Unfortunately, some try to cite the “weaker vessel” portion of this verse in an attempt to make women appear morally or intellectually inferior. The word “weaker”, however, refers only to lesser physical strength and thus greater vulnerability of the wife. Husbands are instructed to “dwell with them with understanding”, because wives are less strong physically and thus more vulnerable.
Husbands are further commanded to “give honor to the wife”. A wife is a valuable gift from the Lord, and should be considered more precious than riches or fine jewels (Prov 31:10). A husband should value his wife, and reserve a special place of honor and love for her alone in his heart. A husband should honor his wife by treating her with courtesy, gentleness, respect, kindness and love.
Also in 1 Peter 3:7, the term “vessel” is used to describe the wife. The biblical meaning of this term indicates something or someone used by God for His glory. It is important to remember that God desires to be glorified through women as well as through men. A husband needs to help his wife become a “vessel for honor” (2 Tim 2:21) whom God can use for His glory.
The importance of a husband’s spiritual support of his wife is clearly seen at the end of 1 Peter 3:7. If a husband does not work at understanding and honoring his wife, his prayers will “be hindered “. The word “hindered” means “to cut in, to interrupt, to have an obstacle thrown in the way”.
This interruption or obstacles in a man’s prayers can mean two things:
- The interference of Satan and his ways into a marriage, through the disunity that results from a husband’s failure to adequately care for his wife.
- God’s potential resistance to those who violate the principles of His Word (Ps 66:18; Prov 1:28-30, 28:9).
In addition to a husband’s prayers being hindered, his ability to spiritually lead his family will also be hampered. It is difficult for a wife and children to submit to and follow someone who does not love them or care for them. Godly spiritual leadership begins with caring for and loving those you lead. This is true both in the home and in the Church. This is how our heavenly Father and His Son initiated the plan of salvation (John 3:16) and how They continue to lead us (Eph 5:1, 2). This is the only way to lead others spiritually.
PRACTICAL WAYS TO LEAD
There are many ways for a husband to live each day as a spiritual leader in the home. The Word of God has hundreds of verses that describe how to love and properly relate to other people. (For example: Matt 6:14, 15; Rom 13:8; Gal 6:2; Col 3:9.) The many Scripture verses that teach us how to relate properly to others should all be studied and practiced, especially with those in our homes.
Also, as you pray daily for your family, the Holy Spirit will show you how to be a better spiritual leader and more effectively meet the needs of your family.