A Wife’s Attitude Toward Her Husband

The principle of treating each other with respect is given to the wife also. To be in subjection to is defined as patient respect. The wife's attitude of acceptance and respect can win over the husband who isn't walking with God.


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again my dear radio friend. How in the world are you?You doin’ all right today? Or, because some of you listen very late at night, I ought to ask you, “Are doing all right tonight?” Well, whenever it is and wherever you are, God bless you. This is your good friend, Bob Cook. And I’m glad to be back with you to look at the Word of God.

We’ve been walking around in the book of 1 Peter. We’ve now come to the third chapter, where Peter begins as the saying says, to meddle a little. And this is what he says to the distaff side of the house. “Likewise,” says he, “ye wives…” Now why does he say ‘likewise’? Because the principles which govern every segment of society in Christian parlance, turn out to be just about the same even though their application may be different. He has been speaking to everybody generally.

And he says, “You’re strangers, foreigners, in this old world system; you’re pilgrims, you’re on your way to the heavenly city. Have your lifestyle honest among the people around you so that even though they criticize you they may later glorify God when they see the real truth about you. “Keep the law,” said he, “submit yourselves to every ordinance of man. And remember that you’re free but don’t use your freedom to hide your own faults and, and greed.” Free and not using your liberty as a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants — ‘slaves’ is the word. The noun doulos or douloi, the plural — the servants of God.

So then he gets into the various segments of society, and he starts with slaves, or servants — we call them employees today. “Employees, be subject to your employers with al respect; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward” — that word froward is an old English word that means ‘absolutely impossible to get along with’. And he goes on to say that if you’re criticized and buffeted for your faults, well that isn’t any benefit — you had it coming. But if when you do the right thing and you’re criticized for it, when you, you take it patiently, this is acceptable to God. And then he said, “Christ is our example, Christ is our example.

Now with all of that, to the servants… Then he comes and he says, “Likewise, Christ is our example,” see? He suffered, He left us an example, He lived a holy life — did no sin. No guile in His mouth, no vengeance in His attitude. But absolute commitment to God, who never makes any mistakes. That’s what he said there in the close of, of 1 Peter 2, you recall that? Now he said, “You got that in mind. Jesus did all that. Now likewise, if you’re a wife, then what? You apply the same principles in your own life.

Now how does that work out? Well it works out in your attitude towards your husband. And as is so common, many a dear, mature, emotionally grown up lady is married to an adult child who never really grew up, and who then is unpredictable, and irascible, and irresponsible, and all the rest as well. Many times as not, really being a believer, not wanting to be one. So what do you do about that? He says, “Be in subjection to your own husbands in order that” — now see, this is the reason, the reason that you maintain a position of respect and co-operation, even with an unsaved husband is that if, in order that — see, this is the purpose. “If any obey not the Word, they also may without the Word be won by the lifestyle of the wife.”

Because they are watching your holy lifestyle, coupled with respect. And they see — verse 3 — that “what makes you attractive is not what you put on, but the person” — verse 4 — “that lives inside your heart. Now that’s what Peter is saying. This is a hard passage to deal with, especially in our day when women’s rights have come into very sharp focus in the thinking of millions of people. At the very outset when I came to become president of the college back in 1962, one of the first things that I established was the pay scale. And I told the faculty, “I think that women’s brains are, are just valuable as men’s and they ought to be paid the same for doing the same kind of work and teaching.”

And so we established that early on, long before there was a furor about it, and I’m glad that that’s so. ‘Equal pay for equal work’ is a pretty good principle, and ought to be followed. Women’s rights have now come into the, into the place where the, the idea of the woman being in all respects the, the head of the house, many times; and we now have what we call ‘house husbands’ who stay home, and do the cooking, and take care of the children. And the lady is the breadwinner.

