These verses are found in 1 Peter 3:3-4 right after Peter teaches how we as children of God should live our lives modeling Christ at the end of chapter two.
Right after, he teaches wives how to change their husband’s behavior. He talks about the beauty of a woman after telling her how to get her husband to do what’s right (in the sight of God, not based on her own feelings, thoughts, or perspectives).
I find that very interesting. Why are these two verses back to back? What is Paul really getting at?
I believe that we as women are taught to manipulate at a very early age and often unintentionally. It starts early with our dad, grandfathers, and other men in our lives who drop everything at the sight of a tear. What do we learn? If we cry, we get our way. And, it grows from there… we learn to manipulate with our feelings, our bodies, our words, and a slew of other little subleties that we learn affect men. And, soon we are both intentionally and unintentionally manipulating in order to get what we want. And, it works. And, if it works – why try something different?
Paul teaches that we can get what we want (a God honoring and obeying husband) by honoring God in our actions rather than manipulating with our beauty/physical attribute/feelings/etc. (I believe). Sounds like it won’t work, right? I know. but, follow us.
As women, what we want most is a husband who loves us like Christ loves the church. A man who loves us in action, one who supports us, listens and gives great advice, makes great decisions, forgives us of our mishaps and never mentions it again, one who takes up for us, one who serves us, and consistently gives us things that we both need and want. One who is kind, patient, forgiving, gracious, has a witty sense of humor, and is respectable, and respected. One that love the Lord, serves Him, prays to Him (with us), and obeys Him THAT is a great guy, right? We all want on of these ones… One that is like Jesus.
We all want that but the truth of the matter is, although we are to treat our husbands as if they are Jesus, we know these guys aren’t. They try,they work hard, and they goal to be all of the above on most days but they fail. And, they fail because they are human beings just like us. Sinful and selfish in nature.
This sinful and selfish natures causes them to… sin. Intentionally and unintentionally. They’ll commit the “big” sins and the “little” ones, too… leaving us wondering who in the world this person is that pushes us closer and closer to the edge on their worst day.
So, what do we do? How do we manage?
As women, our tendency is to talk about it. Face to face. Talk it out. And, discuss and disect. To feel. And, talk about it all, all the way to the smallest detail. That’s what’s natural to us. To our men, these great big men of ours…their nature is say a couple of words side by side and move on. CONFLICT!!!! before anything is even said! Paul’s remedy for this is to not say anything and let your actions to the talking for you. Calm, respectful, peaceful actions. He can be won without a word. Now, don’t take this and run too fast – we can respectfully state our opinions but leave it at that. Then, act respectfully. Not holding grudges, not stomping, not withholding, not neglecting but respecting him and his decisions even though you don’t agree with him. This makes him feel safe. He doesn’t feel attacked and you are leaving the gate open for him to say “Hey, I was thinking about what you said and……”. You aren’t attacking his ego, you aren’t belittling him, or cutting into his pride. You are creating a safe place for your husband to come to you, to partner with you, to confide in you, and most of all – trust you. Trust that he can make a mistake or a different decision without feeling fear of losing your support, rejection, being emasculated, or beaten down. You’re allowing him room to lead with confidence and trust you to do what you’re there for – to help him! He needs it! And,he knows that he can depend on his respectful wife to do just that.
She sounds pretty cool, right???? Her husband will definitely think so!
Now.. that we got through all of that. (You know I’m long winded…. sorry!!)
The beauty of such a woman. A woman like Sarah and Abigail.. the Proverbs 31 woman… the Shunammite woman and plenty of others who were all beautiful not only because of their outward appearances but because of their character, intelligence, discipline, wisdom, sensitivity, obedience to God, and honorable behavior.
Just like a husband can look respectable and desirable based on his outward appearances but could be more trouble than any one is worth because of his character…. Ladies, we can be the same. My husband calls me “The heart of our home” and I believe that every woman is the heart of their home…. We, as women, influence so much of the “feeling” of our home, we impact our husbands and children in ways we do not always realize and it’s our responsiblity to make sure that our homes are taken care of. That the beauty of our character is valued more that the beauty of our apperance. We all love outer beauty but there is nothing like a woman who is strong, respectful, slow to anger, one who always seems to have the right words at just the right time. One who can problem solve, and multitask, who’s discerning, one whose family adores her.
These qualities represent true beauty… they put us in a different category. These qualities honor God…. they will allow us to be used by Him to reach, help, and intervene for others in a way contrary behavior won’t. This beauty in action is of a servant mindset foundationally – always considering the other person before ourselves…
This Godly behavior allows Him to be seen in us which draws people to us and gives us the opportunity to spread the gospel. It allows us to raise daughters who have a standard of character that will require her to seek and trust God, one that positions her to be sought after by a God honoring man, and become the heart of her own home raising God fearing children with character standards set by God.
This beauty affects generations.
This is the behavior described in Proverbs 31 that results in her husband and children praising her.. it causes her husband’s heart to trust her.
She. Is. Beautiful.
….. here’s to endeavoring to immolate the beauty of Christ, to getting to know Him more intimately so that we these characteristics become more and more second nature, and to rejecting the culture’s way of dealing with God’s men in a unGodly way. And, the patience and faith required to do it.
…. here’s to looking past the feelings and hurts of now and focusing on the God given, generation impacting duty of beautiful as an action…. beautiful an act of worship … beautiful as a way of life.