I meet with a few men on Friday mornings for a bible study. We start bright and early (more early than bright perhaps), but my Fridays are blessed as a result. We’ve been studying 1 Peter, and today we hit 1 Peter 3:1-7, with the infamous discussion on wives being submissive to their husbands. We chatted about this being a continuation of the thought in 1 Peter 2 encouraging servants to submit to their masters and everyone submitting to governmental authority, but for me, the most interesting portion of our conversation was where I least expected it.
In 1 Peter 3:3-4, he encourages women to focus on the “hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit” instead of on outward beauty. “J” mentioned that Peter seemed to have some insight into women, to understand the challenge they faced and commented upon how there is “something” about a woman’s spirit that can enhance the most beautiful and make the homely appear lovely. “K” pointed out that even 750+ years before, Isaiah had to point out the same problem in the women of that day (Isaiah 3:16). “k” mentioned that the woman admired in the Song of Solomon is not particularly beautiful if you convert the physical description to a picture, but that her spirit made her beautiful in the eyes of her lover (which has some cool applications to God as the lover of our soul and us, His church, as the beloved). What struck me, however, was our culpability as males for this stereotypical tendency in the women we love.
It is generally accepted that a “good husband” remembers to express to his wife how beautiful she is, and a “great husband” doesn’t even have to remember; it comes naturally. But how often do we admire our wife’s hidden person? How often do we compliment her upon her spirit? As humans, we respond to positive feedback. If we men only praise our wife for her external beauty, why are we critical of her tendency to be “overly concerned” about her appearance? We have a duty to fulfill here, and it is not an onerous one. Let’s remember to admire the inner beauty of our wife as well as her outward attractiveness. By doing so, we encourage her to become even more beautiful, and that’s good for everyone involved.
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