After writing the Womanual explaining the husband’s role of understanding his wife (I Peter 3:7), some have asked why I didn’t touch on the previous command of wives living in silence. The short answer, is I wanted to help men and their wives by helping men understand women. Peter has a lot to say, however, regarding the mirrored principle of women understanding men.
“Likewise you wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, when they see your reverent and chaste behavior.” (I Peter 3:1-2 RSV)
To sum up this article and Peter’s point, men aren’t good listeners, therefore women should learn to speak man language.
Women often think that their primary tool of communication (talking) is the man’s primary tool. Look at the last women’s outing at your church or home, what did they do? Regardless of the activity, there probably was an unceasing buzz of conversation. Compare that to the last few man activities I have been to. Splitting wood, field dressing a deer, playing basketball… Not much chatter, but a whole lot of unspoken conversation. Even when men do sit around and chat, there is very little personal sharing and lots of action.
The man’s primary tool of communication is action. This is why Peter commands the wives to speak in guy language, the language of action. Do not expect your man to be fluent in your language. Men believe what they see. This principle is made excessively plain and understood be anyone who wears make-up.
Actions are much more convincing for a man. Your husband may be able to counter your arguments or make excuses for his actions, but can your husband truly hate you for making a meal on time, or bring logical syllogisms to bear when you are availing yourself intimately?
Secondly, everyone hates a convictor. Men (and women) naturally despise being told what to do. Let your man wrestle with the Holy Spirit. Let your man see your unselfish works and actions of love and wrestle with his own guilt. If you step into his battle and tell him what he should or shouldn’t be doing it is the marital equivalent to visiting a war ravaged country, and you become the primary target.
Those in conviction love to blame it on anyone that makes them feel guilty.
One of the tensions in marriage especially if the wife is more spiritually inclined is that the man feels trapped by his wife’s conscience. If the wife is continually telling her husband what he should be doing (going to church, disciplining the kids, quitting a habit, dieting, etc.) the husband’s natural response is going to be defense.
It should be noted that the wife is normally saying all of these statements out of a deep sense of care and concern for her husband (after all, if he smokes his health will suffer, if he doesn’t come to church, his soul will suffer, if he keeps eating junk food his cholesterol levels will spike, etc.) but the problem is the man will invariably see these “love statements” as attacks.
It will not take long before the wife’s good intentions frustrate the husband, and the husband’s refusal to change will frustrate the wife, which will result in more talking which will result in more defense. The man will do less, so the woman will talk more. God’s model is much simpler and productive.
It is imperative that we understand this principle in context. Even though a marriage relationship will be beautiful if both parties are following God’s pattern, contextually Peter’s main point is we are to submit for God’s sake (2:13) by imaging Christ in trials (20-24).
God loves to give his children good things, and wants us to have good marriages, but never at the expense of our marriage to Him.
We are to obey God, not because it transforms our marriages, but because it brings honor to God. I understand that there are many men who are very difficult to live with and this article is not designed to be a tool for men to be selfish. I would ask that both genders consider the question, “What better plan can we come up with than what God has clearly prescribed for peace in our home?”