Whether this applies to you or not you will know this passage has caused much arguments and sadly pain as Christians take Peter’s counsel and apply it to suit their desires.
Peter didn’t write it for the purpose or intent for harm at all.
He is writing a section teaching essentially about what to do with the freedom Christ has given the believer. Firstly under human authority, finding the right attitude in life and then being a slave. He then moves onto another illustration of our relationships in life.
He uses the imagery of a wife who becomes a believer but the husband doesn’t. How should the wife live with someone who doesn’t share her faith?
He then speaks to the Christian husband who is wanting his prayers to be answered and says how he lives with his wife (whether she is Christian or not) is key to that prayer life.
So here is the passage:
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (1 Peter 3 v 1-7)
Some observations …
To the Christian wife
- There isn’t any encouragement to leave.
- There isn’t instruction to speak the gospel to them.
- There isn’t any command to view their marriage as less important to God.
- There isn’t justification to not participate and give into the marriage.
- There isn’t a need to fear.
To the Christian husband
- If you want God to listen to you then make sure you listen to your wife, think of her when you make decisions, have her at the centre of how you live.
- If you want God to listen to you then treat her differently to how the world objectifies women.
- If you want God to listen to your prayers then view her as your equal for that is what she is according to Christ.