Well I’m not prepared to criticize any who are doing that — that’s, that’s up to them. It, if it works out that way, all right. God still says in His Word that a saved wife… We’re talking now about Christian wives, aren’t we? He’s talking to people who know the Lord Jesus Christ, and own Him as their Lord. A, a person who professes Christ as Lord, and who knows Him as Savior, what should be her attitude, then, toward her husband? Well, the, the word ‘be in subjection’ is the old word patience, hupotasso, ‘stay under’ — don’t, don’t pop up, blow up, or give up. A, a position of patient respect.

Now I’ve discovered that even though the people I meet from time to time may be inferior in some respects, they… and they may have faults that are quite glaring. If you observe any of these individuals, you’ll find that there’s always something about them that you can appreciate and respect. If you take that statement as a principle, you’ll find that your relationships with people of all kinds is immeasurably improved.

Karl Rogers says in his book ‘Client-centered Therapy’, that unless a client — he calls them clients, I presume that’s because he gets paid for treating them. (Laughs) Well, generalize on it. Unless a person with whom you are dealing feels that he is accepted and, and appreciated, and beloved — accepted, respected is the word; accepted, respected and beloved — you won’t make any progress with him as a therapist.

And he gives the illustration of a boy who was completely uncooperative, hostile in his attitude toward everyone — especially toward his therapist, and who refused to wear clothes, and who smeared the, the walls of his room with his own excrement — unspeakably dirty, and uncooperative, and all of that. And yet there was entrée made somehow into the personality of, of that little patient because the, the physician followed his own advice and accepted him as he was, respected him for the human being he was, and loved him in spite of his dirty condition.

See, everybody you meet will have his or her faults. And if you happen to be married to somebody who has his or her faults, daily contact seems to amplify the faults — have you noticed that? It’s like picking at a scab everyday, until it becomes a sore. A, a little fault grows into a big one. It’s amplified in your, in your awareness of it because you’re exposed to it everyday.

“Now,” he said, “be in subjection, patience and respect.” What is it that should be our aim in all of this? First of all, face the facts. He says, “If any obey not the Word, the real problem is not whether or not you are treated properly. The real problem is this person doesn’t really know the Lord, and doesn’t know His Word. If you look at it that way, you get rid of the feeling of personal affront that builds a wall between you and the other person.

If you realize that the real problem is not between you and your husband, or between you and your wife, but between that individual and God, it takes a lot of the sting out of it, and you stop defending yourself because all of a sudden you are on the side of God. And you’re praying, and you’re reacting to situations is going to be altogether different.

Does God love this person? Yes. So will you. Does God exercise patience and long suffering this person? Yes, the Bible says so, and you observe the fact that it is so. God is patient. Well, then so will you be. Does God do the things that, that seek to win this person to Himself? Yes, He does. “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance,” says Paul. So indeed will you. If you see the problem of an unsaved mate, not as being a personal affront or a personal inconvenience, but rather the fact that that person needs to get right with God and His Word — it takes the sting out, it takes the affront out, it takes the offence out, it makes you have a different attitude toward the whole situation.

Now, a lot depends on what you’re after. We have that little phrase, ‘Be won’. What are you trying to win? Well, it must be admitted that many people are trying to win an argument. I know some people with whom you cannot win an argument. Because after you have presented the best logic you can, there’s always something else.

Do any of you old-timers remember the cartoon strip called ‘Andy Gump’? You have to be pretty old to remember that. Remember him? He was a cartoon character with a, an enormous bald head, a big protruding nose with a moustache under it, and then a, a small chin. Remember Andy Gump? I forget the name of his wife, if she had a name. But periodically the cartoonist would have them arguing about something. And they would go on arguing until finally they would turn out the light, and in the darkness, Andy’s wife would say, “And another thing…” (Laughs) Or he would say, “And another thing…”

What is this? Well, it’s the attempt to win an argument. I suppose all of us have that tendency in us, don’t we? I’m sure I do. But you see, everything depends on what you’re trying to do. Are you’re trying to win an argument, or are you trying to win a person? We’ll get at that the next time we get together.

Dear Father today, oh help us to specialize in winning people. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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