“The chaos and confusion that surround too many marriages can be traced to the simple fact that couples have chosen to tamper with the directions. It will only be when they admit their total dependence upon the wisdom of God’s Word and the power of God’s Spirit that they will get back on track.” —Alistair Begg, Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure
As a loving and infinitely wise Father and Creator, God has given us all the instruction we need to have a marriage that imitates His perfect design. How is it, then, that so many seem to find themselves off track? Alistair Begg gives helpful encouragement to wives and husbands in Lasting Love:
The Role of the Wife
In the Bible, the role of a wife and mother is not left to conjecture, as if we could put it together like a neighborhood quilting project—each person showing up with her own fabric and adding her own square. It is not treated as a matter of personal preference. It is clearly established and unfolded from the first book on. As we have seen, by the time of the New Testament, Jesus, and in turn the apostles, were challenging the repressive and chauvinistic tendencies of Roman, Greek, and Judaistic cultures.
Today, women find themselves under severe attack for attempting to fulfill the biblical mandates for the role of wife and mother. As a woman invests her life in motherhood and lives in submission to a less than perfect (often unbearable) husband, she may be bombarded by the taunting barbs of peers who mock such a “medieval” approach to life.
Consider the trip to the grocery store a young mother makes. Do you see her face as she juggles her youngster in the makeshift chair in the front of her cart, or as she calls out to her toddler who has decided to rearrange the cereal boxes? Motherhood is a high calling, and parenting brings with it peculiar joys and privileges—but those blessings can also bring challenges that test the breaking points on the rope that binds husband and wife.
A husband must recognize that for his wife to bring all her intellect and talent and wisdom and creativity to bear upon the task of raising godly sons and daughters is to commit herself to a job description of nerve-jangling dimensions. It is therefore imperative that wives know that their husbands share their vision, applaud their efforts, are in awe of their abilities, and are humbled by their selflessness.
There won’t be a day that passes when, from some source, the temptation to capitulate to a secular model will present itself. Is this really significant? the wife says to herself as she packs the 5,129th school lunch. The husband needs to be at hand to affirm his wife by reminding her that God has assigned a nobler work to women than merely to parallel men’s activities.
The Role of the Husband
There is no more precious gift entrusted to a man than the treasure of his wife. She is to be admired and prized above all others. She is to have first place in his heart, mind, and affections. She is to be given special care and attention that leaves no doubt of her husband’s esteem.
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)
What does Peter mean when he calls husbands to “be considerate as you live with your wives”? Is he simply reminding men to be courteous—not to interrupt and finish her sentences for her, to hold the door open, to stand up when she comes into the room? These matters are trivial in light of the far-reaching instruction he has just given to the wives in 1 Peter 3:1–6. So, what is at the heart of this exhortation?
The literal translation is this: “Husbands, likewise dwell together according to knowledge.” The context of this statement is important. Peter has previously observed that before we were converted, we lived in ignorance and followed our own evil desires (1 Peter 1:14). But as we experience new life in Christ, that previous way of living changes. Our thinking is now conforming to a different standard. Pagan lust is replaced by Christian love.
Other articles in this series:
- How to Avoid Marital Failure (1 of 6)
- In Marriage, We Are Not Our Own (2 of 6)
- The Role of Husband and Wife (3 of 6)
- What Does God Intend for Marital Love to Look Like (4 of 6)
- Instructions for Marriage (5 of 6)
- The Impact of a Strong Marriage (6 of 6)
Adapted from Alistair Begg, Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure (©2015). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.