In looking at 1 Peter 3:7 and its instruction that husbands should honor their wives as weaker vessels, Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood editor and communications director Greg Gibson claims that weaker means “of great value”. He then tells men how to properly valuate their women:
Men, think about your most important possession and how you treat and honor it. Now triple your efforts and apply that same carefulness in how you treat and honor your wife. …
Remember, she is the weaker vessel–an object of intense value. (Building a Marriage Culture – husbands, honor your wives.)
There you have it, men. The way to treat your wife right is to look on her as one of your possessions. The most prized (three whole times more valuable than your car or boat!) but still a possession.
Women are objects.
The objectification of women is a theme in patriarchy. And this is not some outlier among CBMW’s writings. The article has been promoted on social media by CBMW’s president and other leaders of the organization. Spreading this language of objectification leads to people thinking of women as objects; that’s how language works.
Why do patriarchists do this? Why do they say they are honoring a person and then objectify the person as a possession?
It’s because they don’t understand people the way God does.
Men Don’t Elevate Women
Mr. Gibson’s article gives examples (rules, might be a better word) of how husbands should treat their wives. He says wives always come first and the husband should take her on dates she would like to go on and plan vacation where she says they should go. As he says, “It means spending money on her. Lavishing her with goods and services.”
He says all of this will let her know that her husband honors her.
No it won’t.
As much as I like to do nice things for my wife, I don’t recommend this marriage plan. For one thing, it’s based on an immature understanding of marriage. For another, one spouse always doing whatever the other spouse wants is not a healthy marriage; it’s servitude dressed up in marriage clothes.
Mr. Gibson finds himself on this wrong track because he took a wrong turn early in the essay when he asked:
What does it mean for a husband to elevate his wife to a place of honor?
Husbands can’t elevate wives. It’s not only not their role; it’s impossible. Women are already raised higher than any husband could ever hope to accomplish. It’s true of all who are in Christ.
God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6.)
Elevate my wife to a place of honor? I’m blessed that God has raised me to the same place of honor he’s already given my wife: seated with Christ in heaven.
This idea that husbands are to elevate wives falls into the trap Paul warned the church in Colosse about:
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. (Colossians 2:8-10.)
Comparing women to possessions and objects to be elevated is one of those hollow teachings, because the Bible says women and men are full of Christ and sit in heaven with him. Anyone who says differently is twisting Scripture to fit their human traditions, not the gospel of Christ.
Jesus filled us up and raised us up, and that is reason enough to honor one another in him.