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, when they see your respectful and pure conduct…but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious…and you are her (Sarah's) children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
1 Peter 3:1-6 (ESV)
Since the new order has been launched in the resurrection of Jesus, every aspect of life is affected, including marriage. As all married people know, marriage can turn out to be not only different than expected, but difficult to navigate. For marriage to be anything like what God intended in the beginning, we need a new perspective. Peter is describing that new perspective in this whole section of his letter. He has already said that we have been freed and empowered to submit to God’s order by honestly respecting the delegated authority structures that allow society to function best. But just exactly how does the resurrection of Jesus affect the wife’s role in marriage?
First, remembering that we believers are living stones in God’s new temple, we live to reflect his image and thereby bless all who touch our lives. Any role that we assume must keep this as central. Second, marriage is not about being made happy or having our rights respected as we desire. We are concerned with winning over even unbelieving spouses. Third, a new metric for beauty is recognized. Beauty is a choice for every woman, not a product of nature or parentage. The beauty that lasts is the one developed by the woman who gratefully receives what God has given her and manages it with a gentle and quiet spirit. And, of course, this is possible because of what God has done for his people through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Fourth, to be such a wife, fear must be replaced by trust. Just as Jesus fully trusted the righteous judge to bring justice and vindication, so can we and must we do the same. The fear of rejection, aloneness, and being mistreated can paralyze any woman or man and prevent either from embracing marriage in a healthy way.
The fragile and precious relationship in marriage was impacted negatively when sin entered the picture. Instead of men and women enjoying their equal but different natures, they began to compete for significance and vie for control. But we don’t have to wait for heaven to have good marriages. In fact, there will be no need for such in the age to come. The kingdom of God has already been launched, and it impacts marriage tremendously. We must embrace the new order that was ushered in when Jesus finished his work in our behalf.