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.” - 1 Peter 3:7 (NIV)

In our office (where we meet with most couples), on our coffee table we keep a red Solo cup and a crystal goblet from Dawn’s wedding china.  If we were to ask you to give adjectives describing the two, you’d most likely say something like this...

Red Solo cup: Disposable, Replaceable, Plentiful, Inexpensive (Cheap!) 

Crystal goblet from Dawn’s wedding china: Fragile, Expensive, Beautiful, Refined

A Solo cup is a modern gift to man. It says, “Hey, let’s have a good time together, no real commitment needs to be made here, unless you have a Sharpie with you. But even then, I know we’ll only be together for a short while. I’m replaceable and I’m cheap, so no concern for how you handle me… there’s plenty where I came from. I’m here to make your life go and see that your momentary pleasures are fulfilled.”

Dawn’s wedding crystal says something totally different. It says, “I am SPECIAL.  A much greater price was paid for me and I was given as a gift with thoughtfulness and love. I possess unique beauty. I am more valuable, more refined and more fragile. Handle me with great care. My purposes are more noble and my place in your home is permanent. I’m here to share your life and be present in the most special moments of it.”

1 Peter 3:7 says, “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.”

In Peter’s day, women had the value of a Solo cup. They were not deemed worthy of respect. They had no voice, no civil rights. She could easily be divorced for any and every reason. Her value came from marriage and her ability to bear children, sons in particular. It didn’t matter if they had the love of their husbands, marriage meant security. 

Peter speaks out against these cultural norms and challenges husbands to think differently about their wives. He says to view them as Dawn’s wedding crystal. In essence, Peter is saying, “She is to be treasured. Let your manner with her be the way of understanding.  Treat her with respect and see her the way God sees her. God created her to be a life-giving vessel. She pours out her life as Christ pours His life into hers. Your part as her husband is to protect, love, and cherish her as she goes about her life-giving ways.  That may range anywhere from hanging curtains to raising babies.  Lend her your strength when she needs it.” This is the security a wife needs.  Here’s the reality, men - God equips us as husbands to provide such security. Christ in us empowers us to be Christlike with her. 

Peter issues a warning to husbands who treat their wives as Solo cups. He says their prayers will be hindered. That means they are cut off, there’s interference on the line. As the leader of our home, this is one thing we cannot afford to lose. We lived on a farm a few years back.  We couldn’t take calls inside the house. The metal roof on the farm house caused some interference.  We didn’t call AT&T and ask them if they could move their cell tower into our living room. How absurd would it be for us to even ask that? Instead, we got up and went outside to get a better signal. We made the necessary adjustment to have a successful conversation. Husbands, we want and need open lines of communication with the Father.  God will not move His will and way to accommodate us, we must move our will and our way to align with His. We need to be able to hear His direction on how He wants us to care for our wives (and His daughters).  

That’s what it means, husband, to live with your wife in an understanding way.  You’ll need to become a student of your wife.  You’ll need to ponder and consider her ways.  Study her to figure out how she ticks.  I can tell you, it won’t always make sense to you.  That’s okay.  She’s WHOLLY different from you.  She’s a crystal goblet.  She’s not a red Solo cup.

To be considerate and understanding of your wife, to be a student of her and to ponder and consider her ways requires patience.  It requires self-control.  It requires gentleness.  It requires kindness.  All four of these virtues come to you as fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23).  Abide in Jesus and you’ll bear the fruit you need (John 15:5) to live with your wife in an understanding way.