WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A “1 PETER 3 WIFE”?

Sometimes the situations we find ourselves in our marriages just seem hopeless. We ask God, “what are you working out here in my life? What is your ultimate aim?” Well, I found myself in just this position and discovered not only an amazing God who truly loves me, but a call by him to be the wife he wanted me to be . . . a ‘1 Peter 3’ wife. The transformation that took place, not only in my own life, but in the life of my husband and family too, was nothing short of a miracle and an outpouring of Christ’s grace upon us.

I invite you to follow my story over the next few days, to witness the supernatural work of grace that worked within my life and marriage and the radical changes that took place.

When my worse came to worst

Firstly, I must remind you that as Christians we must always be alert for the enemy who is prowling for when we take our eyes off Christ. This enemy is satanic and very real with strategies and battle plans drawn up to hurt, to incapacitate God’s children. This is a reminder that we are daily in a war and need to wear the armor that God provides to his children (Galatians 6: 10-20). None of us should think that certain things will never happen to us—that’s just what I thought . . . and it happened!

The minutiae of my story is not important for what I would like to share with you, other than the fact that my marriage was not where it should have been and was therefore not glorifying God. We were a totally dysfunctional family, to quote a much-used phrase, which summed us up perfectly. My husband and I were not only traveling along different roads to each other, we were living in different universes! I didn’t know what to do. I felt as if I had lost my husband, whom I loved and cared for deeply. When we got married I was in it for the long haul, I had promised before God; “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part.” My ‘worse’ was happening!

I began to study God’s word to seek help for the situation. What was clear is that this situation we were in didn’t “just happen.” It wasn’t just a disconnection with each other; ultimately it was a disconnection with God! I could find a million faults with my spouse, but do you know what? God said, “let’s start with you”! We have since attended a Paul Tripp marriage course ‘So what did you expect?’ at which his opening lines are, “The biggest problem in your marriage, is YOU!” This made me smile, because that is just where God started, with me.

Standing by him when he didn’t “deserve” it

Those around me saw the deep pain and hurt I was going through. Even Scripture seemed to be saying that there was a way out if I wanted it. Friends were saying; “Let him go, he doesn’t deserve a wife to stand by him, move on.” But I knew in my heart of hearts that this was not what God was calling me to do. I did not have a hard heart (Matthew 19:8), and that seemed like the only reason Jesus gives for divorce. I still loved my husband and God gave me an enormous burden to pray for him and to continue to love him, not with my feeble earthly love, but his powerful, all sufficient love.

My study into God’s word took me on a personal journey to somewhere I had never been before. My Christian walk with God, up until this point in my life, had been a bit like viewing a mountain from a plane. You see it, you know it’s there and you are amazed at all it is. However, it is not until you are actually hiking in the area where the mountain is, experiencing the little valleys and outcrops and all that is entailed in climbing that mountain, that you really understand and appreciate it and truly know it. I know this is a simple analogy, but what I’m trying to say is that until you spend time with God alone, reading his word, discovering who he really is and praying and talking to God as ’Abba’ Father, you only see and know him from a distance.

The verses that changed my life and marriage

At this time I started journaling. I was finding it very difficult to control my memory and thought process, so writing out Scripture and what I was learning through God’s word was extremely helpful. When the nightmare I was living in overwhelmed me, and it often did, I would find myself climbing up onto my Father’s lap in prayer to just babble and cry. This was the start of a prayer life that became a vital part of my everyday life!

Then one day I stumbled, or rather God directed me to, a Bible verse that literally changed my life.

“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” —1 Peter 3 1-6

So one day I stumbled, or rather God directed me to a bible verse that literally changed my life; 1 Peter 3 1-6.

I understood this in relation to a Christian woman being married to an unbeliever, but my spouse was not behaving as a believer who loved and obeyed God’s word. I felt so very strongly that God was calling me to stick with him. I had spoken at length to my spouse, with regard to how he was living and behaving. However, I was seeing the speck in his eye when there was a plank in my own (Matthew 7:3). I had tried everything humanly possible, but to no avail. When sin has a firm grip on our hearts, we often don’t want to hear what others have to say. The only one who can ever call us out of our sin is Christ Jesus (Luke 5: 31-32). I can even remember a time when my husband actually told me it would take a miracle for him to love me again.

Although I am normally a very outspoken woman, I had to learn to be quiet and through God’s help I began my journey to becoming a “1 Peter 3 wife”! If you knew me you would know that this is humanly impossible. However, with God’s grace and love within my own heart, he began a work that although is still in progress, transformed my life and marriage to nothing short of that miracle my husband said needed to take place!

Treating my husband as Christ has taught me

Another verse I kept very close to my heart was Psalm 46: 10: “Be still and know that I am God.”

