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Won Without a Word

She gets the children ready for church while he sits dressed in that old ratty t-shirt watching TV.  Clearly, he's not going this morning.  She throws him dirty, disappointed looks whenever he turns her way.  She tries once again to convince him to go, telling him that the children need to see him respect the church if they are going to grow up doing so.  He doesn't appreciate guilt-trips.  He has some choice words for her precious church.  The family (minus the father) heads out the door in a black mood.  It's just another Sunday morning. This is not an uncommon scenario.  Many women come to church alone or with their children while the man of the house stays home.  Interestingly, it almost never happens the other way around, with the wife of a Christian husband avoiding church.  But regardless of why this particular pattern is repeated over and over again, devout wives want to know what they can do to get their husbands to love Jesus and join their family in His worship at church.

Well, one of the first pieces of Scriptural advice that anyone can give a woman in that situation is: for goodness' sake, don't nag him.  The Bible is rather clear that a nagging wife is pretty much the opposite of a persuasive treasure (Proverbs 25:24).  Don't talk to him about it over and over again.  Don't start slamming doors on Sunday morning in frustration.  Don't let your eyes condemn him.  And certainly don't talk to the children about their lazy daddy as you're getting them ready.  That is, of course, unless you want to push him further away, like to a corner of the rooftop (see previously cited Proverb).

So if you don't ever bring up the subject, how is he ever going to realize he needs to change?  Here's the easy part: you don't have to worry about that; let God take care of it.  Your part is to be a loving, devoted, servant-hearted wife that treats your husband like a king.

"Well, of course you would say that!  You're just another man after all!"

No, actually, God Himself gives these instructions to women as the Holy Spirit wrote the word of God through the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 3:1-6:

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.  Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

I think that this is an amazing passage.  Do you want to get the attention of your husband?  Do it by cultivating godly character, a gentle and quiet spirit, and by treating him like a king (Sarah called Abraham 'lord').  He will respond to this even better than he would to a new hairdo or a new outfit (note that the instruction to "not let your adorning be external" is not a command to never do your hair or put on clothes - you should still do those things, just don't let those be the main things).  And the most amazing outcome of all of this is that those who "do not obey the word" may be "won without a word" (verse 1).

That's a rather odd method for evangelizing one's husband, isn't it?  Don't say anything?  How can he be won to the gospel if he never hears it (Romans 10:14)?  Again, answering our questions by scanning the immediate context of the passage at hand is always a good idea, and you don't have to go far before you reach verse 15 of 1 Peter 3: "Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you."  Does that statement apply to this situation between believing wives and unbelieving husbands?  You bet it does!

Here's where you need to find your freedom, you wives: only strive to do what it is your duty to do and let God do the rest.  You be faithful to obey the word and submit to your husband, cultivate a godly, gentle, and quiet spirit, and treat him like a king.  That's your part.  And as you do that, trust in Christ and the Holy Spirit to do the rest.  Bringing dead things to life is what they do.