“For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” (1 Peter 3:5-6 NASB)
It has long been recognized that a man’s greatest need from wife and children is respect and honor. A woman’s greatest need is affectionate love and a sense of security. And both need a sense of value. I believe that is why Peter calls women to an attitude of submission that trusts God’s use of her husband in his care for wife and family, not giving herself to fear, but praying for him. And, men, your wife’s need is why Paul speaks his instruction to you in Ephesians 5.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her…. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but NOURISHES and CHERISHES it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.” (Ephesians 5:25-30 NASB)
To cherish your wife is to value her. One very important way you value her is by listening to her counsel and considering her opinions. It is much easier for a woman to respect and follow the lead of her man when he helps her know her opinion is important, valued, and added to the basis for important decisions.
I cannot tell you the times my husband has let me know that my opinion helped him adjust course to a better decision. And there have been times he has changed my understanding or took a course of action I quickly saw was the better path choice. We work as one with God leading the way and it has grown a strong trust between us.
So, wives, we walk without fear by trusting God to direct our husbands, even if that direction goes against our opinion. Remember, your faith is in God, trusting Him to lead your man; and your prayers and encouragement should resource his success as a spiritual leader of your family.
A nurturing husband not only feeds his wife the affection, love, and appreciation she needs, but it also means to help your wife become her best and most productive self: helping her achieve goals that grow strength and ability in her, making her a capable person, secure and equipped for life. It does not keep her out of the loop, but makes sure she knows what is going on and why, so if anything happens to you, she can carry on in confidence.
In reality – though true, godly love flows unconditionally from who we are and respect is expected to be given as unto the Lord, these must flow freely both directions to work properly. The wife is not commanded to love her husband because the act of love comes easier to the female species. A man is not commanded to respect the wife, because respect is more readily expected and given as protocol by the male species. But both male and female need and desire love, respect, security, and to be valued.
Determine today, Beloved, to lift one another up through these practices toward each other and enjoy a strong marriage that will last forever and glorify God. If, however, your mate is not as God intends toward you, your concern is to be the mate God wants you to be while praying for your mate to be His ideal toward you. Don’t set your sites on your ideal (what you think that should look like), but God’s, asking Him for eyes to recognize His answers to your relational needs. Like me, you may well be amazed at the glory you find in your mate.