Reflections on 1 Peter 3:1-6

Pastor Chad asked several women within our CVC family to answer four questions related to 1 Peter 3:1-6.  Here are some of their answers.

QUESTION 1: What makes living out 1 Peter 3:1-6 so difficult?

“My own stubbornness and independence. I like control over my life. I lived nearly 20 years as a self-sufficient single adult making my own decisions before I got married. To suddenly be put into a relationship where I need to submit to another’s ideas, it makes my self-sufficient pride cringe.”

“(1) Authoritarian behavior on the husband’s part—this naturally breeds defiance; (2) A woman who is not yielded to the Lord; (3) When the husband does not obey the Lord; (4) When the husband demands submission.”

“It can be difficult because of my own pride.  Growing up, my mom modeled a great deal of pride, and argued daily with my dad.  She impressed upon me the importance of never depending on a man.  This pride has been difficult for me to weed out.  As a follower of Christ, I have had to lean into Him to show me how to do this.  In following God’s greatest commandment to “love God, love others,” I can demonstrate this to my husband when I submit to his leadership of the family.  This has been extremely difficult throughout the years, especially when we originally held different values and ideas.  We were not on the same page spiritually.  Submitting was most difficult when I knew some of his decisions were being made from his broken places.”

“Submitting to anyone is difficult!  If love and respect were not mutual and a cornerstone to our marriage, this would be impossible for me.”

“I think it is difficult because it was no longer natural and easy for us after the fall. It was in essence a part of the curse. Instead of it being a blessing to compliment my husband, I can want to compete with him to get my own way.”

“I tend to be set in my ways and enjoy making decisions based on my own preferences. Getting married really opened my eyes to this self-directed sin nature in need of sanctification.”

“I think the hardest part for me was the realization that I had to die to myself.  As you probably know that is not easy!”

“What makes it (perhaps) difficult is how affected we are by our USA culture.”

“What makes it difficult for women within the church is a misconstrued definition of the word subjection, in particular with dealing with wives being subject to their husbands.  I have very often seen this text taken out of context greatly misinterpreting the privilege and calling of women to live free and godly as servants of God in their role as woman and wife. I have seen the word “subjection” take on a very demeaning sense that almost dehumanizes women as if they were objects or property to serve the best interests of man (husband).  Objectification and self-objectification of women throughout history is still very much alive today in our culture and embraced in the church as well unintentionally and unaware. It causes great heartache to women trying to maintain an external image of beauty along with the pressures to be perfect, to win approval and affirmation “as the lovely wife” so to speak and rarely known by anything else, sometimes not even by name. It can remove individualism and giftings and strengths that can lie dormant if you remain in this position of misunderstanding.  This causes women to be devalued with an unhealthy focus to PLEASE MEN rather than to PLEASE GOD with respectful and pure conduct.”

“The most difficult part of reading and applying this passage has been to sort through the stereotypes and preconceived assumptions attributed to these verses from inside and outside of the church.”

“Submitting is difficult when I disagree with him.”

“As a strong-willed person, the flesh makes it difficult. If I’m not praying, in His word daily, and seeking His presence this can’t and won’t happen.  As a person who has held leadership/management roles, the culture makes it difficult. I get accolades for my strong decision making and problem-solving ability. I’m looked to for direction and have been blessed with much success in my career. Women are told they can do anything but have learned it comes with having to harden your heart a bit—be stronger, louder, firm—in order to be taken serious in the business world.  So, if I follow the values of the culture, not Scripture, this leads to pride and reliance on my ability and this can get me into trouble in my marriage.” 

QUESTION 2: What makes living out 1 Peter 3:1-6 easier?

“When your husband loves the Lord and it flows to his wife.”

“Understanding the Scripture and its context.  1 Peter tells us how to live as Christians in order to be a testimony to the world of God’s grace and mercy.”

“(1) When the husband leads with gentleness and collaborates with his wife in decision making, and (2) Knowing the word of God and living by it on the part of the wife.”

“When my husband pursues the Lord, and his behavior in turn is kinder and gentler with me-this makes submitting easier!”

“I was a much less mature Christian when we first met and so it has always been fairly easy to follow his lead because he was leading me in a good direction (towards Christ). My husband is a born leader and that helps make this easier for me.”

