“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.”
We have been studying categories of the believer’s responsibility to other people. The believer has a responsibility to his nation (2:13-17) and to business (2:18-20). In this passage we come to the third responsibility – domestic responsibility. Each of these three categories has one key word – “submit.” The issue in each situation is order.
The first 7 verses of this chapter deal with husband-wife relationships. Peter first takes up the role of the wife (vv.1-6) then the role of the husband (v.7). Verse 7 deals with the husband’s role in marriage. Peter loads this one verse with as much content as the previous six verses. Most men do not understand their wives. They do not know their needs. Peter lands directly on the central need the husband needs to address to love his wife properly.
There are 3 categories of Christians who will not respond to Peter’s challenge:
1. Those who are older—they have already established their patterns and principles for marriage. They will not respond to this challenge because they are in a rut.
2. Those who have given up—they claim that “there is no hope; there is no way out of this mess. Forget it! I am through with this marriage. I have had it! I have tried all possible routes to fix this thing. I do not want to go through the pain of trying to fix this marriage again.”
3. Those who are naïve—Some teenagers think that marriage is a panacea for all their problems. If they could just become married and get out from under the roof of their parents, all will be well. “Oh, if only I could get married then all will be well.” Marriage does not resolve life problems; it complicates life problems! Marriage is no gimmick for a lack or a problem in life.
Marriage as an institution requires roles in order to establish order in marriage.
Some teenage girls believe that marriage will resolve their problems. No one asks them out so they hop on the first bus that comes along. She rides it for a couple blocks (years) then she says, “Oh I got on the wrong bus. This bus is taking me in a direction that I do not want to go. I did not notice the location this bus was heading.” She would have been much more happy remaining single.
Her problem was a complete lack of understanding as to what makes up husbands and wives in marriage. The appeal in marriage is not physical beauty although many men would argue with that. The issue is inner beauty. This is the point of the first six verses.
A woman who does not fill her mind with implacability, bitterness, resentment, hostility or anger is free from attitudinal sins. Peter addresses here the mental make-up of a godly woman.
For those of you who have not married yet, if you marry the wrong person you will live a life of misery. There is nothing worse than living with the wrong person. You might as well live with a rattlesnake.