1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
The marital relationship is taken for granted in so many cultures around the world, but only in submission to the Holy Spirit does it reach the level that God intended for it. As I tell couples all the time, nothing about marriage is automatic, and expecting it to go well without putting in the effort is a recipe for failure. This verse, though addressed to husbands, contains a key that is essential to both partners: respect. Respect is sadly lacking in far too many marriages, and that is corrosive. There are actually religions and cultures that actively teach against such respect, particularly in the direction this verse is talking about. When the man looks at the woman as being there simply for his convenience and pleasure he loses incalculably. God indeed designated the husband as the head of the organism that is a family, (Ephesians 5:23) but that is a matter of function and not value. As this verse points out, women are physically weaker than men, other things being equal. That has contributed greatly to the physical domination that has been all too prevalent throughout history. However, without his wife, a husband is akin to a two-legged tripod (which is of course an impossibility). Without her, he will fall flat. It is no accident that Genesis uses such a strong term (in Hebrew) when it says God created woman to be “a helper suitable for him.” That word “helper” is used otherwise in terms of military action or even God’s direct intervention. Any man who doesn’t see that his wife is a gift from God to save his bacon needs to have his eyes opened. Respect is integral to that, and is essential from both directions.
Once again I am deeply grateful for the home in which I was raised. There was never any question that my parents deeply respected each other, which was foundational to the love that was so evident. As a result, when it came to marriage I wasn’t just looking for a bed partner, I was looking for a life partner. God fulfilled my search magnificently, and I have been blessed beyond measure. Right now, as she recovers from brain surgery, I am painfully aware of my inadequacy without her, and I rejoice to see her progress as her brain adjusts to the new reality of having a cavity where the tumor used to be. On one level, I am quite capable of doing the housekeeping that she usually takes care of, but that is just a fraction of our life together. She is anxious to recover as quickly as possible to be able to get out of the hospital and return to normal life. I need to help her be patient with herself and her circumstances, looking forward with gratitude to life without the tumor hanging over her, so to speak. I am to support her in every way I can, speaking the truth to her in love on the basis of the respect this verse talks about, so that both of us may continue to grow in Christ as God intends.
Father, thank You for Cathy’s progress. It’s not as fast as either of us would like, but such things never are, and it’s not slow, either. Thank You that our daughters got off safely last night. I do ask Your protection for them and their luggage as they return to their respective families. May all of Your purposes for this hospitalization be fulfilled, for us as a family and for the many who are connected to us in so many ways, for great blessing and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!