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Theology of Suffering - Husbands

In our study we also learn: 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. (I Peter 3:7, NIV)

Again in our theology of suffering we return to that phrase "in the same way." What does it mean here? Just as the wives must follow the example of Christians under government, and slaves under masters and so submit to husbands with the same spirit of love, so husbands must with all humility and kindness live with their wives being "considerate." The KJV says "with understanding." The Greek word means: primarily a seeking to know, an inquiry, investigation.?

How to Suffer for Doing Good 5

Have you ever heard a man say, "If I live a thousand years, I'll never understand that woman"?

Well, that is exactly the opposite of what the Bible says here. In a true theology of suffering effort has to be made, inquiry begun, an investigation started to "know" your wife. How can you do this task? One thing is certain: if you focus your life on you and your interest, you will never achieve this God-ordained task. No, you must take the time and energy to look at every aspect of your wife's life, her interests, her hopes, and her faith. The secret things of her heart, which she will perhaps talk about with a special girl friend, must be your interest as well. Make her your best friend. Encourage her to make you her best friend. This is a theology of suffering without the suffering. And that is what a marriage should be.

Paul and Rhita sought marriage counseling. She seemed eager in the counseling while he seemed to be tolerating it. Several weeks went by and nothing substantive happened. One day at breakfast in one of his fits of rage he threw a cup of coffee in his wife's face.

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She called the police, and he spent a few hours in jail. It did him a world of good. He was back the next week excited about going to work and changing the ugly patterns of his life. There was only one problem: his wife was not with him. He responded well and demonstratively grew week by week. He had learned his lesson, he was ready to seek to understand his wife and become the Christian husband God required of him. However, Rhita never did return to counseling. After a few months she filed for divorce. The marriage was over. It was too late for Paul to "be considerate" of his wife, to live with her according to knowledge. Don't let it be too late for you. Begin today to become that husband God has called you to be.

But in our theology of suffering we learn that not only must you know her; you must also "respect" her. This word in the Greek NT means: "…primarily a valuing, hence, objectively, an advantage to be given by believers one to another instead of claiming it for self….” To honor a wife demands that you put yourself second and her first. Husbands must do that in their relationship with their wives. Stomping around the house, blustering, and throwing your weight around is not Christian. You may call it "ruling your house," but you are terribly wrong. It is nothing more than sinful self-grandiosity. Don't fool yourself. You are not being a godly husband doing that; you are satisfying your desire to exercise power, which is a sin. Instead you must humbly "honor" your wife.

Notwithstanding what the women's liberation movement may say, women are indeed the "weaker vessel," and thereby must be given greater honor and consideration. Give your wife much honor today.

And what happens if you do not do these things for your wife? "…so that nothing will hinder your prayers." Randy was being absolutely incorrigible with his wife. He was making no effort to solve the many problems they were having.

After awhile I asked Randy, "Do you pray?"

"Why, yes, of course I do" he responded.

"Well stop" I replied, “for they aren't getting through.”

“What do you mean?" he said.

I then read him this passage which concludes with "…so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (I Peter 3:7, NIV).

"You make no effort to know your wife," I said, "nor do you honor her, therefore God makes it clear, your prayers are severely hindered. And they will continue to be so until you learn to fulfill this passage."
That is true of you, too, Christian brother. You have major obligations to make your marriage work as well. These are only a few of your responsibilities. Review Ephesians 5:25-33 for a more complete description of your obligations.