When I teach women how they ought to win their disobedient husbands, there are always cries of “What if…?” It’s as if they think their ways are higher than God’s ways. It’s as if God must have left out some vital information that they must teach women. It’s as if God certainly must not know what he’s taking about. “Oh, I tried that but it didn’t work.” Did they really? Is there a time limit on obedience to God?
As I read 1 Peter 3:1-6 the other morning in my quiet time with the Lord, I was once again amazed at the beauty of God’s ways and how absolutely counter cultural they are.
If you are married to an unsaved or disobedient husband, I encourage you to carefully and thoughtfully read 1 Peter 2 and 3 until you grasp what God is saying here. These are God’s perfect instructions to you and how you deal with your husband.
First of all, you are to live in subjection to him (1 Peter 3:1). “But wait, he’s living in sin. He’s not a believer. How can I live in subjection to him?” Because God’s ways are perfect, and this is what He commands that you do in order to win him. No, you don’t submit to sin, but most husbands aren’t asking their wives to sin. Fix what he wants for dinner. Dress the way he wants you to dress. Let him decide what restaurant you eat at, where you go for vacation, and how he wants to raise the children. (The behavior your children see you living out will have a far more powerful influence on them for good or bad then the specifics of how you raise them.) This is living in subjection to your husband. He’s the God ordained leader in your home, even if he isn’t a believer or is living in disobedience to God.
“…they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear” (1 Peter 3:1,2). Conversation in these verses refers to behavior. Is your husband seeing a wife who is controlled by Jesus Christ? Are you loving, kind, joyful, and a servant? Women, this is so much more powerful than any words you can say to him!
“But can’t I point out his sin? Am I to say nothing at all?” How many wives don’t point out their husbands’ sins? How many wives say nothing at all? I venture to say very, very few. This is why there are Proverbs about quarreling and contentious wives. Most wives say way too much! They lecture their husbands, nag, and manipulate them. They think this is somehow going to win their husbands to themselves and to the Lord. It’s NOT! It will have the exact opposite effect. God wants you winning your husband with the way that you live. Your actions are a lot more powerful than your words. Let the Holy Spirit convict him, not you!
Then God goes on to tell us about this powerful behavior that godly woman are to exhibit to their husbands. “But let it be the hidden man of the heart in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4). God wants us to be defined by femininity: gentle, kind, nurturing, serving, loving, not argumentative, not quarreling, peaceful, and good. These are what godly women need to be focused on adorning themselves with, not with the things the world convinces women to adorn themselves with. Those things fade. Godly behavior does not.
“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands” (1 Peter 3:5). What did the holy women of old adorn themselves with? A meek and quiet spirit and submission to their husbands. This is what God tells us makes a woman beautiful in His sight. Are you trying to be beautiful in the world’s eyes or in God’s?
“Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement” (1 Peter 3:6). Yes, we are to obey our husbands. Do you want to know an easy way to recognize a false teacher? One that negates this teaching and tries to convince you that it’s cultural or gives some other reason that they have made up. Flee these teachers!
Obey God. His ways are good. Win that disobedient husband of yours. Show him Christ on a daily basis. Let him see Christ living in and through you. He may not repent and believe in Jesus Christ until he’s on his deathbed, but that’s okay. He’ll spend eternity with Jesus Christ rather than burning in hell for eternity. Keep eternity always in your vision, dear women.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.