“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, 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.”
honor to the wife,
There is a word in the Greek that does not occur in this translation. It is the word “giving.” This word means to assign to, to portion out, give a share of. God wants the husband to portion something out to his wife. That “something” is “honor.”
Honoring the wife was a radical innovation in the ancient world. This was foreign to their thinking because the woman was next to cows in esteem. The Greek and Roman religions did not allow the woman to attend worship services in their temples. The only exception was the prostitute because she was the center of religion in the temple. Even in Judaism the woman had to sit behind a lattice or screen in the Synagogue.
“Honor” means deference, courtesy or respect. God wants the husband to hold his wife as worthy of value. She has intrinsic value in God’s mind. Someone said, “God did not create the woman from the head of man (to lord over him); nor from his feet (to be trampled by him) but from his side (to be a companion to him).
The Greek is very strong – “Give her an appraisal of preciousness.” “Honor” means precious. Is your wife precious to you. Do you cherish her? Does she feel cherished? I Peter 1:19 translates this word “honor” as “precious” – “the precious blood of Christ.”
“Honor” means that the husband is to treat his wife with respect. She is a fellow heir of eternal life. He gives his wife deference. This implies that the husband has perception into his wife’s needs. We must see something before we can pay it regard.
God expects the husband to honor and respect his wife.
It is popular to depict men as misogynists and exploiters of women today. Men are lower in their opinion than a snake on snowshoes! If a husband heeds the principles of this passage he will understand an essential need of his wife.
There is an old proverb that says, “No one can stand the awful knowledge that he is not needed.” The wife needs to know that her husband needs her. Our society greatly assaults the wife who stays at home. This lowers her self-esteem. The husband should not be a part of this attack.
The husband is to impart or portion out honor to his wife. The husband is to give his wife a very part of his being. He cannot live as an entity unto himself. In Christian marriage he cannot live as an entity apart from his wife. He must make his wife a part of his life.
The point here is that the man is the initiator. He is the giver. It is incumbent upon any leader to initiate. The husband has the role of leadership in the home. It is his responsibility to initiate reconciliation after a quarrel. This is a great responsibility.
“Honor” means worth. “Honey, you mean everything to me. You are the most important priority of my life. This means more than just saying it. She needs to get the idea that she is the number one priority by the time he gives her and by the emphasis he places upon her. To honor a wife means to attribute a quality to her. That implies perception. That implies awareness of her. That means you have taken a long, hard look at your wife and then see worth in her. “He that finds a wife finds a good thing.”
Some men do not realize what a good thing they have because they take their wives for granted. They so busily pursue their goals that they bypass putting priority on their wives. They cannot properly esteem them without putting priority on them.
A husband should cherish his wife like a precious gem. Some people have diamonds but they do not know how many carats are in that diamond. Is it a ¼ carat or 2 carats? They never stop to investigate whether their diamond has yellow streaks or whether it is crystal clear. Some people just do not know what they have. As well, some men do not know what they have. They never stop to examine the jewel called their wife. This is fantastic lack of appreciation and awareness.
Husbands need to make a career of giving honor to their wives. We need to recognize her worth and make her precious and let her know that she is precious. We should put her on a pedestal. This is quite a different interpretation of submission that what some men give it! To them, the woman is to be heeled. There is nothing in the Bible about that. The opposite is true. The wife is to be exalted, lifted up and highly prized.
Do you remember when you dated your wife before you were married? You dressed in your finest clothes. Others were after her but you wanted to be number one. You would go to the house and escort her to your car. Now married you just beep the horn and yell “Come on, I’m ready.” When you courted her you would put your arm around her as if to protect her. You opened the car door and seat her as if she were china. Now it is every person for themselves. You are half way down the street and she has not shut the car door yet. Now the marriage is simply a business partnership.
Where did the tenderness go? Where is the consideration you once had? You are good at making her cry, why not be good at making her laugh? Pray this, “Lord, make me a blessing to my wife.” If dad is a great lover, his boys will be great lovers too. If dad does not show much love for their mother, they will behave the same way toward their wives. Like begets like.