Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7)
Gentlemen, if you want your wives to be submissive, love them the same way that Christ loves His church (thank you, Donna). Being considerate is as simple as remembering to put down the toilet seat...a very small action, but it means the world at 3am in the dark. Those dirty clothes you took off before you showered belong in a little container referred to as the hamper, not in a pile on your side of the bed or a trail that leads from the front door to the bathroom. We additionally do not save that little ball of lint that comes from your belly button, yet you continually place it on the sink; please throw it in the trash. Do not start a project you can't finish in a few days and do not undertake remodeling the house if you haven't got a clue as to what you are doing.
If husbands who do not treat their wives kindly, their prayers become ineffective, because a living relationship with God depends on right relationships with others. The respect that you show your wives goes a long way as an example to others. If you have no respect for yourself, you cannot possibly have respect for your wife. People you interact with every day, your children, your friends, your extended family, take their cue from you. Surround yourself with good, godly people - not acquaintances that just attend church on Christmas and Easter. There are 363 other days in the year in which the Lord requests your presence (and not in a building - at His feet). Our heavenly Father expects you to lead the family, not sit idly by waiting for someone else to take the reins.
Jesus tells us that if you have a problem with a fellow believer, you must make it right with that person before coming to worship (Matt 5:23, 24). This principle carries over into family relationships as well. Additionally, if husbands use their position to mistreat their wives (through neglect, abuse, and isolation), their relationship with God will suffer. You cannot have it all and then some.
A husband who loves and honors his wife will protect (stick up for her when others try to tear her down), respect, help and stay with her (for better or for worse). He will not expect her to work a full time job outside the home and a full time job in the home. He will lighten her load wherever he can. He will be sensitive to her needs, her "personal" issues (in sickness and in health), and he will relate to her with courtesy, consideration, tact and love!
In Ephesians 5:31 we read that "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." The union of husband and wife merges two persons in such a way that little can affect one without also affecting the other. Oneness in marriage does not mean losing your personality in the personality of the other. Instead, it means caring for your spouse as you care for yourself, learning to anticipate the other person's needs, helping the other person become all he or she can be! (Life Application Study Bible).
Worship and praise Him together! Share your thoughts and your dreams with her. She wants only to see you happy, she wants only for your loving touch and to be by your side. The material things are not as important to her as you may think that they are - YOU are what is important to her! Don't fail to give her that! Be the husband God has called you to be. If you do what is commanded of you, chances are that you will not have to fear infidelity, abandonment and divorce. Let God into your heart and let Him lead. Let Him have control - put Jesus first in your marriage and it will be a long, healthy and happy one.
(Reposted from 9/2011)