We have been looking at Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and specifically at how husbands can show love to their wife.  Dr. Eggerichs uses 6 basic areas to express how a husband can do this and they follow the letters C-O-U-P-L-E.  We have made it through Closeness and Openness and now begin looking at Understanding.

We begin by looking at 1 Peter 3:7, “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

We want to focus on the “understanding” portion of this verse today.  Many get upset at this verse because the verse says, “the woman as the weaker vessel.”  This is not meant to say that the husband and wife are not equal in importance to God.  What this is saying is that within the marriage she has a unique position because of her vulnerability to her husband.  Dr. Eggerichs explains this by saying, “your wife is vulnerable to you in at least two areas: (1) when you say things such as, ‘I just don’t understand you…I wonder if it’s worth it to try?’ and (2) when you dishonor her by treating her as less than an equal fellow heir of the grace of life.”  So, to break it down a little, a wife is vulnerable to her husband.  If he doesn’t choose to approach her in an understanding way then she becomes more vulnerable.  If we changed the situation, I would think that if a wife doesn’t approach her husband in an understanding way, he would tend to become less vulnerable. 

Dr. Eggerichs uses an example of two bowls: one made of porcelain and the other being made out of copper.  I am going to modernize this example a little since I don’t think we have any copper bowls around the house and I am not sure unless it is in the china cabinet collecting dust if we have any porcelain.  For my example, I am going to use a nice glass cup and a plastic cup that you might get from getting a soda at a sporting event.  The wife obviously will be the glass cup.  The husband will be the plastic cup.  They could possibly be of equal value.  You might have to consider the value of the plastic cup at the sporting event with the soda in it for this to hold true but let’s go with it.  They are used mainly for the same purpose but may have different strengths and weaknesses in different situations.

The biggest difference is that the glass cup is delicate.  The glass cup can be cracked or even broken if not handled correctly.  The plastic cup can be bent, abused, and thrown across the floor and still be useable.  Sometimes, husbands take their plastic cup’s thin, but tough, shell for granted and lose sight of the delicate nature of their wife’s cup and do not treat them in an understanding way.  The husband may out of frustration say something harmful or without looking at his wife’s needs and then began a path to stonewalling her.  Dr. Eggerichs explains this as, “God has not made your wife to function around that kind of attitude.  God is calling husbands to realize that their wives are porcelain bowls on which He has placed a clearly legible sign, Handle with Care.”

It seems so easy to see it from the outside, but how much easier would our lives be if we appreciated our wives for who they are.  They are our allies, “delicate and worthy of honor.”  Our egos often get in the way and we often stonewall in a passive aggressive manner thinking that this will force our wives to give us respect.  We not only hurt ourselves when we do this, we also hurt our wife.  If we can accept our wife and appreciate her for the delicate, magnificent creature that she is, your marriage can truly blossom.