Married to an Unsaved Man

For the past couple weeks I’ve been meditating on the book of 1 Peter during my morning devotional time. One passage in particular that “drew me in” for two days is 1 Peter 3:1-6, a passage that is often turned to in discipleship counseling relationships.

Here are simple, raw observations from this text that I wrote in my journal. Perhaps they will spur you on to study this passage in more depth and thereby be better equipped to counsel women in your church who are enduring the struggle of being married to an unsaved man.

“In the same way” – The phrase links back to the example of Christ. Therefore, Christian wives are called to bear up under suffering unjustly in the same way Jesus did (described in 2:21-25).

  • Jesus did not sin while being mistreated (v. 22a)
  • Jesus did not deceive or manipulate those in earthly authority over him (v. 22b)
  • Jesus did not lash out, revile His accusers (v. 23)
  • Jesus did not threaten his enemies even though He had the power and authority to carry out any imaginable threat (v. 23b)
  • Jesus constantly entrusted Himself, i.e. placed Himself into the loving care of, the faithful Father who judges all situations and persons perfectly (v. 23c)

Submission to Suffering – Jesus first submitted Himself to God, which then naturally led to submitting Himself to the suffering imposed upon Him by others. “In the same way,” wives who first submit to God by bearing up under unjust suffering will then submit to their unsaved husbands and thereby serve as a powerful witness of Christ and the gospel.

To Rank Herself Under – The biblical command to the wife to submit to her husband requires her to recognize God’s design of male headship in the home and, consequently, to willingly rank herself under his God-given authority. The qualifier “to your own husband” means biblical submission is not blanket submission under all men. However, as the context makes clear, it does include submission to other authorities within their proper, biblical realm (see 2:13).

Summary Points – Following Christ means, for the Christian wife married to an unsaved man:

  • She is required by God to submit to her husband even though he is unsaved.
  • The primary means of her gospel witness is her godly life and quiet spirit, which result in abstaining from preaching at her husband.
  • Her focus must be on her inner godliness, not outward, seductive beauty that may appeal to her husband’s flesh without touching his heart for Christ.
  • She is not alone. She has examples to follow—godly women in the past.
  • She trusts in the Lord and, consequently, is not overcome by fear.

Recommended: HELP! I Want to Model Submission in Marriage

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