the household yes, but not to bark orders, but to nurture his wife out of love. Communication, relationship intimacy are what is needed to be considerate of your wife.
Respect as weaker partner.
Peter says that your wife is the weaker partner. This does not have anything to do with their value as a person. Husbands and wives are joint heirs together of the grace of God. If I challenged my wife to an arm wrestling match I would probably win. But I am called to honor her.
The more valuable things are often more delicate. Our best china doesn’t go in the dishwasher. It is too valuable and delicate. It is washed by hand to be gentler.
Husbands respect, honor your wife, cherish her and make your relationship with her your top priority. Let there be nothing, except the Lord more valuable and precious to you than your wife. Treat her with honor and respect.
Men and women are “co-heirs” of the gracious gift of life. Husbands and wives experience the grace of God equally. And the husband when understanding his wife should seek a spiritual intimacy. Husband you should take the lead in spiritual matter. Like Joshua say, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15)
Hinder Prayer life
There is a warning here. When a husband does not respect, honor, cherish love and nurture his wife it will hinder his prayers. Selfishness in marriage hinders your prayers. It mars your relationship with God.
Harmony in the home promotes spirituality. A good marriage and spirituality are related. Build up your spouse. Make it your goal to build up your spouse.