Carmen, a Christian girl, meets handsome Jeff. They fall in love and get married. Before the wedding Jeff promises to attend church regularly, but five years have now passed. He has never obeyed the gospel, and he only visits the church on special occasions. Carmen has resorted to arguing, manipulating, and pleading. But Jeff is offended and angered by any overt attempt to win him to Christ. What should Carmen do?
Peter acknowledges that reasoning with a husband may be an ineffective way to bring about conversion: “Be submissive to your own husbands,” he says, “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” (1 Pet. 3:1-2). In other words, the noble character of a Christian woman is more attractive to an unbelieving husband than the firm pressure of endless verbal appeals.
Winsome character means virtue. Peter says that a woman’s “beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Pet. 3:3-4, NIV). Is he suggesting that women must never wear jewelry or pretty clothes? Of course not! Peter is simply teaching that external beauty alone fails to make a woman attractive to her husband. If she is arrogant, loud-mouthed, selfish, or disrespectful, her hypocritical conduct will push her unbelieving husband away.
Appealing character also means following a husband’s leadership. The Bible says that “this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands” (1 Pet. 3:5). This teaching drives feminists crazy. They tell women to be powerful, assertive, and – well – masculine. It’s great advice for any wife looking for a shortcut to divorce court. But if she wants to strengthen her marriage and win her husband to the Lord, then Peter’s inspired instruction is considerably better.