1 Peter 3:1-7

Peter moves on from his discussion of Christian slaves and their masters in which he called upon slaves to be good and reliable workers who respect their masters for the sake of the Gospel, and now applies the same thinking to marriage.

Marriage is an interesting relationship: Two people love one another, live together and relate on multiple levels with each other… and they get to know each other for all of their faults, and all of their strengths.  They see each other at their worst and at their best, and they have times of bliss and times of turmoil. Peter teaches that each is to put the other first.

He tells wives that they should submit to their husbands, as Paul says that wives should obey their husbands. Peter says that husbands should be considerate to and give respect to their wives. Paul says that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave His life for her.  Even though some today would be critical of these comments, in truth, allowing for the fact that Peter and Paul wrote in a very different cultural context, the message is really the same: Each should put the other ahead of themselves.  For one thing, this is a recipe for a happy marriage in most cases, for another reason, this is how we are supposed to treat everyone. It is how Jesus behaved toward everyone also.

Sadly, as in some other areas, there have been those who used Bible passages for selfish purposes at various points over the years, using selectively some of these injunctions to assert male dominance over women.  People who deliberately misapply Scripture are called “false teachers” by the Scriptures, and in our time, I think that it is important that we not allow the sins of false teachers to sour God’s Word for us.  The whole point of these passages is to demonstrate what Christ’s love looks like in action in various everyday situations.  Oppressiveness toward one’s spouse can hardly be called the love of Christ.  Putting the interests of the other person first, even when they are not being very lovable, is always Christ-like.  Being abusive and then citing the Word to justify it is downright evil.

Putting others first, is very much like something Jesus said one day.  It’s a rather famous statement, and I’ll bet you’ve heard it once or twice: Do unto others as you would they should do unto you.  Yes, that’s it, the Golden Rule−  That is how husbands and wives are supposed to behave toward each other. So, one cup of the Golden Rule, plus a teaspoon of forgiveness is a good recipe to begin a happy marriage.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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11 Responses to Marriage

  1. photojaq says:

    Treating EVERYONE with respect and deference. I like that.

    • It is sad how good people are at categorizing others, then using those categories to justify disrespect. Jesus did not say we need to agree with them, just to show them the same love we would want to receive (esp. if the roles were reversed).

  2. Tom says:

    I always try to remember to be like Jesus—He put me before His own self and gave His life for me. It is not about me, but God and others, including my wife. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Living for each other as Jesus lives for the Father, as the Holy Spirit lives in the Father’s children. That’s what it’s all about. Love acts in patience, kindness, respect, joy, self-control, humility, grace, and generosity. Thank you for this post. May the Lord bless you. Karen

  4. Sue Love says:

    Thank you. This was good. The Lord had me write on the same passage today. It is titled, “What’s Your Purpose?” We came to some similar conclusions. I liked the points you made here. Being Christ-like is what it is all about.

  5. heatherjo86 says:

    This is so true. The Bible offers so much advice to help create a strong family foundation. I recently read an article that was full of scriptures to help build a strong marriage, improve communication, even help with raising children. Here’s a link:

  6. SLIMJIM says:

    ” one cup of the Golden Rule, plus a teaspoon of forgiveness is a good recipe to begin a happy marriage.” Love that!

  7. Pingback: Marriage | A disciple's study

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