The Tricky Subject of Wives and Husbands
I Peter 3:1-7
My wife of nearly thirty-three years upon hearing that I was going to write the piece on husbands and wives, said: “seriously, are you crazy? You are just asking for trouble!” This is a question she has asked me so often I sometimes wonder if I am a little crazy, but we love and respect each other.
But here goes, let us see if we can make some sense of these passages in I Peter 3:1-7. I caution us from being too hasty to judge for what Peter wrote and what Paul echoed regarding women and their roles was influenced by the society in which they lived. This does not mean we should disregard what they had to say, but there is practical knowledge to be gained by carefully looking at these passages. Peter is primarily concerned for the woman who upon accepting Christ as her savior found herself in a house that was now unequally yoked together. Paul likewise had these same concerns but attempted to further expound upon the role of men and women in the church and the household.
The term both Paul and Peter use is unequally yoked together. It is term we failed to fully grasp because we no longer live in Aquarian society and today little farming is done without aid of tractor and machine, yet in the not too distant past, animals were the primary means of performing work around the farm. My grandmother explained it to me this way.
A Little word regarding my Grandparents, they were farmers in North Dakota and did all their farming using horses to do all the work. My grandfather was a master horse wrangler in that he could break horses that others could not and he was gifted at paring teams of horses together. According to my grandmother, teams that are not matched together cannot work together effectively. Much time is needed to continually make corrections and in this way much effort is wasted.
More importantly, horses must complement each other. If both horses are dominating, then both will pull in a different direction, the plow or wagon will move, but not be pulled effectively. Some horses are only comfortable pulling from the right side, and others from the left. For a team of horses or oxen to be effective, they must be matched together. The submissive horse allows the dominate to take the lead but the submissive horse still pulls its weight and more. But even the dominate horse must be submissive to the one that is holding the reigns. One horse compliments the strengths of the other, and they also compliment the weakness of the others. When paired together and properly harnessed, they can perform great amounts of work with minimal effort from the one holding the reigns.
So it should be said of a marriage. When both try to lead then much effort is wasted. Hatred and discontent arises and soon separation occurs. But, when both are pulling together complimenting the strengths and the weakness of the other, then much work can be accomplished together. But as the horses which are teamed together are subject to each other they are also subject to the handler, the one holding the reigns. So then must the husband and wife be submissive to each other allowing the other to lead when the strength of that person is better suited to the task at hand, and both husband and wife should be submissive to Christ, who is training us and fitting us together for a great work.
The great wrangler is fitting men and women together to properly prepare the field for the great harvest to come. Not only by making disciples, but training up or children in the path they should go, that they too may be fitted for a great work.
Wives submit to your husband, but husbands likewise dwell with them with understanding and giving honor to the wife as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
It is in this way, that we complement and bring honor to each other and honor and glorify God.