Making My Theology Work: Living in an Understanding Way

MakingmytheologyworkOne of the key passages in scripture for Christian husbands is 1 Peter 3:7 which says “Likewise, husbands live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

Too often living in an understanding way is taken to mean living in a way that you accommodate the wants and proclivities of your wife, and while that is largely true (with the important caveat that while servant leadership requires that you defer to the wants of your wife, you still must lead) that is not what this verse is saying. The command is actually to live with your wives kata gnosin, according to knowledge. (I wrote about this in a general sense here.)  That means knowledge of your wife and of scripture have to come together as you interact with your wife on a daily basis.

When your wife, like mine, has a serious, chronic, illness that means you don’t only need to have knowledge of her fears, aspirations, constitutional make up, giftedness, etc. to fulfill the command to live with her in an understanding way, you need to have knowledge of her illness.

But this requires you make your theology work for you. This is harder than it seems. It takes sacrifice, of both time and energy. Honestly, many time, the last thing on earth I want to read is an article on chronic pain or suffering. I see my wife suffer every day, my flesh wants escapism, yet I need to be better equipped to live with her according to knowledge. So reminding myself that I am called to love my wife as Christ loves the church and I dig in to learn so that I can live with her according to knowledge. I read to learn what I can about CDEM so that I can live with her according to knowledge. I pray I may gain greater understanding of how to serve her so that I can live with her according to knowledge.

I also always, at least as much as I am able, make the time to go to her doctor’s appointments. Can this make my week difficult and lead to some long hours and pressure packed days? Absolutely. But again my theology calls me to give myself up for my wife. If I am called to give up my life for my wife, I am certainly called to give up my spare time and comfort for her, so I make the time regardless of the ramifications to my schedule.

Is this hard? Sure. But as I consider what it means to be a Christian husband, pleasing to the Lord, and that my model of sacrificial love is my savior who gave himself up for me, bearing my sin on the cross, I am encouraged. I can be content in that condensed week not only because He is my example, but because He is the one who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).  In other words, I strive to make my theology work for me, and more importantly, her, to the glory of God.

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John Chester

About John Chester

John serves the saints of Piedmont Bible Church, a Grace Advance church plant in Haymarket Virginia, as their shepherd, a position he has held since 2012 and hopes to serve in the rest of his life. Prior to being called to ministry John worked as a lacrosse coach, a pizza maker, a writer, a marketing executive, and just about everything in between. John is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary and The Grace Advance Academy. He hails from The City of Champions, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and is unbelievably blessed to be married to his wife Cassandra.