“What makes living out 1 Peter 3:1-6 easier is that it can essentially take the pressure off of us. There is an element of trust as a wife to trust that your husband is walking with the Lord and his convictions are then from God, and there is also great responsibility with that for a husband. I am thankful to not have that on my shoulders!”

“It is easier [to be subject to/follow the leadership of] my husband because I know he is subject to the Lord above all else. More importantly, if my Creator/Father God is instructing me in this way – I am choosing to obey God and HIS design for my life and family. There is blessing and peace that comes from choosing to honor the Lord in the way I interact with my husband. I believe our children will receive a blessing that overflows from our obedience to the Father. In this way, even if a wife has an unbelieving husband, her husband and children will reap blessing from her decision to live a holy life (set apart from worldly ways and worldly thinking). Showing a husband honor in this way honors God.”

“For me, as a believer wanting to honor God and follow His Word, made it easier.  There came a point in our marriage when my own way was less important than following God’s way in showing encouragement, support, and respect to my husband.  However, it did take me many years of God’s conviction and my spiritual growth to get to that point.”

“What makes it easier is how affected we are by and how obedient we are to our caring Heavenly Father and Holy Spirit.  So very thankful.”

“Accurately understanding the correct definition of submission which is to combats self-centeredness in both man and woman, husband and wife.  Practically this is a daily dying to self and honest transparent communication with a focus on grace, respect, and love. It is impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit, the word of God and prayer.”

“Truthfully, I have never found it “difficult” to live out this verse. To me it is no different than “honor your father and mother.” It is a guide for relational living and when I am filled with the spirit of Christ, I am able to discern exactly how He wants me to “honor” and “respect” those around me.  However, we both know that “honor” and “respect” can look differently to different people.  I believe this is where societal norms and stereotypes get in the way of applying these verses. “Winning our husbands or wives over” does not look the same to every person and “winning them over” should never come at the expense of obedience to God.”

“When I disagree with him, opening up dialogue (without fighting) and hoping it results in each of us understanding why the other feels the way they do. Being an active listener creates understanding and gives both of us perspective.  It’s much easier to submit when there is clarity.”

“What makes it easier is having faith and trust that the Lord is for us, loves us, and gave us this directive for our good. He wants a husband and wife to become one, to glorify him, and this is how it will work. Should make life simpler.  We don’t have to figure out who should lead but obey Scripture and follow, then reap the blessing. We should be filled with peace and joy when we follow His model. Unfortunately, there is sin and it’s not easy and can lead to the opposite in a marriage.  Having a godly husband should make it easier! However, I’m sad to say I still struggle with this issue. My husband follows the Lord, knows the word, and tries to implement truth in every area of our marriage and family.”

“It is biblical…so I need to TRY my best, TRUST, and OBEY.  My husband actually makes this easier for me than I believe some other women have it.  He involves me and honors my advice, suggestions, and will.  There is no fight in it.  We sometimes agree to disagree.”

“When I have come across a wife who is struggling with submission, it seems to me the foundation of her struggle lies with God, not just her husband. God commands us to submit to our husband for our good and that we may win some to Christ. If a wife believes that, it makes all the difference.  Picking and choosing what we obey in the Bible is dangerous place to be.”

“How cool is it that by the way I obey my husband, by the way I love and respect him, I can reflect Christ and hopefully win some to Christ!  What an important role!  What a privilege. What a holy calling.  I can beautify myself by submitting to my husband!  I want to be beautiful!  This isn’t a punishment.  It is a beauty regiment!”

“The husband’s role in submission is key.  I think submission gets sticky when husbands aren’t loving their wives as Jesus loves the church.”

QUESTION 3: How does this look (practically speaking) in your marriage?

“Makes me think of a pyramid.  My husband on one side, me on the other, and Jesus at the point.  My husband and I need to focus on Jesus more than each other.  As we do that, we both climb up the pyramid closer to Jesus, thus allowing us to grow closer to each other.”

“With my viewpoints, I need to be cognizant and respectful that my husband’s opinion is also valid and that my arguing ultimately can hurt our marriage. In the long run, it doesn’t matter who does the household chores (and sometimes doesn’t even matter IF they get done).  It’s the whole Win the Battle, Lose the War.”

