Today we're going to make some practical applications to what Peter says in our verse:
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.Be considerate.
Treat with respect.
Those are not just good guidelines for husbands, but good guidelines for all believers! Whether we are looking at our relationships with other believers, or with unbelievers, those are golden!
Here are some practical ideas for us to think about.....and these are, again, things that both male and female members of a marriage can think about. After all, when I talk about the person who stays at home with the kids, sometimes it is the husband (21% in America), and many times, neither partner stays home! So let's just look at these and consider them -- some will apply to your life, and others will apply to someone else......
Our husband or wife may feel overwhelmed, and will appreciate it when we can take charge. Between taking care of the kiddos, making dinner, and doing the household chores, the caregiver of the family has a lot on their plate! Be a partner -- not another person to take care of! It will be music to their ears when we offer to handle bath time, do the dishes, or any other chore we can do, while that person puts their feet up for a few minutes, er, seconds! Don't make them ask -- just do it!
The stay at home parent has a hard time turning off the "mom" or "dad" reflex. Many times the partner who works outside the home feels neglected, because the other parent is preoccupied with the kids or the home (or both). Understand just how challenging it can be for the caregiver to "turn off" those needs and focus on you.
Additionally, the caregiver can feel neglected, and needs to know how much we appreciate them! It doesn't matter if we say it in words, write a love note and put it on their pillow, or bring home a small, inexpensive gift occasionally -- we need to let them know that we care!
This one is SO IMPORTANT to both sexes: we need to watch how we talk about other men and women. Perhaps a husband looks at another mom and says, "Wow, she's a good mother!" Or, turn the coin over, and perhaps a wife compliments another guy for his parenting or appreciation of his wife..... Whether husband or wife, we want to be the best in our spouse's eyes. If we praise someone else (especially if we are not praising our mate enough) we make them feel less valued, like they may not be doing enough to meet our needs or to care for the family. And wow, we need to tread lightly on friendships or business relationships with the opposite sex.....our spouse may feel they are in a competition, and that is not a happy place to be!
Lastly, (and I really think this may be the most important one of all) both husbands and wives want to be heard. Really listen (not looking at the television!) when they are anxious and need to talk. Validate their concerns and don't brush them off or say, "Oh, that's not a big deal." Genuinely listen and volunteer to help.... plan some practical steps together to solve the problem.
These points may be very obvious, but give them some thought. Even in the best marriages, there are always some things that can be improved, and both husband and wife will be happier and more secure.
And to tell you the truth, all of these points could easily apply to our other relationships, no? Whether we are talking about parents, children, friends, or casual acquaintances, these are all pointers that can help us in those relationships. We can point others to Christ by behaving with compassion and consideration.
Respect. It's a beautiful thing. (Grin) We'll finish our study tomorrow......