Saturday, May 05, 2012

Protect Your Wife from Fear

My purpose in writing today is to encourage husbands to help their wives in overcoming their fears.

1 Peter 3:7 says, "Husbands, likewise, dwell with [your wife] with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered."

In the verse 6, Peter had encouraged women to follow Sarah's example of godliness and as part of that encouragement he told them that they would truly be her daughters if they do good and are not afraid with any terror. The HCSB translation says it this way, "if you are not frightened by anything alarming." That is a major goal of Christian growth for women. But it seems to me that we as husbands have a major responsibility in helping her in this process. That is why we were told to live with them with understanding and giving them honor.

My point today is to encourage you as a husband to be the kind of protector of your wife that God wants you to be. Verse 7 of this passage tells men to dwell with their wives with understanding as the weaker vessel knowing that both husband and wife are heirs together of the grace of life. We are to understand that our wives are prone to various fears and it is our responsibility to help them so that these fears can be minimized or eliminated. Everyone has fears of one kind or another. Do you know what sort of fears your wife is especially susceptible to? If not, you need to work on your level of understanding of her needs and desires so that you can discern those fears.

This works itself out in several ways. First, I think it means we shouldn't belittle their fears. If we live with them in an understanding way we will not imply that their fears are stupid. That approach doesn't help them with any fears they may have and instead it makes them hold their fears inside and  may reduce their trust in our ability to protect them.

Second, we should be careful about what information enters their mind and heart. They don't need to know about every news story we have read that involves murder, kidnapping or rape. I'm not suggesting censoring or monitoring their TV viewing. I'm just saying we shouldn't bring extra things to their attention that they don't need to hear. In a similar way we need to be careful what we watch in their presence. We may enjoy a good murder mystery, but if such programming causes them to be afraid, we should forego our own preferences in order to serve them.

Finally, we need to be careful not to raise fears about our faithfulness in our love and the marriage promises we made.  As Christian men we have made a promise to love and protect our wife and we must be faithful to that promise and not give her anything to worry about. We've recently known two families that have been ripped apart by men who have broken their marriage promises. These men have put their wives in a position where they are fearful for the future -- fearful for their future well being, their means of income, their provision for their children, etc. This kind of behavior is wrong for a Christian man. We should not put ourselves into any sort of situation which will cause our wife to fear that we are lacking in loyalty or integrity.

Peter tells us that if we are not providing for our wife in an understanding way, our prayers can be hindered. What kind of Christian can we be if we can't have an effective prayer life?  Let's be men of character and men who have a solid relationship with Christ; men who protect our wives and families and who help to alleviate their fears rather than aggravate them.

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