In the latter part of 1 Pet 2, Peter exhorted servants to be subject to their masters whether they are good or forward. In 1 Pet 3:1-6, he exhorted wives to be subject to their husbands even when they are being disobedient to the words of God. In 1 Pet 3:7, Peter exhorted husbands to fulfill their duties to their wives. And he started this verse with the word “likewise,” undoubtedly indicating that husbands are supposed to fulfill these duties even when their wives are not being subject to them. Husbands, here is what you should do:
Be your wife’s husband – “ye husbands.” A husband, by definition, is contracted by vows and joined by flesh to his wife. She is your wife and you are her husband. As her husband, you must, therefore, love your wife, even as Christ also loved the church [Eph 5:25; Col 3:19]. You must render unto your wife due benevolence [1 Cor 7:3]. You must be the head of your wife [Eph 5:23; 1 Cor 11:3].
Dwell with your wife – “dwell with them.” To dwell is to be a permanent resident. Therefore, you must keep yourself for your wife and no other woman. Paul said, “to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife,” [1 Cor 7:2]. Don’t be lusting for other women. And even through difficulties in your marriage, “Let not the husband put away his wife,” [1 Cor 7:11].
Know your wife – “according to knowledge.” There’s more to staying together than simply sharing the same bed. Even spouses who don’t like each other can have physical relations. Notice, that Jacob had relations with Leah even though he hated her [Gen 29:31-35]. Like Paul wrote in Phil 1:9, your love should abound in knowledge. That is, the more you get to know your wife, the more you should love her. Know her likes and dislikes. Know what pleases her [1 Cor 7:33]. Listen to her thoughts and concerns. Do nice things for her. Really get to know her like no other person in the world.
Give honour to your wife – “giving honour unto the wife.” Aside from the Lord Jesus Christ, she is the number one person in your life. Call her blessed and praise her [Prov 31:28]. Don’t criticize her or demean her, particularly to others. Give her access to you [Est 5:1-3]. Enjoy her company. Compliment her. Thank her. Communicate with her. Remember that she is “the weaker vessel.” Be strong for her, be supportive, and be understanding. She is not like you. Anne packing, and choosing an outfit for her vs. me. Remember that you are “heirs together of the grace of life.” Therefore, rely upon God’s grace to help you honor your wife in her weakness, the same way that she must rely upon the grace of God to help her be subject to you when you are not obedient to the word of God.
Pray for your wife – “that your prayers be not hindered.” There are several things that can hinder your prayer life, and not giving honor to your wife is one of them. In 1 Cor 7:5, husbands and wives can consent together to withhold physical affections for the purpose of fasting and prayer. If you are not honoring your wife, your prayers, even during this time of fasting, will be hindered.
Conclusion: we would have a substantial reduction in divorce if men would fulfill these duties to their wives. Furthermore, if young men preparing for marriage considered these duties before getting married, I believe they would be more circumspect before saying “I do” or “I will.”