1Pet 3:7 “Husbands, likewise, [be – present imperative from 3:3] dwell [-ing- participle] with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
In 1 Peter 3:7, “dwelling with them,” refers back to the wives of verses 3–-6, completing the imperative “be continually” in verse 3. The conjunction “likewise” or “in the same way” ties this verse to the previous verses—-that is, husbands are to be submissive to serve their wives, and their wives are to be submissive to the needs of their husbands.
The husband’s responsibility is to “dwell with them” in an intimate and mutually satisfying manner. The key to success is to live with “understanding” (Gk. “clear and exact knowledge,” as opposed to an intuitive knowledge, or following what one thinks or feels like). It becomes the husband’s responsibility to learn about his spouse. Women are different from men in their interests, sexual drive, view of romance, priorities, and source of fulfillment.
Not only does it take new understanding, but men must “be continually giving honor to the wife”; this is Peter’s way of saying you must love your wife. Honor means “the amount at which something is valued, thus respect, esteem.” Honor is given to Christ or high dignitaries, as well as wives. The husband is to make her feel like the most important person in his life.
“As the weaker vessel” does not imply that there is anything inferior about women intellectually or spiritually; rather, the meaning is primarily physical and perhaps emotional. Thus husbands must be protective and caring and provide for her needs.
The couple is to celebrate “being heirs together of the grace of life”—-not the grace of God, but God’s special gift (grace) to man. This is the richest bond in this life, but it only works when the principles of the Creator are followed.
Finally, our intimacy to God is no better than our relationship with other believers—-especially our spouses. Ignoring God’s instructions in marriage has serious implications: “so that your prayers will not be hindered.” It pays to take God’s word seriously.
“Lord, You did not make it easy, putting two imperfect and different people together in a marriage. Grant me the ability to understand my spouse and know how to meet her needs and to accept her for how You made her.”