Lesson 21—Understanding Your Wife
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:7
Lesson Goal: To gain a better understanding of the God-given roles in marriage. Today we look with special emphasis toward husbands.
As I write this lesson, God is allowing me to borrow from my now thirty years in fulltime Christian service as a pastor/shepherd. He also allows me to borrow from both an education and background and thirty years of experience in counseling.
In verse 7, Peter uses some very strong imperatives as he writes very clearly and candidly to husbands and their role in marriage. To put it plainly, Peter pulls no punches concerning the role and responsibility of the Christian husband in marriage.
“likewise”—just as Peter previously gave instructions for believing wives, now he gives instructions for believing husbands. Again, Peter reminds his readers of God’s beautiful plan for marriage. Husbands, “likewise” are part of that beautiful plan.
“dwell with them”—This means much more than living in the same house. “Dwell” means live together in intimacy cherishing one another. “Believing husbands must constantly nourish and cherish their wives in the bond of intimacy” (MacArthur).
“‘Dwell with them’ means more than ‘putting up with’ or ‘surviving’” (Swindoll).
Peter is writing about a dwelling together as husband and wife that includes a special closeness physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. He wants the Christian husband to understand that this relationship includes, but goes far beyond, the physical (sexual) relationship. Marriage is a wonderful sharing of the physical relationship. Read Ephesians 5:31.
In the plan and pattern of God, He has ordained marriage between a man and a woman, and He has blessed it and pronounced it a beautiful thing. Inside the context of God’s plan, marriage is fulfilling, exciting, and God-honoring, but outside God’s plan, it becomes polluted and ugly. Satan has placed two prefixes before the word marriage that make it damaging, destructive and demeaning—“pre” and “extra.” All that God wants to bless can be hindered when these two prefixes are attached to “marriage.” The husband and wife are to give themselves to each other; this is the plan of God (Read 1 Corinthians 7:1-5).
But Peter wants husbands to understand that there is much more to marriage than just the physical bond. He writes, “Dwell with them with understanding.”
“with understanding”—Greek word gnosis. Here it means Christian insight with wisdom, with a conscious sensitivity to God’s plan and will. Understanding has the meaning of sensitivity to the wife’s deepest physical and emotional needs.
Again borrowing from my life experience as a pastor, I have found that many husbands only focus on the physical aspect of the wife’s needs, while totally neglecting the emotional aspect. Husbands often take great pride in meeting what they believe to be the physical needs, while totally excusing themselves from their wives’ emotional needs. Thus, Peter writes giving husbands the instruction to “dwell with them with understanding.” The most important ingredient in understanding is time. The Christian husband can only understand his wife by sharing and giving of his time. One survey revealed that the average husband and wife spend thirty-seven minutes a week in actual communication.
For Husbands Only—With total honestly, answer the following question, from the first time you read it looking back over the last seven days (whether you are reading the question for the first time in preparing for class or for the first time in the class).
➢ In the past seven days, how much time did you spend with your wife in actual “together communication time”? Do not include phone and texting time, snoring time, kids time, television watching time or going to ball practice time, just actual you-and-me-face-to-face-looking-each-other-in-the-eye husband and wife communication time. Be totally honest and circle your answer.
Less than 30 minutes
Maybe 1 hour
No doubt more than 2 hours
Pleading the fifth
➢ What are some things you can do to improve your answer? Give specific details.
For Wives Only
In order for your husband to understand you better, are you willing to spend time in a personal way with him?
What are some ways you can improve on making time for your husband? Give specific details.
For Singles Only
What did you learn from today’s lesson that can be beneficial to you?
One of the most important elements of “understanding” between a husband and wife is the investment of time to one another. Read Psalm 39:5 and James 4:13-14.
We do not know the number or length of our days in this life, but let us use the days we have wisely and to honor God.
Something to think about:
1 hour = 60 minutes
1 day = 1,440 minutes
1 week = 10,080 minutes
1 year = 525,949 minutes
Questions for Life Focus
How did you spend last week’s 10,080 minutes?