“I have to sing my husband’s praise here.  He sure makes it easier for me to be subject to him. He is a selfless servant leader in our home. He always listens to my opinions on everything, though I don’t always agree with him on every matter.”

“I had to learn to speak my mind concerning these decisions from a place of love, not a place of pride.  I had to grow in seeing my husband through the eyes of Christ, as a beloved child…”

“Practically speaking, my husband now has the final say on all of our big decisions.  However, he always seeks my opinion and involves me in the decision-making process.  I have found that in giving my husband the space he needs to be the leader in our family, he flourishes.  At the same time, I am freed from the weight of these big decisions, and I can focus better on my role as wife/mom.”

“Before we got married, we went to different Christian churches. He knew that our marriage would be best served in a church that wasn’t the denomination I grew up in, yet for many years we went to my church, and he was very patient with me.  As I grew as a Christian, I eventually needed more, so we chose our church together. If he would have started our marriage with a heavy hand and disrespect for my background, I am not sure I would have been so open and who knows where we would be now.  We don’t agree on everything so when we can disagree in a loving, kind, and patient way, things usually work out.”

“There are many times in my marriage that this has come to play. I often see the importance of communicating my weaknesses and desires to my husband so that he can pray for me but also so that he knows the areas that I may need him to be sensitive to and handle me more gently in. Then when it comes to making a decision when we are not on the same page, he knows where I stand, but I trust his judgement in the next step because of his walk with the Lord.”

“Practically speaking, in the times where we do not agree on how to proceed in a decision, I trust his motives to honor God – I fall back on God who put us together and has our good (for His glory) in mind for whatever comes our way.”

“God gave me joy in denying myself of having to do things my way and he was doing the same.  This gave my husband and I a healthier marriage where we both were being more thoughtful, appreciative, and were serving one another.”

“Honey works better than vinegar.  Wives set the tone (usually) in the home.  Do I want to be demanding, desiring my own way and cause hurt and bad feelings?  What we can easily forget are the vows we made. Those seemingly old-fashioned wedding words are impactful.”

“For women, for myself I need to know and apply what it means to “adorn the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

  • Strive for a gentle spirit (Meekness)
    • This is the opposite of self-assertiveness or self-interest, self-occupation. I have to guard my heart when my flesh cries out and I want my way. Daily battle!
    • Women are master manipulators and they know it! This is taking advantage of your husbands love and I must guard myself from this learned behavior.
    • I have come to realize that everything God permits in my life is being used to purify my soul and his desire is that I submit to HIM without resisting and trust His way of working in our marriage and family without complaints. Oh how difficult this is but takes great strides in faith!
    • I must choose to respect my husband by guarding my words against him. It is always best when I remain quiet and take it to the Lord rather than complain or grumble to others. Lord forgive!
    • Honest transparent loving communication between husband and wife helps each other deal with their souls and all their difficulties. It must remain a safe environment between the 2. Marriage is sacred!
    • God wants to strengthen me by controlling my reactions in submission to Him so that in every marital difficulty my character responds with confident trust in God rather than in weakness or fear or selfishness. This is God’s redemptive work!

“This is going to look different in almost every marriage. We are all uniquely created, and the way one person feels “honored” or “respected” can be very different than how another person feels honored and respected. The challenge (and beauty) of marriage is finding how to honor and respect each other well while honoring Christ above ALL. If both spouses don’t equally experience honor and respect, even a Christian home can be filled with bitterness and resentment.”

“Good communication when we disagree.”

“As the leader, my husband takes responsibility for how he leads and is proactive, not reactive.  He asks questions, he takes into consideration my feelings/thoughts, he always tries to do what’s best for the us.”

“He will ask when I’m struggling with something and even ask me why I don’t want to follow. He’ll ask, “What do you think my motive is?”  That really helps me, it brings clarity and understanding. Because whatever I’m feeling, when I think about his motives and character, the why becomes very clear. I can see it’s my fear, or doubt or insecurity that is the problem and NOT his leadership. Then he will help me process that fear or concern.”

