“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.”
as to the weaker vessel,
This phrase says that the wife is the “weaker” vessel. In what sense is the wife weaker than the man? Is she weaker mentally? Obviously not. Many women are more intelligent than their husbands. Is she emotionally weaker? Many women are stronger emotionally than their husbands.
Is the wife physically weaker? There are some aspects of physiology in females that are stronger than males. Women can take more pain than men. If men had to bear children, humanity would have ceased to exist millennia ago! We would hear about the pain of childbearing for the rest of their lives! Females do not have the same bulk or over-all bone structure as males. They cannot lift as much weight. They have broader hips so they can bear children. Physical weakness may be the point here, but there may be another issue.
Another possible thrust of this passage is that the wife is susceptible to her husband because God placed her husband over her to be her guardian. God made her feminine. Her husband has authority over her in the marriage institution.
Genesis 3:16 says that God placed a “desire” for masculinity in the female.
“To the woman He said:
‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.’”
The word “desire” means that the woman’s orientation will be to her husband. She will be husband-centered. Her whole life centers on him. When she irons, she irons for her husband. When she goes to the supermarket, she looks for T-bone steaks because that is his favorite meat.
Many men do not realize this. Most women do not say, “Do you realize why I cooked this meal today? I cooked it for you.” She has one gear — her husband. She may be the top surgeon in her field, but she is still oriented toward masculinity. She may not be cognizant of it. If her husband does not show appreciation for this orientation, she may begin to feel resentment toward him. She may not quite know why she feels this resentment.
Remember the Frito-Lay potato chip ad – “I bet you cannot eat just one.” That is the point of the weaker vessel. The male meets something in the female that she cannot have apart from him. Both husbands and wives are vessels, but God placed the male over (“rule”) the female in marriage. She is weak only in that sense – in the sense that God gave the male the leadership of the home.
Husbands operate in different fields of operation. They operate by categories. A woman has but one category (her husband). Men operate in separate categories. When he goes to work, he pleases his boss. When he plays on a team, he does it for the team. When he loves his wife, this is yet another category. If men do not realize this difference, they will have problems in marriage.
God designed the woman to respond to masculinity.
Some men feel that their primary responsibility from God is to repopulate the human race. No, his primary responsibility is to guard his wife’s soul. That is why the Bible calls the wife the weaker vessel. God made her insatiable when it comes to her husband.
Let us suppose you have an insatiable desire for potato chips. You must have them. You may be very strong physically, but physical strength has nothing to do with this. All this makes us weak by one thing – the desire for potato chips. The woman wants her husband to fulfill her. No matter how noble or how great she may be in life, she will be insatiable toward her husband’s leadership if she is truly feminine. (This does not imply that a husband can meet all of the needs of his wife)
This insatiability makes her dependent on her husband. That is why she is the weaker vessel. This starts with being “boy crazy” in her teens. Most women, no matter how poised they may be now, went through that stage. They discovered the male of the species.
This means that the woman is empty. She orients to her husband. She finds out what pleases him. Her main occupation is to please her husband. This is why some women put up with some of the worst critters in the world. She wants to surrender her soul to him. Here is where rapport begins.
If there are two people in any institution, one must have the authority to have smoothness of operation. Biblically, authority goes with the male. He may or may not be capable of handling this authority, but, in principle, he has this authority.