“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.”
the weaker vessel
“Vessel” here is a utensil. We find utensils around the house. Every house has pots, pans, dishes, china, cups, and silverware. The word came to mean instrument. The Old Testament uses the term “vessel” for a vessel in the Tabernacle or Temple. It was something set aside for particular use. God sets the wife aside for special use.
The adjective implies that the husband is a vessel too. The wife is the weaker instrument.
God so sovereignly arranged creation that he built authority into it. God designed man to operate under authority. This authority comes out of the Trinity itself because the Trinity operates in authority. 1 Corinthians 11 shows how this principle relates to husband-wife relationship.
1 Corinthians 11:2-3, “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”
There is alignment in the Trinity. There is a hierarchy of authority in the Trinity. The head of Christ is God, the Father. The alignment of the Trinity is Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The Father has authority over the Son. The Son has authority over the Holy Spirit.
All three persons of the Trinity are God. They are one in essence, yet align themselves hierarchy of authority. Each person of the Trinity has a role. The Father plans. The Son executes the plan. The Holy Spirit reveals that plan to the world. This does not make the Holy Spirit any less God than the Father or Son. It is simply his role.
God created the male first. The male, therefore, has priority in his role. He needs authority to carry out his responsibility as head of the home.
1 Cor 7:9-11, “Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.”
The man depends on the woman to a degree, and the woman depends on the man to a degree.
Role in a relationship has to do with function, not person.
If the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit operate under authority, should not the wife as well? It is not a matter of her person but her role. As the Holy Spirit is no less God than the Father or Son, so the woman is no less a person than her husband.
For society to operate correctly, it is necessary to have authority. Authority gives the order to institutions. The husband is also under the authority of Christ in the marriage relationship. Proceeding from the Trinity, Paul argues that the head of man is Christ.