“When they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”
Verses 2-6 show the wife the kind of behavior that wins her husband.
When they observe your chaste conduct
When non-Christian husbands witness the powerful testimony of a pure life of his wife, it will thaw his icy heart. She is to do this without becoming preachy to him (v.1).
“Observe” – even the hard-hearted husband will pay attention to a pure life. “Observe” means to investigate his wife’s life intensely. The close husband-wife relationship will reveal the reality of Jesus Christ in the pressures of marriage. The husband cannot miss what his wife is truly about. He cannot overlook her salvation and the impact it made on her life.
As soon as the husband can see for himself the reality of Christ in his wife’s life, he will have the greatest opportunity to accept Christ. He may not listen to her verbal witness, but he cannot help but observe her life. He looks, not listens. He waits to see if there is a change in her life.
“Chaste” means pure. It may carry the idea of blameless in this verse. This is purity in the broadest sense, not just sexual purity. It is the life that permeates everything that the wife does. Her husband observes every decision she makes, every action she takes with her children.
Non-Christian husbands will judge Jesus by their wives.
The husband largely configures his view of Christ by what he sees in his wife. He judges Christ by the way his wife lives before him. If his wife has a sharp tongue, a yen for gossip, or an uncontrollable temper, his view of how to live the Christian life.
Some Christian wives neglect their husbands by church work. If her husband views the church as a rival lover, she undermines Christianity to him. Do not love him out of necessity but out of joy.
Other wives unintentionally portray the idea of superiority over their husbands when they become Christians. This is deadly. He may feel that he has little in common with his wife. He may infer that he is no longer necessary to her or even that she does not love him.
The picture here is of a mature woman who can stand independently in the face of adversity from her husband. Even though he may treat her poorly, she does not interfere with the Lord’s work on his heart by complaining. The following verses show the specifics of what wins a husband – inner beauty.
The husband will respect his wife’s testimony. He will watch to see if there is any change in her life. Is she just as short-tempered as she always was? Is she still as critical as she was? Does she nag like she used to? If this is true, what kind of salvation is that? He does not want it.
Incompatibility of belief does not justify the dissolution of marriage. God designs marriage as a symbiotic relationship. Marriage is a delicate relationship balance. Both husband and wife contribute to that balance even though they may not share the same faith.
This verse does not argue that the onus for the marriage relationship rests on the wife. She does not merely exist to meet the needs of her husband, nor is she to subsume her mind, opinions, or dreams so that she is nothing outside her husband. The biblical view of the wife does not ask her to live her life vicariously through her husband. The Bible expects her to reach the potential God designed for her.
Many husbands, like bloodsuckers, drain their wives of everything. They render little in return. Some husbands think that there is an inherent superiority in their role. The Bible argues for authority of position, not person. Christianity argues for mutuality in marriage, not individuality. Individuality is the central thesis of much of modern thinking about marriage.