The Bible says, Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect (1 Peter 3:7, NIV. The emphasis is mine.)
In order to gain an understanding of this verse, we must know what in the same way is referring to. It is referring to the same verses 1 Peter 3:1 is referring to when it says, Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands (The emphasis is mine.)
Both of these verses are pointing to Jesus as our example. (1 Peter 2:21-23). To this (suffering for doing good and enduring it, verse 20) you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (The emphasis is mine.)
The Websters dictionary defines considerate as having or showing regard for others and their feelings; thoughtful.
So, what might it look like for a husband to show consideration for his wife?
- Get to know how she feels about things. Ask her opinion when making decisions. If she seems upset, ask whats upsetting her. Listen to what she says. If you aren’t sure you understand, or even if you think you do, ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand her. Once she agrees that you’ve understood her, ask how you can help. Does she need a hug? Prayer? Just a sympathetic ear? Advice? Help with something?
- If she does something to offend you, gently tell her that she has offended you. Don’t assume that shes aware of having offended you. If she apologizes and asks you to forgive her, do so, and tell her shes forgiven. If she asks how she should handle it differently, tell her. Gently instruct her. Don’t assume she thinks like a man.
- If you are upset and need time to cool down, tell her you need to be alone for awhile to cool down and think things over, with the assurance that you will discuss it further later. Don’t just withdraw and leave her wondering what she did wrong.
- Don’t ask her to go against her conscience. If she feels what you’re asking her to do is wrong, look for solutions, rather than getting upset with her because she disagrees with you. Jesus died for your wife’s sins. What are you willing to do to help her walk in holiness?
- Tell her when she looks nice or when she does something well. Everyone needs encouragement. When things are going well its easy to take a persons good behavior for granted. Then when they do something that annoys us, we zero in on it.
I discovered this with our children when they were young. In order to help me become more appreciative of how often our children were being good, the Lord once had me put a tally mark on a card for everything they did right. It took less than a day for me to realize that was an impossible task because they were good about 90% of the time, but I had only been focusing on the 10% that demanded my attention and needed correction. That day I repented and focused on praising them throughout the day. It was amazing how that positively affected their behavior!
Husbands, be respectful and considerate with your wives, and you may find that they respond very favorably. But even if they don’t, entrust yourself “…to Him who judges justly…” (1 Peter 2:23, NIV) and do it as “…for the Lord…” (Colossians 3:23, NIV)