“I must work daily on this issue, to surrender to God, to remember the perfect example of Jesus’s submission to the Father. I discuss the difficulties of this issue with him. I seek guidance from women who have been married longer and ask for help. I need to admit that this is a struggle (which is a struggle at times!!) and seek help from the Holy Spirit (pray…pray…pray…). I take self-reflection seriously to try and understand is it something he did/said or is it coming from me.  If so, why?”

“You need the Lord to have it work. Because it’s not easy for a strong person to submit without having the Holy Spirit and knowing that the man is a godly man who has a heart that will follow after the Lord. Then you can trust in his motive and helps you to surrender in peace.”

“We have sought external counseling if we are landing TOO far apart on something.  We differ in our parenting strategies (A LOT).  Submission doesn’t mean becoming a doormat…when I still feel I am correct in something, especially when I have prayed and feel I am walking with the Lord in something, I ask my husband if we could get a third (or fourth) opinion.”

“I demonstrate to my husband HOW I process a decision or a feeling or an idea…he knows I have prayed about it and sought the Lord’s will.  I am having influence over him and being a good role model of faith.”

“99% of the time, if we are both being prayerful, it has been my experience that the Holy Spirit aligns our hearts.”

QUESTION 4: If there was one thing that you wish you could tell your younger married self about this topic, what would it be?

“Focus on Jesus more than the marriage.  If you both do that, submitting to one another will be a delight.”

“I damaged our early marriage by focusing more on making my point than understanding where he was coming from and why he was reacting the way he did.  I would tell my younger self to keep in mind my husband’s feelings, to try to understand where he is coming from before spouting off my opinions.  If it’s not a life and death matter (and most disagreements aren’t), concede out of a love for Christ, even if I don’t feel a love for my husband at that moment. Then trust in the Lord that this will ultimately strengthen our marriage.  And in the process, show the world how a loving, healthy, Christian marriage can work.”

“I came across a statement in a book recently, “A husband’s leadership in marriage is not based on superior ability but on divine placement” (Preparing for Marriage).  And that is what this passage in 1 Peter is also saying. This is what I wish I could tell my younger married self. Because earlier in marriage I used to wonder why wives must be subject to their husbands.”

“Men need love and respect. The more you can show love and respect to your husband, the easier this all will be.   Also, this passage would be impossible if you don’t understand the character of Christ. Read the Bible, get to church weekly, and actively pursue a relationship and understanding of God!”

“Let him lead and trust that the Lord will guide and direct him in the ways he should lead our family.”

“Let him lead in decision-making—big and small things. Be gentle in how you go about expressing your disagreement. My husband’s heart needs to be more important than me proving that I am right or that my idea was better.”

“Put God first and do not neglect reading, studying, meditating, and praying through the Bible.  Pray more for your husband, being intentional about reminding yourself of the positives, instead of camping on the negatives.  Looking back, I know God was working on us as we submitted to Him.  Phil. 2:12-13.”

“Let your words be seasoned with grace.  Do I want to look back with regret?”

“You must find your identity and purpose in knowing who God is before you can be the woman and wife God intends you to be in subjection to Him first and foremost. All else flows from this relationship and finds its right place. Keep growing and glowing.  Pray consistent spirit inspired prayers based on God’s Word with your spouse. This is your safeguard for marriage and family! This unites you as ONE!”

Trust the Holy Spirit! Ask Him to help you discern what your next step should be. Ask Him to teach you what actions are honoring to your husband and which ones are just actions of going with the flow to avoid conflict.   I have learned that in every decision I make and every action I take I need to pray and listen to that still small voice from the Lord and trust that he will truly guide my decisions and my actions.  His answers might be slow or silent for a time or I may hear it incorrectly, but if I genuinely want to know His will and his way… He is faithful and I can trust Him. Therefore, I can trust the power of the Holy Spirit in me.”

“Communicate rather than stuffing resentment.”

“Don’t just read over this verse or avoid because it’s uncomfortable and raises lots of emotions! Discuss it together and talk about what is working in the marriage or what is not with regards to submission right from the start. Don’t let years go by before you address it. Be honest, seek help from godly counsel, and commit to working on it. It rears its head in big things and small things, so you can’t get away with NOT addressing it. It impacts the marriage!!”

“Surround yourself with other married couples that represent God’s design for marriage well.”

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