Living with your wife in a misunderstanding way, as with someone stronger...

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Under the post titled "Men and Women as It Ought To Be," a couple men objected to the post. They commented that my commendation of Russian men helping women across streets indicated I was a chauvinist fool, and to prove their point they went on and on about how strong and bright and competent women really are. I put my response here because it's possible I will not get to writing another post today, and I hope this will be helpful to some of you living with your wife in a misunderstanding way as with someone stronger. Smile.

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Dear (brother),

Thank you for your comment. Maybe you think a man who holds up honorable gentlemen for emulation, calling attention to the feminine vulnerability that prompted those men, logically leads to the conclusion that the man who holds up honorable gentlemen for emulation is a chauvinist, misogynist, fool? 

I would not have survived my mother, let alone my wife and three daughters, had I been a chauvinist. As a matter of fact, were I to choose a woman to escort me across the street when I was feeling a bit intimidated by the horns and wet pavement and semis, it would be my wife. For sure. Our family and church family well remember the evening she was so frustrated by the IU basketball traffic on IN 37...

that she got out and directed it. She has—how you put it, muscle tone?—combined with what New Yorkers call chutzpah. If she were a man, we'd call it something else but she's a beautiful woman and it would be appropriate to call it that.

Honestly, man, to go from what I wrote to what you wrote is absurd. Why do you find it infuriating to have me ask a Christian man if he believes and teaches and lives with his wife and daughters "in an understanding way as someone weaker" when this is the clear doctrine of Scripture and God commands it? Is this really the rebelliousness men of your sort have chosen?

It's very sad for a Christian man to mock the servant of God who proclaims the beauty of manhood and womanhood and to think one's making mockery of that pastor is to strike a blow for the weaker sex.

So now, again; here is what I was saying by the wonderful post above, and by my comment to Bob:

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (1Peter 3:7)

You see, Bob and Dan, that it is a command of God foundational to the relationship of the sexes (not "genders") that man is to live with woman just as the husband is to live with his wife, in an understanding way. And the center of what he is to understand is that she, being a woman, is "someone weaker." The Apostle Paul doesn't define the weakness or its extent. He doesn't say every woman is smaller than her husband or has less muscle tone in her forearms. He doesn't say to live with our wives as someone dumber, but "weaker." 

Can we please teach this, or are we such slaves of Satan's deceptions that permeate our rebellious culture that simply to raise the subject is to commit an unpardonable sin?

Then this:

But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. (1 Corinthians 12:20-25)

Combine the two commands of the Apostle Paul and we see precisely what I said in the headline of this post and what all gentlemen believe: that because of her "weakness"—again, God's Word, not mine—we must not despise her. We must not say to her as gay men and chauvinists do, "I have no need of you." 

Rather, the members of the body that seem to us to be weaker are necessary. They're not to be dismissed or taken advantage of or looked down on, but to be given more abundant honor and prized so that the members of the body have the same care for one another.

Here the Apostle Paul speaks of the Church and her members, but this is the way chivalry and etiquette developed, also. Men help daughters, mothers, wives, and grandmothers across dangerous streets because they hold precious the weaker sex and want to treat it with even greater honor because they understand that sex's weakness and because they love their daughters, sisters, grandmothers, wives, and mothers.

Finally, if you object to my saying that such behavior is simply to be a Christian, consider that the Holy Spirit declares through the Apostle Paul in the 1Peter 3 passage above that those men who refuse to live with their wives in an understanding way as with someone weaker will not be heard by God when they pray. This is what I meant when I said to Bob that it is to be a Christian. To obey God is to live by faith. It is "the obedience of faith." Every command of God gives the one confessing faith in Jesus Christ one more opportunity to be a Christian.


Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!