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As unto the Weaker Vessel

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Note: This is the English translation, by Heavenly Manna ministries, of a work originally written in Spanish by pastor Fernando Alexis Jiménez. Learn what the word of God says about the wife as the weaker vessel.

What Dayana never wanted to say to her pastor, and what surfaced that morning in the midst of the storm her life had become, was that for eighteen years her husband had abused her.

"I can't understand it; she was a victim for such a long time, but said nothing?" said the court official who handled the legal proceedings in a family precinct full of shelves with papers and forms, some of them tied with strings to keep them from blowing all over the place as the fan blew.

"Yes, yes, I really did want to keep it quiet," the woman admitted, only to burst into tears afterward as images flooded her mind, images of Rodolfo trying to persuade her to do something, and if he didn't succeed, resorting to violence.

Note from Heavenly Manna: We commend the author for including real-life examples of the problem of some Christian husbands not understanding how to behave with the weaker vessel.

The straw that broke the camel's was the night that he violently threw the lamp from the night stand when his young wife told him "No." He then began shouting in a fury, pacing the room like a caged lion. And, finally, she thought he was crazy when out of frustration, he awakened their young daughter close to midnight, and carried her to the living room to watch television.

"You, Dayana, don't say anything. Don't even come near me 'cause I'm liable to kick your but," he warned in response to her pleas to let the child go to bed. The little girl simply cried.

That incident, like magic, made the hours drag. It was though the clock had become nostalgic and slow, the same one that awakens her to see the evening by the sea die, listening to the murmur of the hours and the dawning of the day. It startled her without allowing her to get some sleep. That desperate situation was what led her to the decision to leave her husband.

"I can't take it anymore," she told the officer who pounded away typing at the computer, as if with every stroke of a key he was printing the force that a hot news story has. Many months and years of suffering were coming to an end. She left that building with the feeling that someone who has been freed from a heavy burden has.

A Growing Phenomenon


Domestic aggression, and even more so, literal spousal rape, revived by the macho attitude that prevails in many countries of the American continent, represents a phenomenon that is becoming stronger each day, and that in a society that places mens' rights above womens' rights, ends up accepting spousal rape as "normal."

According to Diana Galimberti, the president of the Latin American Center for Womens' Health (CELSAM, the acronym in Spanish), the matter is more serious when the sexual predator is a companion and not a stranger. In turn, the coordinator of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), Gary Barker, believes that, "When the man is a stranger, it's recognized as rape, but when it takes place within marriage, the thought in many countries is that, if she said yes once, she will always say yes."

Brazilian specialist in María da Penha law, agrees with this last point. She points out that, "Sexual violence is any conduct that forces the spouse to maintain or participate in an undesired sexual relationship whether by intimidation, threat, coercion, or the use of force."

What is the problem? It's that, in most cultures, intimacy is considered an obligation within a marriage. But, is that how it should be? Is this stance in agreement with the will of God? What does the Bible say?

The Woman: The Weaker Vessel


In a large percentage of domestic violence cases, specifically the systematic rape of a spouse, it is the woman who gets the worst end of things. Historically, this has been the case. What's interesting is that when we turn to the source for our guidance, the Bible, we find that God gives her a privileged position. The apostle Paul defined that position when he wrote: "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered" (1 Peter 3:7).

This conception turns out to be interesting any way you look at it. It proposes, within the framework of practical Christian life, wise dealings with the wife, which is undoubtedly linked to kind, loving, considerate, and respectful treatment, four principles that honor marriage and that give glory to God. To force the wife to have intimate relations in addition to forcing her will and representing aggressive behavior do not agree with what God has ordered.

We should also consider the fact that wives are "heirs of the grace", a characteristic that makes them equal to you and I in the eyes of the Lord. We are not more important than they are. Man and wife, to God, are on equal ground.

A third aspect that we must consider is that a home filled with problems, especially where the woman is abused, gives rise to an adverse environment in which prayers might not be heard.

The Love that Makes Sacrifices


One day while in a hospital I saw one of the most moving scenes I can remember, and that I share with you: a man argued with doctors, who were specialists, trying to make them accept his offer to donate his heart to his wife. She was very ill; and a transplant appeared to be the only viable alternative.

"If I have to die in order for her to live, I'm willing", he told them, his words full of desperation.

To what point would our love and respect for our wives be accompanied by willingness to die for them were it necessary? That's an answer that only you can give. When the apostle Paul instructed the first century Christians, and also us, on guidelines for a solid marriage. He recommended, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (Ephesians 5:25).

No, I am not saying that you, as the husband, is the only one who should sacrifice yourself. What I am telling you are two things that perhaps other Christian authors have not tackled. The first thing is that respect within the marital union must be shown in intimate relations along with mutual agreement. Your wife (the weaker vessel)is not obligated--let me emphasize this point--to do anything at all. If she consents, it's because she wants to, not because she's being pressured in some way. Second, respect should be evident in all aspects of the marital relationship. It should be in the tone of your voice when you speak, the words you use, your manners, gestures and in how much you express to your spouse.

Harsh Treatment Is Not the Will of God


The "macho" Latino image in which there's Mexican influence, a little input from Colombia and Peru, influence from rude men who answer their wives with grunts and brusquely push them aside and control them as though we were in cavemen times, is far from reality. And, what's more is that it's far from what God expects from us as husbands.

The apostle Paul emphasized this principle when he wrote, "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them" (Colossians 3:19). Love is more than a simple word that's written with four letters and said to the woman during courtship. Love, within the marital relationship, is a sentiment born from the depth of our being, that must be expressed by actions.

I invite you to evaluate how you treat your spouse (the weaker vessel). Perhaps instinct surfaces and intimacy, to you, is that moment of personal satisfaction. Have you attacked or forced your wife to receive you in bed? If so, have you corrected the situation with her and asked forgiveness of God for your attitude? Today is time to make that decision.

© by Fernando Alexis Jiménez
Translation by: Hannah H.

Author blog and website: (en español)

Bible studies and Christian aricles by Fernando Alexis Jeménez (in Spanish):
www.selecciondeestudiosbiblicos.org
www.guerraespiritual.org

Pastor Fernando Alexis - Author of, As Unto The Weaker Vessel


Pastor Fernando Alexis Jiménez is a lecturer and evangelist with the Las Americas Christian and Missionary Aliance in Santiago de Cali (Colombia). He has traveled to various countries where he has lectured on personal growth that is firmly based on the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Related Material by Heavenly Manna:


Obedient Christian Wife: In Bondage Or Freedom?

Christian Polygamist: Does the New Testament Allow More Than One Wife?

King David Had More Than One Wife: A Prime Example of Polygamy in the Bible

Violence Against Females: A Biblical Perspective


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