Wives Are “Weaker Vessels?”

It is written:

“Husbands, likewise, dwell 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.” (1 Peter 3:7)

Why does Peter refer to wives as the “weaker” vessel? One scholar has written:

“Chivalry may be dead, but every husband must be a “knight in shining armor” who treats his wife like a princess. (By the way, the name Sarah means “princess.”) Peter did not suggest that a wife is “the weaker vessel” mentally, morally, or spiritually, but rather physically. There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking, the man is the stronger of the two when it comes to physical accomplishments. The husband should treat his wife like an expensive, beautiful, and fragile vase, in which is a precious treasure…Big resentments often grow out of small hurts. Husbands and wives need to be honest with each other, admit hurts, and seek for forgiveness and healing. “Giving honor unto the wife” does not mean “giving in to the wife.” A husband can disagree with his wife and still respect and honor her….“Giving honor” means that the husband respects his wife’s feelings, thinking, and desires. He may not agree with her ideas, but he respects them….The husband who is sensitive to his wife’s feelings will not only make her happy, but will also grow himself and help his children live in a home that honors God..” (Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Hopeful: How To Make The Best Of Times Out Of Your Worst Of Times, 86-87 (Kindle Edition); Colorado Springs, CO; David C.Cook)

The Good News Bible uses the word “delicate” in place of “weaker.” The idea is one of preciousness demanding loving care. Indeed, that is the focus that Peter elaborates on here: husbands need to love their lives and treat them with the utmost care. Husbands are to learn to love their wives as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

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