Calvary Road Baptist Church

“ADVICE TO A SINGLE MAN ABOUT MARRIAGE” Proposition #10


Proposition #10: "Dedicate yourself to knowing your wife."


First Peter 3.7

 

Turn to First Peter 3.7: “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.”

Two years ago I preached a series of messages taken from First Peter 3.7 and titled “Husbanding.” In that series I dealt with the first word of this evening’s text, the word “likewise.” I pointed out that in the case of both wives, verses 1-6, and husbands, here in verse 7, the Apostle Peter directed that as the Lord Jesus Christ set an example for us by suffering without guile, without reviling, and without threatening, so should husbands endure suffering following Christ’s example. I then proceeded to define what a husband is and why someone wants to become a husband. There are a variety of reasons why someone would want to be become a husband, most of them not being good reasons. There is also a good reason to want to become a husband. I then addressed the problem of how to be a good husband, illustrating the how and why so many guys who are husbands are really lousy husbands. Let me be clear in saying that we have some really good husbands in our church.

It is not my purpose to revisit the details of good husbanding this evening. Any guy who wants to improve his husbanding can do so in a variety of ways, including going to the church web site and reading those sermons, as well as by inviting me out to lunch for a good old boy discussion of husbanding a wife. However, may I make a comment to you ladies here this evening before zeroing in on the guys? Granted that no adult can actually control the behavior of another adult, since any adult can just take a walk from a marriage anytime he or she wants to, I maintain that there are things a woman can do to avoid being treated like a door mat by a man. Let me make mention of one thing a woman can and should do.

If you take a look at First Peter 3.2, consider the reference to fear: “While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” Some women live in fear of their husbands. They give evidence of being utterly terrified their husbands will say nasty things to them, or being afraid their husbands will leave them. May I say that no Christian woman has any business fearing her husband in this way? It is just wrong. The fear spoken of in verse 2 is the fear of the Lord, not the fear of a man. Women who live in fear of their husbands in this way actually work against God effectively dealing with their husbands. It is no surprise to me that a woman who fears her husband in this way has a man who usually does not respond to the gospel. No woman who fears her husband in this fashion has a genuine fear of God, which is the beginning of the kind of wisdom needed to influence her husband without undermining him.

That comment out of the way, let me state the final proposition in this series for you men by way of advice to a single man about marriage: “Dedicate yourself to knowing your wife.”

Peter indicates that men need to “dwell with them according to knowledge.” However, prior to dwelling with a wife according to knowledge you have to know. There are, obviously, many things a man needs to know to be a good husband, a successful husband, and a God-honoring and God-pleasing husband. Certainly, one of the areas of truth a husband needs to know is that which gives him a deep understanding of the woman he is married to. This knowledge is not easy to acquire and does not come quickly to a man. Sir, you need to be a student. You need to be a researcher. When it comes to the woman you are married to, or the woman you hope to marry, you need to be a real academic, because she is one subject you simply must know.

There are two avenues of truth about your wife that you need to explore, with the first source of information being obviously far more reliable than the second source of information, as you will see for yourself:

 

First, YOU NEED TO STUDY GOD’S WORD FOR KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR WIFE

 

I am continually amazed at the number of men in the world who claim to be Christians, while at the same time placing their wives on a pedestal that gives them godlike status. That is a terrible mistake for any husband to make, in light of what God’s Word teaches us about wives:

First, what God’s Word teaches us about the very best of wives. Who do you think qualifies as the very best wife a man ever had? That is to say, who was the most perfect, the most ideal, and the most unaffected by sin wife any man ever had? Was it not Eve, the woman created in sinless perfection by God to be the wife of sinless Adam? What things do we know about Eve from God’s Word? Was she not spiritually deceived by the serpent, according to the Apostle Paul in First Timothy 2.15? Then, once she was deceived and transgressed herself by eating the forbidden fruit, what did she do next? She gave to Adam and he did eat, Genesis 3.6. Despite the history of Eve, a surprising number of men have such a view of their wives that they are to be implicitly trusted regarding all things spiritual, and their judgment in matters pertaining to God, pertaining to worship, pertaining to service, and pertaining to the priorities of life are not to be doubted for a moment. Is that at all appropriate, especially for a man married less than twenty or thirty years?

