But I Don’t Understand Her!

By Chris Cartwright, Contributing Writer

In 1956 a Broadway play debuted which was later made into a motion picture by the name of “My Fair Lady”. The story was set around Henry Higgins a phonetics instructor in London, and Eliza Doolittle, an uncouth, lower class British woman taking speech lessons from Him. As can be expected, over the course of the drama, the two find themselves in a romantic relationship.

As their relationship buds and they grow to know each other a little better, Dr. Higgins finds himself perplexed and bewildered by the stark differences between him as a man, and she as a woman. This sparks him to sing a cleaver and humorous little ditty appropriately entitled: “Why  a woman, be more like a man!” a few lines are as follows:

“Why does every one do what the others do?

Can’t a woman learn to use her head?

Why do they do everything their mothers do?

Why don’t they grow up, well, like their father instead?”

While we might find this little song somewhat amusing, Henry Higgins is verbalizing a struggle that many are still struggling to wrap their minds around: the truth that men and women think and act in completely different ways!

In my last post, we focused on how Peter prescribes for a woman who is married to a difficult husband to live out her faith in such a challenging situation. However, as we are about to discover, Peter does not only address the wives, he also speaks to husbands as well. 1Peter 3:7 says:

“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.”

The fact that Peter commands men to dwell with their wives in an understanding way indicates that there will be times when you don’t understand her! A husband might say: “She is telling me her problems but she doesn’t want me to give solutions? I’m a guy! I fix things! that’s what we do!” May times when a woman is sharing a problem in her life with her husband, she simply wants him to listen, to know that he cares about her. Meanwhile in the guys mind, he is showing that he care by offering solutions.” This is just one of many examples of how men and women think in completely different ways!

While the difference between how men and women think might be a common reason for a husband to not understand his wife, it is not the only reason. If the wife is the one who is being disobedient to the Word, this too might be a reason for him not understanding her. Regardless of why you don’t understand her, Peter gives several clear principles of how to dwell with her in an understanding way:

1. She is Weaker

Peter reminds us men here that women are indeed weaker. This is not in any way a statement of inferiority. Peter is reminding us of a difference in the way God designed us. Men Typically tend to be stronger both physically and emotionally. A man can greet another man with a rough shove or hard slap on the back, and it doesn’t phase us. However, if the same physical roughness applied to a woman, he runs a much greater risk of hurting her physically. In the same way, a man can tell another man to “buck up” or “get over it” and it will probably do far less emotional damage than if those words were applied to a woman.

2. She is a fellow Heir!

It is true, God in His divine wisdom has placed the man as the head of the home. Unfortunately, because of our fallen nature, if we are not careful we men can start thinking that we are somehow more valuable. This is a lie straight from the pit of hell. Just because God has created us for different functions, does not mean that either one is better than the other! We are BOTH equally heirs of the grace of God! We have BOTH been redeemed from the curse of sin! We have BOTH been bought with the precious blood of Christ! We are BOTH justified before God based only upon Christ’s righteousness! Therefore, we MUST show our wives honor, which we can do by dwelling with them in an understanding way!

3. We risk loosing communication with God!

Peter tells us that we are to dwell with her in an understanding way, with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that our prayers may not be hindered! WOW if this isn’t a strong statement, I don’t know what is! Peter makes it very clear that our responsibility as men to be gentle with our wives unconditionally is so critical, that God wont even listen to our prayers if we don’t! This is because he has given us the weighty responsibility of being the authority within the home, and t whom much is given, much is required.

4. Christ is our example

Peter begins verse 7 just like he begins verse 1 when he addresses wives, with the phrase: “in the same way”. This indicates that he is comparing verse 7 and verse 1-6 with something he has previously stated. Peter is linking this passage back to 1Peter 2:21-25 where he gives the example of Christ, who while he was blameless, opened not his mouth. when he was reviled, he  did not revile in return. Rather, he trusted his soul to the Father who judges righteously! Likewise, we husbands must do the same! no matter how much we don’t understand our wives! This is so critical for men to grasp, because God tells in Eph 5:25-33 that Marriage is a picture of Christ and his church! Thus we men our to love (and be understanding with) our  wives unconditionally just as Christ does the church. It is vital that we men lead well! (for more on marital leadership, click here)

While we can read this passage of scripture again and again, it can be so difficult to live out. That’s why we need to ask God for grace daily to help us to do just that! Men, what are some things that you have found to be helpful while trying to live out these principles? please feel free to leave a comment sharing with us!

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