Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word,
they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
1 Peter 3:1-2

Welcome to week 3 of our study! We have come to a very fun passage of scripture today, one that excites much debate in various Christian circles. “Wives, be subject (or submit) to your own husbands.” Peter mentions this twice our passage so we need to pay attention.

Before we dig into these verses we have to remember the context of this book. Peter wrote this to fellow believers who are suffering, who are feeling alienated, and are being persecuted because of their faith.

In this passage Peter is addressing wives who are married to unbelieving and ungodly men. Though, what he says here applies to all marriages.

So what words of wisdom does Peter have for these these women and for us?

Before we get to that, let’s remember what the goal of marriage is. We read marriage books and attend seminars in order to figure out what marriage is supposed to be all about and how to be successful in it. But what is the point of it all?

It’s actually Paul who gives us the answer to this in Col 1:28:

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

Our goal in marriage is to see our spouse become mature in Christ. We should want to see the image of Jesus shine more and more brightly in their lives and for them to bear fruit in faith.

And Peter gives us some practical tips on how to do this.

1. Submit To Your Husbands

Submission means to willingly follow the lead of another person or to willingly deny ourselves for the good of another.

Now this is not a command only for wives. The whole of the Christian life is about submission.  We are to submit first to God, and then we are told in Eph. 5:21 that we are to submit to one another, and in Phil 2:3 we are told to consider others as more important  than ourselves. So this concept of submission is not something that God only intended for wives to do. It is for all Christian to follow.

Now this does not mean that we follow our husbands into sin or foolishness. Submission does not equal being silent or inferior. Remember: in Christ we are equals. We are of equal value and worth.

Peter knows that marriage is not easy. He was himself a married man. And now he  is seeing these women who are married to non believers, and some of these marriages are very difficult. Peter is saying to these ladies, “What I want you to do right now is to submit to your husband’s leadership wherever you can, to respect him, and to live in such a way that the beauty of Christ shines through your life. Maybe they will find faith in Jesus through your witness.”

While everyone needs to have the gospel preached to them, these husbands also need to see  the gospel at work in you. They needs to see what a changed heart looks like. This goes for those who have believing husbands as well. We encourage our husbands by living a godly life.

2. Pursue Spiritual Beauty

What makes a person beautiful? Is it the external? Sure, but this kind of beauty is subjective. What I find beautiful, you may not.  Outward beauty really should be of small concern to us, and yet we spend a lot of time worrying about our hair, nails, eyebrows, weight, and diet. Often times it is not because we want to be healthy, but because we want to look a certain way.

But as my husband so eloquently once said, the older we get things “fade, wrinkle, and drop”. Lovely! 🙂

Peter says, pursue spiritual beauty! This has the ability to make you beautiful even when you are 90 years old. And this is also a way for your husband to see Christ’s work in you. The fruit of your faith can be used by God to draw your husband to himself. Things like a gentle and quiet spirit.

Some of you may think well I have a loud personality. That is fine. A gentle and quiet spirit is not silence. It is avoiding needless arguments. It is a humble heart that does not complain but complements the circumstance.

So Peter’s advice to those who are struggling in their marriages, especially those who are married to a non-believer, is to follow their husbands leadership wherever they can and to pursue spiritual beauty.

This is not a guarantee for a perfect marriage. But it is what God may use to change your husband’s heart; and most importantly, it is honoring to God.

Our challenge for this week is to:
1. Pray for humility as you seek to willingly submit to your husband.
2. Look for an opportunity to share what God is teaching you with your spouse.
3. Commit to regularly praying for your husband. Either for his salvation or for his continued growth in holiness.

Alternative Challenge:
Look up passages that show Jesus acting with a gentle and quiet spirit. Ask yourself these questions, “What keeps me from having a gentle and quiet spirit?” and “What can I do to grow in this beautiful character trait (i.e. in the workplace, among friends, with family, and in difficult circumstances)?”

Looking to Jesus,






W3 Reading Guide







Jen Thorn

Jen Thorn

Jen Thorn grew up in Germany and then spent her teenage years in Africa, where her parents were missionaries. She moved to the United States for college and attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where she met her husband. They have been married for twenty-two years and have four children. Jen lives in the suburbs of Chicago, where her husband is the pastor of Redeemer Fellowship. Jen is passionate about theology and the connection to daily living.

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