Peter instructs both wives and husbands in their marital relation. We conclude that every aspect of daily living together as partners is under view. This is not just a "while you are in public" or "at church" thing. After instructing Christian wives to be in subjection to their own husbands, Peter introduces the relation of Christian husbands to their wives.

Peter is inspired to say that the relationship of the husband to his wife is to be according to knowledge. Some translations use the word 'understanding' instead of 'knowledge.' The idea is that a Christian husband should have an understanding of God's word, or, knowledge of what it teaches concerning living wisely with his partner in life.

This knowledge or understanding has to do with the fact that his wife is the weaker vessel and she is also an heir in the grace of eternal life. Being a weaker vessel has nothing to do with her mentality. It relates to physical size and strength.

The idea is, that just because man has the physical strength to abuse his wife he must not do so but must live with her wisely. He must always consider the fact that God has made no difference between them in his eternal inheritance. The weaker vessel stands equal with man before the throne of God.

Peter says that the answering of a husband's prayers depend upon his relationship with his wife. Husbands should always conduct themselves so that their prayers are not hindered. Would not this also be good advice for the woman as she considers her role of subjection in marriage?

The relationship between husband and wife is not necessarily an easy task. Satan uses many avenues in life to hinder and breakdown the marriage relationship that God has ordained to be proper. Not only did God institute marriage, but he also gave instructions to guide man and woman in their relations with one another. It would be foolish of us to ignore his instructions in this matter.

The wife is not a second-class citizen just because God designated man to be the head of the house. Still, being the head of the house, husbands must dwell with them according to understanding. Husbands and wives have different responsibilities in their union. Each must fulfill their role in order to be pleasing to God. Husbands must lead and wives must be submissive. Only when we conform to God's will in this matter will the dignity and welfare of both partners be enhanced.

By Wendell Ward

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