What does God expect from husbands?
I have often heard that women speak far more than men. Often this is attributed to cultural background or even loneliness. But, apparently there’s a biological explanation for the reason why women are chattier than men. Scientists have discovered that women possess higher levels of a “language protein” in their brains, which could explain why females are so talkative.
Previous research has shown that women talk almost three times as much as men. In fact, an average woman notches up 20,000 words per day, which is about 13,000 more words spoken than the average man. That’s right…men on average speak only 7,000 words per day. In addition, women generally speak more quickly and devote more brainpower to speaking. Yet before now, researchers haven’t been able to biologically explain why this is the case. Recent research from the University of Maryland conducted research to find a biological basis for why women tend to have a natural gift for gab. They discovered higher levels of language protein in the brains of women.
Apparently, Peter was well aware of this difference between men and women. After all, when he gave instructions to wives on how to relate to their husbands he used 131 words (NKJV). When he gave direction to men, however, he used only 34 words. Peter used 3.85 times more words to speak to wives than to speak to husbands. But you object that this is a translation. Well, in the Greek text, Peter used 97 words and 25 words for women and men, respectively. The Greek text has 3.88 times more words for wives than husbands.
Basically, Peter gives two directives to wives.
- Wives are to be submissive to their husbands
- Wives are to live in humility–a balance of outward and inward adornment
Even though Peter uses few words to address husbands, his imperative is equally as demanding. So, how is the husband to live in the marriage relationship?
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. (1 Peter 3:7)
As in the case of the wives, Peter mentions two responsibilities for the husband.
The husband is to love his wife
Peter introduces his comments by connecting what he is going to say to husbands with what he has already said to wives. Just as wives are to be submissive to their husbands, husbands must submit to the Lord and demonstrate this submission by meeting the needs of their wife.
Paul says it this way, “…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:20-21) Paul then continues on to address the roles of wives and husbands. God has defined the roles within marriage. Wives and husbands are to ultimately put their focus on God.
The husband is to dwell with them [their wives] with understanding. The terminology used here emphasizes the continuous duty of the husband toward his wife. Part of the idea here is that the husband is to know (with understanding) his wife intimately. The idea is presented five times in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 22:17, 24:1, 25:5; Proverbs 19:14; Isaiah 62:5) where it means “to live together as husband and wife” or “to co-habit.” The understanding–the knowledge–has to do with sexual relations.
The dwelling of which Peter is speaking is for the husband to attend to the needs of his wife and perhaps to even garner general knowledge about the marital relationship. Peter is emphasizing the importance of the physical aspect of marriage. The husband is to live with HIS WIFE sexually according to understanding concerning how to fulfill the sexual needs of the wife.
This is important. In the marriage relationship, the husband is called to be the husband. Peter probably is compelled to present this command to husbands because this is not natural for them. Men have a difficult time expressing love and being tender towards their wife. Peter maintains that the husband must become the lover in the marriage relationship.
Marriage is not about sex. It is about relationship. Men are not so good at this. The physical aspect of marriage is not an end in itself. It is not done for the pleasure of the act. It is the start of the relationship. It is intended to build relationship. That is why God desires us to have monogamous relationships; we cannot have an intense and true relationship with multiple partners.
The husband is honor his wife
The second responsibility of the husband is to give honor to the wife. This is the only place in the Bible that uses this expression. In this passage, giving means “to render as due.” What is to be given? Honor! The passage emphasizes that duty of the husband is to continuously honor his wife. The wife is to be loved into subjection not forced into subjection.
The husband is to honor his wife in two ways:
- He must honor her as the weaker vessel. In this context, he must protect her. This passage does not say the wife is weak, but that she is weaker. Before God, both the husband and wife are weak vessels. But in the world in which we live, the man is generally stronger than the woman. Peter is speaking here of her physical state and not her spiritual state. I find that women are generally spiritually stronger than men. In Peter’s mind, honoring included protecting.
- He must honor her as she is a joint-heir of the grace of life. The wife is a partner with her husband in the spiritual facets of salvation. While the wife is weaker in authority because she is under the leadership of the husband, she is equal to her husband where spiritual privileges are concerned.
Why should the husband honor his wife?
The husband is to honor his wife so that his prayers may not be hindered. If the husband does not honor his wife, the husband’s prayer life will be affected. The word hindered means that his prayers will be obstructed–they will not rise to the divine throne. The husband/wife relationship works out in two ways:
- They are partners in the physical realm because they produce children.
- They are partners in the spiritual realm because they produce answered prayers.
But if discord exists in the marriage relationship, their fellowship will be disrupted. The controlling force over this fellowship is THE HUSBAND. He is responsible for maintaining the peace in the marriage relationship. Unfortunately, husbands seldom take on their God-given responsibility. Ultimately, if there is trouble in the marriage, the fault falls to the husband.
The husband is called to be the lover and the leader of the marriage relationship. When he fails, the marriage does not reach its full potential.
I found a list of basic rules for the husband and wife to observe to maintain the peace and welfare of the home. 
- Maintain absolute honesty in order to have a basis of mutual confidence.
- Keep lines of communication open. There must be a constant readiness to talk things out. When steam is allowed to build up in the boiler, an explosion is inevitable. Talking things out includes the willingness for each to say, “I am sorry” and to forgive—perhaps indefinitely.
- Overlook minor faults and idiosyncrasies. Love covers a multitude of sins. Don’t demand perfection in others when you are unable to produce it in yourself.
- Strive for unity in finances. Avoid overspending, installment buying, and the lust to keep up with the Joneses.
- Remember that love is a commandment, not an uncontrollable emotion. Love means all that is included in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is courteous, for instance; it will keep you from criticizing or contradicting your partner in front of others. Love will keep you from quarreling in front of your children, which could undermine their security. In these and a hundred other ways, love creates a happy atmosphere in the home and rules out strife and separations.
How are you doing?
Men this is a charge to you to become the lover and leader in the home.
 MacDonald, William. Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. Ed. Arthur Farstad. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995. Print.
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