It is true that Proverbs 31.11 reads, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.” However, it must be pointed out that no one is thereby encouraged to trust his wife in such a manner. No woman is trustworthy just because she happens to be married to you. Rather than assuming your wife is worthy of your trust because you love her and she is likable, the Bible suggests the contrary, since the woman who is due that kind of trust from her husband is said in the previous verse to be very rare: “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” Thus, we see that trustworthy wife, that woman a man’s heart can safely trust, is one of just a few women in existence. She is a most precious gemstone of a woman. Not to say that you should not love your wife, should not like your wife, or that you should in any way denigrate your wife. However, sir, you should know your wife well enough to know what she is not, as well as what she is.

Next, God’s Word also teaches us about the very worst of wives. Have you ever considered Sarah? You might say to yourself, “But Sarah was the godly wife of Abraham.” For the most part, you are certainly right. However, at a crucial time in Abraham’s life Sarah lobbied him to yield to her wicked temptation and sire a son by Hagar.[1] She was a good woman until it was crucial that she be godly, and then she tempted her own husband to do wrong. How about considering Rebekah? We know that she was a great comfort to her betrothed after the death of Isaac’s mother.[2] However, at a critical time in the lives of her aged husband and her twin sons, did she not conspired with Jacob to thwart the will of her own husband, Isaac, and deceive him into blessing with Jacob the blessing that was intended for Esau?[3]

I am not suggesting that these women, or others I could show you in God’s Word, were by and large terrible women. However, it is clear that the best of wives occupy a position in their husband’s lives that enables them to eventually do the greatest damage, damage no obviously wicked woman could cause. As well, keep in mind that the longer a man is married to a woman the more damage to him she can cause for him if he fails to lead her properly, or if he gives his strength to her as Proverbs 31.3 cautions men not to do.

Please note that I am not arguing for the superiority of any husband over any wife, because while a man might trust a truly virtuous wife, I think no wife should trust her husband. Marriages should not be so much based upon trusting your spouse, because only the rarest of women is the kind of woman who merits her husband’s trust. Neither should marriages be so much based upon loving your spouse, though love is commanded, love is important, and love covers a multitude of sins. Marriages should be primarily based upon serving God and seeking to exalt the Savior. Can this woman help me to serve God? Would this woman serve God on her own if I was not in her life? If she loves God and seeks to bring sinners to Christ, since I love God and seek to bring sinners to Christ, perhaps we should consider traveling through life together as husband and wife, doing as a team what we would be doing on our own as single Christians. After all, I am attracted to her, and she to me. That, in my opinion, is the proper sequence and basis for a marriage. Spirituality, emotional compatibility, and physical attraction. However, you are now married, and it is too late to select a wife on that basis. What it is not too late, is for you coming to a rational understanding of who you are married to in light of God’s Word. No woman is always on her husband’s side. Women can be very self-serving in their influence of their husbands. Therefore, every husband needs to be spiritual, needs to cultivate wisdom, and needs to know what God’s Word teaches about everyone, including his own wife.

 

As Well, YOU SHOULD STUDY YOUR WIFE SO THAT YOU MIGHT KNOW HER PERSONALLY

 

First, as you study, observe, and learn your wife, do you learn that she actually knows Christ? It is not an automatic, you know. Your wife does not have to know Christ. It is possible that she is not a Christian. Guys marry women and later discover their wives are not converted. If she is not truly born again, should that not affect your relationship? Not that you should not love and care for her, but that your spiritual leadership becomes all the more critical. I am not suggesting that you look for evidence of faith in her life. After all, Abraham had faith for more than ten years before he was justified. So, you do not look for evidence of faith in your wife’s life, but for evidence of spiritual life. Do you know how to do that?

