In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. And let not your adornment be merely external — braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands. Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (NASB)
I wonder why Peter devoted six verses to wives and only one to husbands. My first thought is that he had to educate women about how dense guys are. Men, with their caveman mentality and different biological makeup, are very externally stimulated and need to see more than the external if they are going to be obedient to the Word.
I’ve seen some sects that take these verses to mean that women shouldn’t do any of the things mentioned. The verses make no prohibition against outward adornment, but instead, point out that inward beauty will not only help improve their husband but is what pleases God.
The way the world is going now, guys have the same problem. Most think they have to be some kind of macho dude to get the chicks. However, if I develop character that pleases God, I will attract and have a spouse that has the same character. I hope that my character pleases God, as I can testify that my wife attracted me with her hidden person of the heart before we were married.
I’ll let a woman talk about what it means to be submissive to her husband. I need to concentrate on what I should be as a husband and leave that up to my wife. These verses make it clear that I need to understand my wife. I need to make every effort to know what she likes and dislikes. I need to know how to speak to her so that she knows I love her and want the very best for her. I need to treat her with respect and gentleness. Men don’t know their own strength and how easy it is to hurt their wives physically. Neither do they know how easy it is to hurt them emotionally. Then there are some jerks that take the submissive thing to the point that they want to control their wives, physically and emotionally. There is no room for that in the Christian walk. Peter warns me that my prayers will be hindered if I’m not treating my wife the way I should.
Eph 5:25-33 has the most comprehensive prescription for being a husband. A few points from those verses make it impossible to be perfect husband. There is no way I can love my wife with the same unconditional, unselfish love that Jesus has for us. That doesn’t mean I don’t try.
I’m to protect her purity. That means I have to be pure and stay away from any kind of pornography, sexual deviation, greed, idolatry, or any other sin.
Paul says that no one hates is own body but loves it. Some may argue that, especially with the high suicide rate, but even there, a person is trying to do what they think is best for their body by escaping from the torment or pain they are going through. Regardless, Paul is using this to make sure that I know that I need to give my wife the same attention that I give myself.