THE BOTTOM LINE
"It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman." (Prov. 21:19). "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." (1 Pet. 3:7).
High maintenance wives and low tolerance husbands can make for much "distress at the address." While conflict resolution isn’t always possible in marriage, conflict diminution is. Here are a few suggestions from the Apostle to husbands:
First, in order for husbands to understand their wives, they must first undertake to live with them. Desert lands and house corners (Prov. 21:9) may provide sanctuary when times are rough, but they’ll never produce understanding. You must live with your wife -- eat her food, sleep in her bed, carry her groceries, put up with her quirks. Our children will come and go, but our wives are a part of us (Eph. 5:28).
Second, husbands must understand only their wife. What makes someone else’s wife mad, sad, or glad is irrelevant. Another man’s wife might be prettier, smarter, holier, more organized -- but those are not cisterns he drinks from (Prov. 5:15), nor chides his wife to become like. He accepts her as she is -- not as he thinks she should be or once was. A woman who marries thinking her husband will change, and a husband who marries thinking his wife never will, are in for an education.
Third, understanding wives requires knowing they’re wired to think different. A weaker vessel isn’t an inferior vessel; only a finer one. Sterling crystal isn’t pewter. If a husband can’t be gentle in his speaking and patient in his listening, then his prayers will be treated accordingly. Hindered prayers come from hindered carefulness.
Lastly, granting honor to wives controls granting answers to prayers. The initiative in this granting is the husband’s. He must promote the honoring, which means if there are conflicts, he should promote the reconciliation. Christ did for His bride.
How we live with our wives tells others how Christ lives with us -- a true husband who doesn’t live in a desert because of our astronomical maintenance. He understands our frame, that we are but dust -- a dust cherished enough to die for (Eph. 5:25) and to be made a fellow heir with Him.