Wives Are A “Weaker Vessel”? Please Explain!

1 Peter 3:7, NLT: “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not”

What Does It Mean By Weaker Vessel!?!

Skeptical young woman reading book on sofa at home. Pretty Asian lady sitting and studying. Education or literature concept. Front view.

That is probably the part of this scripture which gets the most attention from women! *lol* However, it’s not what you may think.

First, The History Behind It

When this scripture was first written, men did not really honour their wives. Wives, for the most part, were seen as property, and the only women who had any real value or regard were the aristocratic women.

An aristocratic woman was still her husband’s “property”, paid for with a dowry, but in comparison to other women, she had status. The purpose of this woman was largely optics- she was to keep the house presentable, which meant ordering the servants. She must keep up her appearance, and dote on her husband. She was to do anything that he instructed without question. However, her main purpose, truly, was to provide a male heir to carry on the family name.

Women were often oppressed and treated poorly in this patriarchal society. The idea of women submitting to her husband was common- it was simply expected. However, honouring your wife… well, that was a radical idea.

Men of that era could have many wives, but, as mentioned, honour and recognition was only received by the aristocratic woman. Only her children were considered legitimate, and only they were citizens.

Men were allowed to sleep with their servants, take them as wives, and have sex with prostitutes. It was all acceptable. While slaves and prostitutes were looked down upon, interestingly enough, most of what we know is that sex with one was purely for pleasure.

Making love to a wife was strictly to produce offspring. Slaves and prostitutes were for pleasure.

It was just that type of society.

The Weaker Vessel….?

The term, weaker vessel, actually tells men that their role is to protect their wives. It’s not that she can’t do things, or is prevented from being all that God has designed her to be, but it is telling husbands that they must honour her in a society that places little to no value on women.

Teresa Smyser will go into deeper detail on the verse found in 1 Peter 3:7, and explain how men are to honour their wives. She will discuss what that looks like in today’s society, and how honouring your wife is conveying your love for her.

Additionally, she will go into greater detail on the “weaker vessel” analogy! 🙂

This feature and many more can be found in our next issue of Faith Filled Family Magazine coming out on April 26, 2019!

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