Next, as you study your wife, do you learn her level of commitment to serve God and the spiritual equipment God seems to have given her? I am not speaking of her desire to control those around her, or her insistence on telling people what to do. I am speaking of her spiritual gifts and her disposition, if she is truly converted. As well, does she seem to possess wisdom? Does she fear God? As well, how do those around her impact your ability to lead her? Some wives are difficult to lead while their parents are still alive. Others are difficult to lead while their children are living at home. Still others are difficult to lead when they work and generate an income of their own.

There are some wives in churches who have an amazing level of commitment to Christ, and whose husbands have very little difficulty in providing spiritual leadership to them. There are other wives in churches who are very difficult to lead, and their husbands are severely taxed to provide spiritual leadership to them. Additionally, there are also husbands in churches whose operational assumption is that their wives are always right and that’s that. Anything that their wife is against is evil and anything their wife is for is good. In other words, they simply do not exercise discernment with respect to their wives and they tend to function in accommodate wifey mode most of the time. Such men seemingly ignore the lessons that could be learned from Adam’s experience with Eve, from Abraham’s experience with Sarah, from Isaac’s experience with Rebekah, and others.

 

This message is like the others in that it is not a thorough discussion of the issues addressed. Rather, it is an eye opener, a starting point for the serious consideration of issues related to single men and marriage. However, to quickly review, there are a set of priorities.

Your spiritual condition comes first. Then there must be a way in which a wife is sought. If things are done backwards the whole thing is messed up. It ends with a husband, or a husband to be, dedicated to knowing his wife so that he can dwell with her according to knowledge. How pleasant this is for a woman, to be attended to by a man who seeks her hand in marriage, or who seeks her welfare during marriage.

To study her, he must pay attention to her, he must listen to her, he must observe her, he must think about her, he must pray for her, he must study God’s Word with her in mind, he must take note of her behavior, and he must develop some skill in predicting her actions and reactions so that he might provide spiritual leadership without being bossy or oppressive.

As he comes to know the woman he is married to more thoroughly, he also learns a great deal about himself. He learns how she comes to compliment him by knowing her strengths and his own weaknesses, her weaknesses and his own strengths. There is no disloyalty in discovering and knowing your wife’s shortcomings, just as there is nothing wrong with her knowing your shortcomings.

However, it is crucial to know what those shortcomings are, what those tendencies happen to be, how a man’s woman is prone to succumbing to this temptation or to that, so you can love her as Jesus commanded, so you can sacrifice for her which is what love does, and so you can portray to her the role Jesus occupies in His relationship with the church as she is guided by your love and encouragement to portray the church in relation to you.

How difficult is it to be the husband of a wife? It is so difficult that it cannot be rightly done unless and until the husband is filled with the Spirit of God.

This brings to an end the series I have titled Advice To A Single Man About Marriage. Let me state the ten propositions a final time:

 

Proposition #1: “Tending to eternity is more important than tending to matters of marriage.”

Proposition #2: “Consider marriage only if you need to consider marriage.”

Proposition #3: “Recognize the wisdom of planning for marriage.”

Proposition #4: “Recognize the potential for danger when dealing with women.”

Proposition #5: “Commit to finding a woman to marry, rather than being found by a woman to marry.”

Proposition #6: “Expect no woman who will not follow you prior to marriage to follow you after marriage.”

Proposition #7: “Consider no woman for marriage who does not love your God, embrace your Savior, and like your pastor.”

Proposition #8: “Recognize the danger of anyone marrying soon after conversion.”

Proposition #9: “Purpose to conduct your marriage as a spiritual leader.”

Proposition #10: “Dedicate yourself to knowing your wife.”



[1] Genesis 16.3

[2] Genesis 24.67

[3] Genesis 27.1-13



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org