This is part two of the article series from guest expert Pastor Phil Posthuma. Here are the 3 C’s you’ll want in your next long-term relationship.
We were in the middle of a conversation about submission in the last article, and God’s idea of what that really is. Submission is not about weakness or being the last rung on the ladder. Rather it is strength under control.
It take strength and character to show humility and be submissive.
I saw this played out in my own family growing up. My father was disabled at work. Sometimes he was in so much pain, he’d be curled up in a ball on the floor just trying to keep it together.
When you live in that kind of pain, day in and day out, you get short-tempered. It’s the little things that bother you. There were times during those days when my father could level you with his words.
There were many things my mother would have loved to tell him, but she didn’t. Over and over again I watched her live beautifully before him. And then, even though his pain increased, I watched his heart soften.
My father died at 67. In the last ten years he was funny and engaging, a really great guy to be around.
This is what happens when the people around you live the life Christ wants you to live. Peter puts it this way . . . it’s what happens when others see purity and reverence in your life.
When you stand in front of a mirror, what do you see? Are you an angry person who keeps score or a peaceful person who models purity and reverence? Do you want to change?
All the dating advice in the world can be boiled down to this: quality men are attracted to women who reflect peace, purity and reverence, not anger.
This is the foundation of your beauty, no elaborate hairstyles, jewelry or expensive clothes.
First Peter tells women that instructive words don’t work. Now he says that outward beauty doesn’t make for a stable and successful marriage.
Beauty may be what a person sees at first glance, but it isn’t what is deeply attractive and it certainly won’t cause a spouse to stay. It is your unfading, inner beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that is of great worth in God’s sight and in the esteem of your future husband.
Inner beauty does work.
A woman with great inner beauty is respectful, humble and submissive, she is non-threatening, pure in conduct and words, quiet, calm and stable
You might discount this, thinking that these ideas may have worked 2000 years ago but wouldn’t be significant in today’s society. After all, society has grown and changed since then, right?
But, Peter expected that response, even when those words were originally written.
Peter wrote that what worked for women for ages of time would continue to work; for this was the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. These holy women submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah who obeyed Abraham. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
Fear can ruin your marriage . . . but exactly what fear is he talking about?
You may think of submission as losing control, or giving control to someone else. This is the fear that Peter writes about. Peter asks you to turn yourself over to God and talks about the fear you may have of not fitting in with your friends and other people around you.
He encourages you to stop fearing and start living as an example so you will have a marriage that lasts.
You may be interested to know that submission doesn’t begin and end with the wife.
Next, Peter looks at the men and husbands and says, “Husbands in the same way be considerate.”
Consideration strengthens a marriage. Peter tells men and husbands to be considerate in the same way as he recommends women be submissive.
Specifically, Peter counsels men to be respectful, considerate, non-threatening, honor everyone, be humble like Christ and not pushy as you live with your wives.
This is the man to whom Peter counsels you to be submissive.
“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of water through the Word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
Men who live this way are to give things up in their lives to ensure their wives are pure and holy.
“In the same way husbands are to love their wives as they love their own bodies. He who loves his wife, loves himself.”
As humans though, husbands often want the wife to sacrifice things for him so that he can benefit. It’s human nature. Just as it’s human nature for the wife to want the husband to sacrifice for her.
Why would a wife want to submit herself to a man with a selfish heart?
The call is for husbands to lay down their very life so that she ultimately benefits and submits to a selfless heart. This is the picture of a marriage that lasts.
. . . . treat them with respect as the weaker partner. . .
What does he mean by weaker?
After getting engaged, my bride-to-be and I made a trip to her family’s home where we were attending a family party. After the announcement of our engagement I met her Uncle Art who had a reputation in the family for being just a little different.
After the excitement died down, Uncle Art introduced himself to me and told me he had one word of advice for me in my new marriage: “Just go to bed.” He went on to explain that after we were married I would want to stay up with my wife and wait for her to go to bed, but I shouldn’t. “It’ll be 11pm and she’ll be starting a new project and you’ll think, I’m the man, I can keep up with that. Then it will be midnight and 1am and she’ll still be working. You may think – ‘I’m the man, I can keep up with that!’ Don’t do that to yourself, just go to bed!”
He turned around and walked away. That was some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten in marriage. The reality is that I can’t keep up with my wife.
So what does Peter mean when he says that she is the ‘weaker partner?’
All he’s really saying is that in most situations a man is physically stronger than a woman. So when you’re doing work around the home, Peter is saying as a husband you need to step in because your body, in most occasions, is stronger and more capable.
And when you do that, you are being chivalrous.
Men are to treat their wives like treasures because they are . . . “heirs with you in the gracious gift of life.”
He tells us that ongoing companionship will work to build a lasting marriage.
In every single one of us is the opportunity every day to experience joy in everything that God has created for us.
In your marriage, ongoing companionship – or enjoying everything that God has for you together – will fortify your marriage. For my wife and I that means skiing together, walking together each day, going out to eat to our favorite breakfast spot, bike riding, watching movies and taking trips.
When we enjoy these things together it leads to . . . and here’s what guys are sometimes missing because we aren’t leading appropriately . . . spending time together you talk and it opens doorways and conversations. You learn more about each other and the outcome is that you’ll naturally bring your concerns before God together.
How can you pray for a husband when you don’t know what’s in his heart? How can he pray for you when he doesn’t know your heart?
When husbands embrace consideration, chivalry and companionship the outcome is the nothing hinders your prayers. And, because you’re praying together, Peter says you marriage becomes an example.
But, since no one else usually sees you praying together, how could you be an example?
Through Peter, God wrote over 2000 years ago what current studies are revealing today.
When husbands and wives pray together about the things in their lives. . . . the joys and pains . . . the success rate of these marriage rises to almost 90 percent. Another study demonstrated even better odds that your marriage would last when you pray together.
Because prayer in a marriage is like glue.
It is truly that simple. You become an example because happy marriage in today’s society are rare.
This is the man you deserve. This is the man with whom you can build a lifetime of happy memories together. And this is the man you can ask God to send you.
Accept nothing less than a man who places God and you before himself.
And your gift is to place God and him before yourself.
When you know his stuff, he knows yours and you pray for each other, strong bonds are formed. When others ask how your relationship is so happy, you can point to God and be an example of what others can achieve.
My prayer for you is that you’ll find men who have the courage and strength to lead prayer time with you every day and that you’ll have a humble heart to join in and respond together. Nothing really happens if your heart is hardened. Change comes when you can humble your heart to hear God’s voice in your life and follow His leading.
Marriage should be filled with joy, life and hope. Remember who you are – you are chosen and holy; set apart by God and examples of what love and selflessness looks like. Don’t take the call lightly.
Jesus didn’t say that you’d have NO trials but that He would be with you through the trials. We ALL have trials and challenges in our lives, but with Jesus the burden is lighter and we have His light to guide us.