Bricks That Build A Marriage

By: Chuck Swindoll

With wide-eyed excitement, four-year-old Suzie related to her mommy how Prince Charming had arrived on his beautiful white horse and kissed Snow White back to life.

“And do you know what happened then?” she asked loudly.

“Yes,” said her mom, “they lived happily ever after.”

“No,” responded Suzie with a frown, “they got married.”

In childlike innocence, that little nursery schooler spoke the in-depth truth without realizing it. Getting married and living happily ever after are not necessarily synonymous.

A growing problem is that couples have departed from God’s original blueprint for marriage. But here are some practical building materials God has ordered for His design. We’re told about these materials – these bricks 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 talk 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.”

BRICKS FOR WIVES

The Brick Entitled “Behavior”

In verses 1-2, Peter paints a familiar scene. Ornery husband, raspy response, irritable temperament But even though the guy is tough to live with, he isn’t blind! He cannot ignore the behavior of his godly wife as he “sees” her.

Interesting term, “sees.” It is the Greek word for a careful observation, a close look, like sports fans watching an instant replay of some close call. That’s what a husband ultimately does when his wife’s “purity and reverence” are consistently on display. And that’s what ultimately “wins” him, not through little notes pinned to his pillow or elbow nudges in church. It’s what one man calls “the silent preaching of a lovely life.”

The Brick Labeled “Appearance”

In verses 3-4 Peter’s point is c!ear. You are warned against going overboard, patching up the externals if your internals are pitifully lacking. But on the other hand, this doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be
something on the outside that isn’t worth looking at. It’s just encouraging you to keep it in balance. All day long husbands encounter well dressed and appealing women and what do they see when they walk in the kitchen at 5:30 p.m.? The totaled woman. Your appearance is a significant “brick” that helps build a marriage.

The Brick Called “Attitude”

In verse 4 Peter mentions specifically the important attitude of “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.” What a beautiful expression! And he adds that it is “of great worth in God’s sight.” The words “great worth” are from the same Greek term Peter used earlier when referring to a faith “of greater worth than gold” (1:7). Wives, your attitude is that important.

Don’t misunderstand! This doesn’t mean being a female doormat Actually, these are terms that speak of strength of character, strong self-control, a person of quiet elegance and dignity. This kind of wife isn’t churning within or restless without.

I want to add that it only takes a little while to doll up the externals, but cultivating “your inner self” is a lifetime process.

The Brick Designated “Response”

Before your feathers get ruffled by what verse 6 says of Sarah (“obeyed”), it will help you to realize the Greek verb means “to pay close attention to” someone. A positive, helpful response is written between these lines.

Wives, please listen closely. If you are the energetic type, your tendency will be to dash all over the globe, responding to the needs of people everywhere. Some of you have become far more concerned about responding to others needs outside the home than to the one individual most important to
you within the home.

God will honor your loving and supportive response, ladies. He won’t allow your mate to stomp all over your graciousness. It’s a brick remember. It hurts when you stomp on bricks.

BRICKS FOR HUSBANDS

Now, let’s see what God says to the man of the house. It’s equally potent.

A First Brick

The first one is obvious: “Live with your wives” (verse 7). “Hey, I do! Come home every night We eat at the same table, sleep in the same bed, and even use the same bathroom.” But that’s not all. The term translated “live” means “to dwell down with,” being closely aligned, being completely at home with. The little word “with” calls for close companionship, deep-down togetherness.

Many a husband looks to the wife to maintain this. “My job’s the office, her job’s the home. I earn the bucks, she handles the bills.” That may be the way you were raised, my friend, but it isn’t the way God originally designed it for husbands. No way. We are the ones who should be cultivating an in-depth partnership with our mates. We are to initiate the action, encourage the process.

A Second Brick

A second “brick” for husbands could be put in these words: Know your wife. Literally the expression in verse 7 means “dwell together according to knowledge.” The success of your dwelling with your wife will be in direct proportion to your knowledge of her.

Knowing your wife includes those things that others don’t and won’t know. Her deep fears and cares. Her disappointments as well as her expectations. Her scars and secrets and also her thoughts and dreams. It calls for a sensitive spirit a willingness to be involved, to listen to communicate, to care.

Husbands – this will do as much to heal her hurts and calm the storm as anything I could suggest. Your wife longs to be understood and to know what you desire.

The Third Brick

The term “treat” (verse 7) means “to assign” and here the husband assigns her a place of honor. It’s quite likely you genuinely view her as a precious treasure, a person you esteem, you honor. Does she know it? We tend to assume our wives know how much they mean to us. But there is nothing like telling her. Sometimes with well-chosen words. Other times with flowers. Or with a surprise weekend trip to offer undeniable proof that she is significant to you On the way back home, believe me, your wife won’t have as much difficult believing that you really want to be close to her, to know her, to honor her.

To both of you – handling bricks is a skill that has to be learned, you know. But once you get the hang of it no substitute will do. So watch out for cheap substitutes. Fake bricks are never as attractive or valuable as the real thing.

(The above material is from the book Strike The Original Match by Charles R. Swindoll.)

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