“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them (wives) 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” I Peter 3:7.
When the Bible says “weaker vessel” in reference to wives, it commands husbands to give “honor” unto the wife as the weaker vessel. Weaker vessel with honor carries the idea of fragility combined with great value like a precious vase or a priceless painting.
Honor, according to WE Vine and the American Heritage dictionary, means to value, to highly esteem, to respect and to prize. For the husband this means giving the wife an exalted position without lording it over her or ridiculing her.
When Christ’s disciples argued over who would be greatest among them, Christ taught them that he who would be greatest would be servant of all. The husband who is serious about being a spiritual leader in his home must have a servant’s heart. He must lead by example, by doing, by serving.
Occasionally it’s hard to tell, between husband and wife, who is the weaker vessel, because some husbands refuse to do what they consider to be women’s work. There are only two things that are truly women’s work: having babies and nursing them. Everything else is on the table for both husbands and wives. A servant’s heart is not selective.
Often the husband’s priorities are not the wife and kids. If they were, husbands wouldn’t be stepping over the wife’s still, exhausted body on the way out the door to unwind after a rough day at work.
The wife is the weaker vessel? Husbands, do you really believe that? If you do then gather the wife up off the floor and watch the kids for the rest of the evening. Lay your troubles aside and engage the wife in adult conversation for an hour or so. Don’t try to give advice, just listen and if necessary, make decisions.
Husbands, give the wife the TV control and finish cleaning up the kitchen and folding the clothes for her when she needs a break. Ask the wife if there is anything that she needs to be done first, before embarking on your agenda for the evening or weekend.
If you truly believe that women are the weaker vessel, then demonstrate man-strength by giving the wife a hand and by giving it with honor! Quit debating with her. Listen to the wife and address her concerns. Quit demanding a following. Quit trying to herd the family rather than lead it. Quit wondering why no one will “king me”! Get out front and lead by serving. Your kids are watching.
- Part of giving the wife honor is treating her with respect and ensuring that the children do the same. Early in our marriage when the kids were quite young, I impressed upon the children, that an offense against their mother was an offense against me. I rarely had to deal with disrespect.
- For those in Christian ministry, the family often becomes secondary in priority to the ministry. In these cases the ministry is doomed to failure* unless priorities are corrected. If the husband is not doing right by the wife his prayers will be hindered and if the children are not in subjection, the father and husband is disqualified from leading the church. *Failure of ministry referred to here is not referring to fewer numbers, volume or scope. Failure of ministry is the loss of God’s power to do His work biblically and therefore effectively.
- A husband should not be all things to all women. The only opinion that should concern a husband is that of what his wife thinks of him.
- A Christian husband who thinks of his wife as inferior to himself and who subsequently treats her this way, is not thinking biblically.