The Weaker Vessel
(1 Peter 3:7 KJV) Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
I realize in writing this Meditation that some women may only read the “weaker vessel” part of this scripture and be offended by it. I also realize that some men may only ready the “weaker vessel” part of this scripture and feel it gives them license to control or abuse their wife. Both of these are extreme thinking and have absolutely nothing at all to do with the beautiful truth of this scripture. As a matter of fact both extremes are usually the results of previous wounds.
One of the main points of this scripture is to show that unhindered prayers are the result of honoring one’s wife. That being the case, then it would behoove us to first determine what real honoring looks like and is it the same for every couple.
Even though there are similarities in showing honor…my wife may consider being honored different than what another man’s wife would consider being honored. I have come to the conclusion that only the woman herself really knows when she feels honored. The fact is what may be considered showing honor and love to a fragile woman would stir up wrath in a strong secure woman because she feels she is being patronized.
One woman may feel honored when her husband does things around the house such as washing the dishes, cleaning the house and doing the laundry. These are certainly admirable things to do and I would not discourage doing any of them, but I think Peter had something much deeper in mind when he wrote our text.
After many years of working with people I have come to the conclusion that there is no set law as to how to show honor.
I have also come to the conclusion that the average woman carries a bigger load in life than the average man. This could be because of personal gifting, or because they are married to weak “leaderless type husbands.”
Being a husband and a father of three daughters makes me a natural protector. This is one of the ways (certainly not the only way) that I show honor. There are certain things that a protector sees in others that make him want to react, even when it is not his right to react.
I was sitting in an airport the other day and I saw something that made the father part of me want to respond. I saw a young mother coming down the corridor with a baby in one arm and a large bag on the other arm, pushing a baby buggy filled with other bags, as well as having another little child walking by her side. She looked like a pack mule following her husband who was only carrying the tickets.
My mind immediately went back to a few years earlier when they stood at a marriage altar together repeating their wedding vows to each other. As a blushing bride, she would never look more radiant than at that very moment on her wedding day. There is nothing more precious for a bride than to hear the man of her choice show his love to her by making his wedding vows to her.
Now, a few years later the same man who made those “forever” vows to his bride is dishonoring her by making her a pack mule in front of the whole world. What happened?
Apparently Peter was aware of this problem in the family even in his day, and thought it necessary to show the relationship between showing honor and getting ones prayers answered.
Help us to look for ways to show love and honor to our mates and not to take each other for granted. I realize that love gives us liberty to relax around each other, but help us not to take that liberty and show dishonor.