“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. “ I Peter 3:7
There is no greater poser in the world than a prayerless husband. His pride is the greatest hindrance to prayer. Prayer has the capacity to create an understanding, and caring relationship between a husband and a wife like no other force in the world. Prayer is the one thing most necessary, but it is the first thing jettisoned, right after the wedding.
When a husband prays for and with his wife he is less likely to take her for granted. When his wife hears her husband pray for her, she is less likely to resent what he said or did wrong. If a surprised wife hears her husband admit he is wrong, can the Second Coming be very far away? But I digress.
“Live with your wives in an understanding way” does not encourage a husband to assume that he will ever completely understand his wife. When he prays for her, and with her, he can only take hope in the fact that he is on the right road.
Saying a prayer does not indicate he has arrived at the destination. Prayer enables him to take on fuel for the journey. Words mean things. They don’t always mean what you think they mean. When Dana and I married, almost 38 years ago, we spoke the same language, but we didn’t always use the same dictionary. I would say what I thought, and she would hear what I meant. She would agree with what I said, and I would think I had made my point. It was pretty confusing. Let me explain.
Like most newlyweds, we began our life together with a great deal of love, but really short on cash. I made the observation that we will be fine if we just spent our money on necessities until we saw how our expenses added up during our first month of marriage. Dana agreed. I remember thinking, “That was easy.” When I looked at our joint checkbook a month later, I discovered we didn’t share the same definition of the word “necessities.” I wish I could say, I responded with a caring and understanding manner. Understand what I mean?
Over the past four decades we have learned to pray about EVERYTHING! We have not always been right. We have often been wrong, but WE have been wrong, TWOgether. It is amazing how understanding a relationship can become when both people admit they are not perfect, and they learn to fix the problem TWOgether, and not try to fix the blame one another.
Can I get a witness?
After three years of marriage, Dana made a statement to me in our kitchen in Houston, Texas. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the words, “You criticize everything I do.” To her surprise, and to no less my own, I agreed with her. I know it was not the first time she had said it, but it was the first time I had heard it. For three years I had ignored her voice, but this time God enabled me to hear her heart. Prayer does that. I had ignored the wisest counsel I had ever heard in seminary.
A guest pastor, Jack Taylor, had shared with us, “You must receive your wife as God’s perfect gift to you.” His emphasis had been on the word “receive.” I stumbled over the word “perfect.” I had missed his point. For three years I had tried to improve on God’s perfect gift rather than receive the gift He had given me. I had devalued her, not improved her worth.
Prayer is the key that opens the door to understanding between a husband and a wife. It can improve the quality of communication needed in any other relationship. For 2,000 years the reciprocal “one another” relationships found in the New Testament have been the vital signs of Christianity and the anchor points of civilized society. Without understanding people end up screaming at one another, not honoring one another. The headline hysteria of this morning’s newscast and newspaper provide ample evidence of the sad state of affairs in our nation. “Peace on earth” indeed. Husbands and wives must pray for one another, and with one another to find understanding. Prayer nurtures a God-given passion for caring for one another and honoring one another.
NOTE TO SELF: Nothing honors your wife more than saying a blessing over her. Nothing ends an argument faster than being the first one to say, “I was wrong. Can we pray?” Nothing hinders your prayer life more than taking your wife for granted. When you treat her like a disposable red cup, not a fine piece of crystal, God is not pleased. He expects you to receive His gift, not reassess her worth. When you pray with her, you treat her with the honor and respect she deserves. Expecting The Father’s blessing on you, when you refuse to bless your wife is a fool’s flight into fantasy. Don’t be a fool. When it comes to your wife…TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!