“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7, AV)
In 1975, I was stationed in the U.S. Army in Germany. One of the first things that I discovered was very strange. While walking down a corridor in one of the base buildings, I heard someone shouting at the top of his lungs in a one-sided conversation. He was on the phone. At first, I thought he must be very angry with the person on the other end. However, that was not the case. The conversation had to do with normal business. I discovered that the issue was the phone system. Nearly everyone had the same problem. The phone system used by the Army was either pre-war or World War II vintage. It is just the way it was.
When I was promoted to a staff position and had to use this archaic phone system myself, I discovered how difficult it was to communicate with someone on the other end. Often the connections between two parties were dropped and at other times, even with shouting the person on the other end could barely hear you. It had something to do with resistance in the connections that impeded effective communication.
Peter wrote a short verse to the Christian husbands indicating that how they viewed and treated their wives would affect their communication with God. The standard for living in a marital relationship is very high. Often men have a worldly tainted view of marriage and their wives. It is for this reason that there is so much domestic abuse in society. Men must understand a few things. First, and this should be no surprise, the husband must love their wives. The standard is very high as we consider Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25, AV).
Along with this, husbands must not be “bitter against them” (Colossians 3:19, AV). In other words, the husbands must not be abusive, either physically, verbally, or mentally.
Husbands must also honor their wives as the weaker vessel. The word “honor,” time, refers to high value and in this context, high esteem, high honor, precious (Strong G5092). Husbands are to hold in their hearts their wives with the highest regard, realizing that they are the weaker vessel. Men must consider them as fragile and do everything possible to protect them and keep them from breaking.
Finally, Peter indicated that husbands must understand that the women are co-heirs with the men in “the grace of life.” If the wives are believers, this is especially true as the wives are also citizens of heaven. If the wives were not believers, they are still joined together with their husbands in the common grace of life together. In both cases, God had joined them together and they are participating in life together (Matt 19:6).
Peter’s grand conclusion is that if the husbands do not treat their wives with love and honor, their prayer life will be ineffectual. Why is this? It is because a failure to love and honor the wife is to mistreat her, and this is sin. Moreover, sin will break down the line of communication with God (Ps 66:18). God provides a way to restore the lines of communication. It is confession (1 John 1:9).