So, we’re coming back to 1 Peter 2:21-3:7 and God’s Word on marriage for another week. I probably should have anticipated that! Marriage is complicated and what God says to wives and husbands in 1 Peter 3:1-7 can be unsettling and alarming to our modern ears.
As I shared last week, a counselor once said to me, “Ewan, in marriage you can either be right or you can be happy. You can’t be both and you have to choose one!” I laughed a little at that. I knew it was true! But as someone who likes/needs to be right (or acknowledged as being right) too much, it also weighed on me.
I’m still thinking about that as we come back, this Sunday and next week in our Daily Worship Devotions, to our 1st Peter text on marriage. If you were not with us in Worship, I encourage you to listen to last week’s sermon as we covered a lot of stuff related to the obvious and important problem: “Isn’t this text demeaning to wives/women!?”
This whole section of 1st Peter is on “application.” In the past weeks, we’ve considered how God’s Word addresses and changes our relationships with the government and our employers. Now, in 1 Peter 2:21-3:7, God turns his attention towards marriage. While this text does speak to situations where one spouse has converted to Christianity and the other has not, it also speaks in deep and profound ways to all marriages. 1 Peter 2:21-3:7 especially speaks to people who are experiencing difficulty, loneliness, tension, and conflict in their marriage.
So, how does Christianity impact the marriage relationship? Or how should Christianity impact marriage? When we consider what God has to say about marriage in 1st Peter, the key issue is “Who wins in marriage?” Marriage, like all relationships, involves conflict. Conflict is not bad, it’s just a reality, and avoiding conflict can slowly kill a relationship. Conflict can lead to good things or it can lead to bad things. It’s all about how you do it and where you get to!
So, “Who wins in marriage?” I asked that question in my email last week, but I didn’t explain what I meant by it very well. What I mean is this:
- Who gets their way most of the time? And who should get their way most of the time?
- Whose needs, preferences, personality, and desires does your marriage generally revolve around?
- Who has the upper hand?
If you feel like you are losing in your marriage, that’s a lonely and difficult place to be. However, with regard to the above question, the stark truth is: If you think you are personally winning in your marriage, not only are you actually losing, but you are not experiencing or enjoying what it means to be loved. That is lonely and difficult too.
So, take some time to reflect on God’s Word in 1st Peter this week. Start with the specific instructions about marriage in 1 Peter 3:1-7. After reflecting on that, go back and read it in its proper context: 1 Peter 2:21-3:7. How does the context of these verses at the end of chapter 2 impact how we understand marriage and the exhortations in 1 Peter 3:1-7?
I look forward to walking together with you in 2020 and I am excited to see what God will do among us.
Yours in Christ,