There are two primary reasons why I believe that most Christian husbands do not see any specific answers to their prayers. Sadly, the first reason is that most Christian husbands do not pray. James writes that we have not because we ask not. The second greatest reason why most Christian husbands do not see any answers to their prayers is because of the way they treat their wives. This is the principle taught in 1 Peter 3:7. It just may be the most frightening verse in the entire Bible for husbands.
Peter begins by telling the husband that they must treat their wives in two ways. First, they are to live with them in an understanding way. Second, they are to honor their wives. To do this we must view our wives properly. This involves they way we view our wives physically and the way we view them spiritually.
Physically, Peter tells us that we are to view our wives as a “weaker vessel.” The word vessel refers to our physical body. Though there are certainly exceptions, on the whole women are physically more fragile than men. I would imagine that if married couples were to have a best two-out-of-three arm wrestling competition with each other, my money is on more husbands to win 2 out 3 then wives. As a result, we must protect our wives and treat them with gentleness. We must view them as a fragile and cherished treasure that we handle gently and carefully. In reality, most husbands are simply way too harsh in how they speak to, speak about and treat their wives. Let me remind all of us husbands that outside of our salvation, our wives are the greatest treasure that we will ever have on this earth. We need to treat her in that way.
Though the wife is a bit weaker physically, it is important for us to realize that spiritually, she is our equal. Peter describes her as a “fellow heir in the grace of life.” Yes, God has made the husband the functional head of the home but this does not mean that he is spiritually superior to the wife. It simply means that he is the one responsible. Listen, my wife is as much a child of God as I am. The same Holy Spirit that indwells me also lives inside of her. The same is true of your wife if she knows Jesus. Men, this means that we can learn from our wives when it comes to spiritual things. They can help us become more like Jesus. This also means that we ought to be very hesitant to insist on a course of action for our marriage or family if our wives do not have the same peace about it as I do. Maybe it is we who are reading things wrong. The best decisions are the ones where both the Christian husband and the Christian wife both have the same peace.
So how seriously does God want us to take this? Peter is very clear that the man who fails to treat his wife properly must answer to God. It is as if God is saying, “I have given you a valuable treasure…treat her right or you will have to answer to me.” And what is the consequence for those of us husbands who fail to take this task seriously? Verse 7 teaches clearly that failing to treat our wife properly will definitely hinder our prayer life. So why don’t husbands see more answers to their prayers. My guess is that they either aren’t praying or they aren’t treating their wife properly…maybe it’s both!