Relationship advice for the ladies…Part 2

Last week’s post explored the difference between gender roles. The conclusion was that woman are different to men, and yet equal. We complement each other when we assume the broad roles that God created us to function within. Today we focus on submissions goal, tomorrow on submissions beauty, and then submissions wisdom and few practical questions guys should ask before dating a lady.

2. Submissions Goal is to Win his heart

1Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2when they see your respectful and pure conduct.(1 Peter 3:1)

What would you give as your best relationship advice to a lady in need? Would it be cultivate a submissive heart? Well, Peter is writing to some of the ladies in his church and that’s what he says. They have non-believing husbands. How did this happen? One of three possibilities:

  1. They were both non-believers when they married and the wife became a Christian.
  2. He said he was a Christian and then later it turns out he was never really Christian.
  3. She was rebellious and married a non-believer.

And now the husband is tired of hearing hear moan about church and God and doesn’t want to hear anything about Christianity or religion from her. So Peter has to give her advice on how to heal their relationship and hopefully win him to Christ. And basically he says if he doesn’t want to hear anything about it, that’s ok, win him without a word!

Now, many people will know Augustine as the great theologian but not many will know about his prayer journal which he kept. In his journal he tells of his non-believing father and his Christian mother. This is how his mom did it:

“She served her husband as her master, and did all she could to win him for You, speaking to him of You by her conduct, by which You made her beautiful… Finally, when her husband was at the end of his earthly span, she gained him for You.”

The aim of your submission is to win his heart. It’s not passive. It’s allowing God to do the work in your partner. But the common view, that submission is being a doormat and what is actually needed is action, even aggression is most popular. In verse 4 Peter elaborates and describes submission he says it comprises a gentle and quite spirit. The temptation is always to respond to him by being loud and aggressive. But this is exactly what not to do. Proverbs 9:13 says the foolish woman is loud. Shouting at him, or being aggressive in your words is foolish because you will always loose. He will either return your aggression with shouting and anger. Or you will break him, he will give in and in the long run you will despise him for being weak and passive. There is no win. The Bible describes men as being the naturally harder or stronger vessel (1 Peter 3:7). Peter is saying that the way to penetrate his hard external shell is not shouting, it’s certainly not being aggressive, it’s not making ultimatums, it’s by being gentle, humble and submissive. In fact a kindhearted woman gains respect (Proverbs 11:16).

This is incredibly challenging for a wife. In fact I would say it’s close to impossible (Just as impossible as loving one’s wife as Christ loved the church…soon to come). You can only do this with God’s help. That’s why when Paul speaks to wives and husbands in Ephesians 5 he starts off his discussion by saying to them that they need to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). That’s the only way that you will be able to cultivate kindness, humility, submission and quietness that will win his heart. Perhaps you would like to take a moment know and ask God to fill your heart again.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

–Reinhold Niebuhr


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