Every time I struggled with a situation, a harsh word or unloving act—even with what was going on in my head and the daily battle of life—I would speak this verse to myself over and over again. I had an artillery battery of verses that I drew upon when weakness was ready to overwhelm me. The Psalms became a daily precious friend, which I drew upon to give me strength when I was at my lowest ebb. And when I felt I couldn’t pray, I would just read these precious words out loud as my prayer to my Lord.

At this time a dear Christian sister helped me to see past my earthly husband and look to my Heavenly Husband. Until this time in my life I had never considered The Lord Jesus Christ as my husband, but wow! what an impact this view and concept had on my life. It helped me see things in a totally different light. Christ was my Heavenly Husband who loved me and promised to love me forever. He would never let me down and would always be there for me, he would never leave me for another. He wanted me to enjoy him; He longed for me to long to spend time with him.

Discovering His real love

I had been a Christian for over 25 years and, sad to say, I did not feel this way towards my Heavenly Husband! It made me look at how I had been like an unfaithful spouse to my Lord and savior, the one who loved me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3); the one who had only given me good things; who took on human flesh; who lived a perfect life and gave his life for me and took my place where I deserved to be because HE LOVES ME. This is real love! This is love that radically melts the hardest heart and impacts lives forever and this is the love my Heavenly Husband has for me! This totally blows me away every time I contemplate this truth, even now as I write, it makes my heart leap and fills me with an immeasurable joy at what Christ Jesus has done for me.

Was it too much that my savior was calling me to give grace after all that he has done for me? It put the whole of my life in a better perspective. It changed how I look at not only my husband, but also my children, my parents, friends and family, in fact, everyone I meet! I don’t want them to see me; I want them to see Christ because only He will make a difference in their lives, not me; him. It’s not what I do or say that will ever change anything, but Christ calls us all whether we are married or single to live only for Christ.

Our dear friend, Lorraine, is sharing her story this week. Please follow along! (If you’re just joining us, please read part 1 and part 2 of Lorraine’s story first.)I totally loved being a “1 Peter 3 wife,” and do you know what? I had fallen in love with my Heavenly Husband and things slowly began to change in my life and in the lives of those around me. Now my focus and the aim of how I lived my life was changing. I found myself wanting to obey my Father and what I read in his word, not out of a duty, or because of what I thought was expected of me, but out of love for Christ Jesus.

Finding internal adornment

A true “1 Peter 3 wife” is encouraged even more to carefully to obey God’s word; that by her probity, the qualities of having strong moral integrity, honesty, uprightness, and virtue, she might allure her husband to faith in Christ Jesus. In my case, I helped my husband remember who was Lord of his life, turn away from dangers of evil sin, and repent. The passage goes on to say in verse 3 that a ‘1 Peter 3 wife” must not have her adornment externally, but internally! I could so relate to this, for I had lost a lot of weight, tried to get into shape, wore nice clothes, and kept my hair nice–all to try and get my husband to love me. None of it worked!

The whole way and purpose of living a ‘1 Peter 3’ way actually liberated me. I was no longer “trying” to make my husband love me—I now lived only for Christ. I remembered that Christ loved me before the foundation of the world, even while I was still in my sin. I kept in mind that even if my husband no longer wanted to remain my husband, it was not my problem, because God was the only one who could change him. My call was to follow Jesus’ command in Matthew 22: 37-38; when he said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” To love God then, means to obey his commands (John 14:15). The Gospel works from the inside out, and the Gospel truly does transform us.

“and I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” —Ezekiel 36:26

Love, prayer, and grace—when he doesn’t “deserve” it

Respect your husband, even if you do not think he deserves it. Remember we do not deserve what Christ has done for us. He loved us even whilst we were in our sin (Romans 5: 8). Do not go out of your way to be spiteful or ‘get your own back,’ just cover him in prayer and earnestly seek the Lord for him. Immerse yourself in God’s word and pursue the Lord only. Keep connected to your husband as much as you are able, and leave the rest up to God. Be patient and remember Romans 8:28:

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Again the details of my story, although very precious to me, are not important. But over time my husband also fell in love—both with his heavenly spouse and his earthly one! He began to see me in a different light; something he says is far more beautiful or appealing than anything I may wear, how my body may look or how attractive I may outwardly appear. It was my being a ‘1 Peter 3’ wife that my husband says helped him turn back to Christ, repent of his sin, and ultimately reconcile and redeem our marriage, which, by the way, is now far better than my wildest dreams could ever have imagined. We are now two Christians walking together in love with Christ.

Going against the grain

All of this goes completely against the world’s view and even sadly the view of many within the Church, but I believe women who live totally sold out for Christ; living in full obedience to him, will have a peace and joy that no earthly relationship can ever offer or give. So if you find yourself in a horrendously difficult marriage that humanly looks beyond redemption, do not lose heart but instead steep your minds in God’s word and build your relationship with Christ. Concentrate on your own walk as the “1 Peter 3 wife” demonstrates, that by the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, our husbands may be won for Christ, not by a word but by the way we live.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” —Galatians 2: 20

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