A template for marriage

1 Peter 3:1-7

Jerry A Collins




v          Is marriage 50-50 or 100-100 percent?

v          Why should a wife submit to her husband?

v          How can a Husband live in an understanding way with his wife?


Once again, the Bible speaks to us about the subject of marriage. It is not a 50-50 proposition but 100 percent a wife being a wife and 100 percent a husband being a husband. There is no distinction between men and women in the body of Christ—Galatians 3:28. However, as in the Godhead where there is equality of persons, there are also differing roles. So, too, in marriage and the Bible is very clear about this. And each partner in the marriage is responsible to God for his or her role in it. So, what does Peter have to say to us about our roles in marriage? He has some very specific things to say—some of them unlike what our culture wants us to say and do.


A wife lives in submission to her husband 1-2 One of the biggest differences between a girl and a woman is how they view the commands of God. Because submission is something commanded by God, a wife should view her obedience to her husband in relation to God. Husbands really have nothing to do with it other than the fact that he is the recipient of you pursuing a right relationship with God. If a girl has learned her responsibility to submit to God, parents, spiritual leaders and govt, early in life, she will not find submission to her husband difficult to accept. This command does not require women to submit to men in general but to their own husbands as a function of order within the home. Even in scenarios where a believing wife lives with her unbelieving husband she is not free to not be submissive. The promise and hope is that he may be won to the faith through her behavior. That behavior is described as ‘chaste’—she is not a flirt. Her behavior is also ‘respectful’ vs 2. Her ways and not her words is the key to her influence. She does not attempt to seduce or manipulate her husband; to cleverly control his decisions or reactions. Not behavior that is talkative but tactful ‘won without words’. Her submission then, gives her the opportunity to reveal a virtuous and respectful character.

Her submission reflects the quality of her spirit 3-5 Submission is an adornment to women reflecting the quality of her spirit.

Verse 3 On the positive side, Abigail was both ‘intelligent and beautiful’ 1 Sam 25:3. On the negative, Jez ‘painted her eyes and adorned her head’ 1 Kgs 9:30. Jewelry, clothing, make-up not sinful—but becomes wrong when value placed on them for purpose of enhancing one’s quality and character. Adornment is never a supplement for a quality spirit. That spirit exists with or without it and is never dependent upon it 1 Tim 2:9. Verse 4 Instead she should focus on her inward qualities. Something which is precious in the site of God—an eternal and heavenly focus not an earthly priority. Prov 11:22 says a beautiful woman who lacks inner beauty is ‘as a ring of gold in a swine’s snout so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion’. A woman with a gentle and quiet spirit—an imperishable quality (one that never fades or loses it’s luster) is of great worth to God. So if you desire to honor God by pursuing what is precious in His eyes, then let it be a gentle and quiet spirit not rebelling against what God wants—tho difficult to accept and obey. A girl will attempt to do accept and obey even if she hates doing what is rite. A woman accepts and obeys because she loves doing what is right in God’s eyes.

Verse 5-6 The spirit which underlines her submission is crucial. Submission reflects her strength not her weakness. Great examples of godly submissive wives were those who submitted because they hoped in God not in their husbands. If you hope in God you will never be disappointed. If you hope in yourself you will be frustrated. If you hope in others you may despair. Sarah is an example of hope in God. She, Peter notes, is the best example of submission because she understood it’s meaning and significance from God’s point of view. Rather than shying away from her responsibility to her husband, she emphasized it, by calling him her master. This is not something weak women do. It takes strength of character to give up the desire to rule your husband. It can be very frightening to obey rather than control, to submit rather than rule. But that is what God commands you to do. And this is what Peter meant when he said ‘…you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear’ vs 6. Abe had many strange and fearful things God called him to do. He also did some very foolish and sinful things all on his own. But Peter says she submitted and becomes an example of that for wives even today.


Almost like a footnote, husbands cannot just be passed by. There are four things to keep in mind:

1. Dwell together with your wives. To remain in the marriage and live with her not apart from her. She is your ministry and she is your priority. Dwell together with your wives not your vocation and not even your children. So marriage becomes a high-risk, irreversible, permanent decision by a husband to place a wife ahead of everything for the rest of our lives together. Establishing a household together.

2. Dwell according to knowledge. It is not nearly enough to just endure a marriage but dwelling with her ‘with understanding’. It is knowledge gained about her—her spiritual, emotional, physical needs. Becoming a student of her and spending the rest of your days together becoming worthy of her submission—making it less arduous for her to submit. That means learning and applying all the expectations God has for you as a husband. A husband never has an excuse to not know his wife. Marriage is not just an arrangement it is an investment. Husbands always learning—not ignorant. Becoming a husband is the most stretching thing a man can do.

3. Dwell with her as a weaker partner. This may allude to the physical differences between women and men—but may point to the weakness of role she has in the relationship. Submitting in the relationship places her in a position of vulnerability. She can easily be taken advantage of or exploited or unloved—God never condones this.

4. Dwell together as a fellow believer. Your wife is first your sister in Christ. She is not my personal property. She is God’s child and all I have done is taken on more responsibility not to just be a man but before God to become a husband. But I do that in the context of our relationship together with Jesus Christ. I grant her that honor. That relationship takes precedence over all others. She has the HS and a disciple.

1. There is no such thing as mutual submission—else there is no submission since no-one in the relationship has the authority. There can be mutual agreements but God has given the husband the headship responsibility he must fulfill to God.

2. Both the husband and wife are responsible to God but neither are responsible for the others responsibility

3. Husbands must establish a rela with his wife that creates a new household. Not one interfered with by the church, parents, friends or each other but together. Be a student of your wife—what makes for good relationships; what specific things make her happy, grumpy, hurt, insecure; how your relas with your parents effects your wife.