Wedding Ring history: The use of "rings" in marriage dates back to some 4,000 years ago. The circle is the symbol of eternity as it has no beginning and no end. The open center is more than a hole. It symbolizes a gateway leading to a life together of the unknown. The Romans used the wedding ring, but for women only as a sign of ownership by her man. Around 860 AD Christians began using rings in their marriage ceremonies for both the man and the woman. People saw the wedding rings as the "symbol of the union of hearts." Through time, people wore the wedding ring on all fingers and both hands and different cultures wear the ring differently today. We Christians wear it on the left hand's fourth finger called the ring finger. The thought was a vein in the fourth finger went straight to the heart. While not true, it is romantic and has stuck. Did you know it requires seventeen tons of gold every year in the Unites States alone to make wedding rings?
Today we've experienced a rarity in our society - a marriage lasting fifty years! My wife and I have been married over forty-seven years. How did she do it? Peter tells us a few key things required to experience a five-decade plus marriage. He shares some key responsibilities of both the woman and the man to cause a marriage to be successful even if both are not believers, which should only happen when people marry before either becomes a Christian. Let's read it then begin discussing it over the next few weeks.
1 Peter 3:1-7 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Why did Peter give six verses of instructions to the wife and only one to the husband? In their society, and somewhat today, a woman was seen as nothing more than gratification for a man completely controlled and dominated by her husband. For a wife to step out into a religion without her husband was unthinkable and seen as rebellious, so the potential for conflict in the home was great as it can be and often is today. Remember also, when Peter wrote this persecution of the church was intense (1Pe 1:1) and some churches met secretly. Husbands weren't keen on their wives meeting secretly to worship a mystical invisible Jesus with other men where wives would see amazing Christian men who truly loved God. She could begin to find her own husband repulsive. Peter warned her.
Notice Peter did not tell the Christian woman to leave her unbelieving husband. Let's look at this a moment.
1 Corinthians 7:13-16 And if a woman has a HUSBAND WHO IS NOT A BELIEVER and he is willing to live with her, SHE MUST NOT DIVORCE HIM. For the unbelieving husband has been SANCTIFIED through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been SANCTIFIED through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. BUT IF THE UNBELIEVER LEAVES, LET HIM DO SO. A believing man or woman IS NOT BOUND in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
A cleansing / sanctification will come upon a home when only one spouse is a believer. The blessing spills over on the other spouse and children. A non-Christian man married to a Christian woman doesn't realize how fortunate he is. A non-Christian woman doesn't either. The unbeliever does not receive salvation without a personal relationship with Christ, but is blessed as God blesses the believer. But, who knows if the believer will save the unbelieving spouse? However, if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. The bond is broken. Paul said don't attempt to hold it together if the house is at war. The results may well be the believer being the casualty and falling away. I've seen this happen too many times.
Neither did Peter instruct the woman to badger her husband about Jesus (write Bible verses on bottom of his beer cans, tracts under his pillow, get the pastor to call him, etc.) What did he tell her?
1 Peter 3:1-2 Wives, in the same way be SUBMISSIVE TO YOUR HUSBANDS SO THAT, if any of them do not BELIEVE THE WORD, they may be won over WITHOUT WORDS by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
It's strange how women can be submissive to the laws of society, submissive to their employers, submissive to their pastors and friends, but not submissive to their own husbands.
I've seen husbands won. I know this works. It's what she is, not what she says. The way a woman will win her husband to believe the word of God - believe God's ways - is be a submissive wife. What does be submissive to your husband mean? It simply means submit to the husband's leadership.
This principle is stated repeatedly in the New Testament (Eph 5:22; Col 3:18; Tit 2:4-5). Women please here this: your greatest tool, or weapon, to win your husband to the word of God, to have the husband you want, to have the marriage you want, to have great children, to have the life you want, and have everything else you want is be submissive to your husband. Your husband will stop the world spinning for you if you use this tool correctly. There is nothing he won't do for you. There are tremendous results to submission and the results are great! You're not simply doing this to be a good little wife. You are doing this for the amazing results.
1 Peter 3:7 ...heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
We will talk about this verse next time. Life is the greatest gift God gives. Marriage is the greatest gift in life. Marriage is the best of life. Nothing brings love, fulfillment, family, intimacy, contentment, and all the goodness of life as marriage should bring day after day, month after month, year after year, and decade after decade. One key to this is a submissive wife. The key for the man is to love his wife, be considerate, and treat her with respect. We'll talk more about both more next time.
© Life Gate Ministries