A Husband's Perspective on Being a Relentless Pe 3-1 Woman
Working and submitting in a home where the husband does his job is a challenge in its own right, but imagine persevering in those principles for a husband who hates God and the Gospel. And then imagine that your steadfast love and endurance eventually crushes your husband’s hate and he embraces the Gospel largely in part due to the relentlessness of your testimony. If only every hater-of-the-Gospel-husband could be so blessed to have a woman like this in his life. Well, I am…and I was… This woman is my wife, and while she strives for the classic “P31” principles, she also bears the tears and sweat soaked badge of a noble “Pe 3-1” (pronounced P three-one) wife.
Defining the Pe 3-1 Woman
Simply put, the Pe 3-1 wife lives with the burden of an unsaved husband and yet continues to operate in a submissive, respectful, and pure manner, always in prayer that her husband may be won to the Gospel by her testimony (1 Peter 3.1).
I’ve been the lost husband and fortunate enough to witness the steadfast and unconditional love from my wife that God used to play a powerful role in my salvation. Our God can save, and will save whomever He desires by whatever means, but He typically uses people in the process—in my case, my wife.
Those who know our story, know my wife endured me for twelve years of marriage as a Pe 3-1 wife (if you don’t know our story, listen to the podcast or read my bio). I put my wife through the greatest challenge she will likely ever encounter. I pray her resolve is never tested beyond what it has been because there are only a few nightmarish events that could accomplish such a feat. I’m responsible for that. I own that. And daily I have to cast that burden on my Savior (1 Peter 5.7), or I would crumble under it.
4 Charges of Relentlessness for the Pe 3-1 Woman (Husband’s POV)
If you asked me to put Katie’s witness and commitment into a single word, it would be relentless. I want to take some time to share with you four ways my wife was relentless in dealing with me, her lost husband. If you’re a weary “Pe 3-1” wife looking for some encouragement, I hope these strengthen and encourage your resolve, because the one thing you cannot do is give up.
1. Be Relentless in Prayer
I put prayer first because you will need a profound prayer life to persevere in what’s ahead. Your meekness will define your strength, just as 1 Peter 3.1 says, “He may be won without a word by the conduct of his wife.” Katie chose her words very carefully with me, but for each word spoken to me, hundreds were uttered to the Lord in prayer.
Be a prayer-warrior for your husband, and make sure he knows it. Pray for his salvation and obedience to the Word but also pray for his needs and be relevant to what he’s going through. If he’s having a hard time at work or with a friend, pray specifically for those things and let him know you’ve done so.
I remember at least every couple of days Katie would come to me and say something like, “Hey I know you’re dealing with this. I’ve prayed for you regarding it and you can talk to me if you want to.” There are times when tough situations would miraculously work out favorably for me and I couldn’t help but ask, “Was this because of my wife’s prayer?”
2. Be Relentless in Sharing Scripture
No matter what worldly philosophy or behavior I engaged in, my wife was relentless in sharing Scripture with me. And this went beyond merely reading aloud a verse or two a day (which has its merits), but rather she would share with me what she learned from the Word.
Often times I would be dealing with something or having a hard day and she would encourage me with Scripture that related to my circumstances. At the time I definitely didn’t want to hear it and sometimes I didn’t even listen, but I can’t overemphasize how much these moments slowly chipped away at my hardened heart (Hebrews 4.12).
Ladies, never stop speaking God’s Word to your lost husband—he’s certainly not going to read it himself. Encourage him with it. Rebuke him with it. Teach him with it but do so in a gracious manner. Katie never came across like she was nagging me with the Bible. I typically felt like she was sharing from a place of love. Even if you think he’s not listening, and sometimes he may not be, be relentless in sharing with him the Scripture.
3. Be Relentless in Biblical Standards
Your biblical standards are anything that you would typically do as a Christian woman despite whether or not you have a saved husband. You need to continue going (with your children) to church. For example, if your husband wants Sunday morning to be “boat time” instead, tell him he’s free to do what he wants but you and the kids have plans. Keep reading your Bible. Keep praying at meals. Go to Bible study, or even better, have a women’s Bible study in your home (my wife actually did this and asked me to run tech support for it).
By keeping your standards, you’re not allowing your husband to dictate the spiritual condition of your family. You can’t let him have his way in this. You need to be able to bend and allow him to explore his own heart, but don’t break and allow him to bring the rest of the family down with him.
Because of God’s sovereignty over all things, you aren’t going to force anything to happen with your husband. We know God says, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9.15). But remember that God uses people as a testimony for His Gospel (Philippians 1.27), and you being relentless in your standards will never let your husband off the hook.
4. Be Relentless in Perseverance
For the Pe 3-1 wife, giving up is not an option (though this may not always mean staying in the home where abuse is a concern). She must be relentless in perseverance. If you were to ask a secular psychologist or even some biblical counselors, my wife had countless reasons to pack her bags and take off. But she didn’t, and I hope that will encourage you. God can reconcile even the most impossible situations if you give Him that opportunity.
You have been granted the privilege to participate in whatever God’s plan is for your husband but remember that ultimately his salvation is not your burden to bear (Romans 9.19-21). God, in His providence, has allowed your situation to happen, and if He controls where the lightning strikes (Job 38.35), He also controls your husband’s path. Your part in this is to stay and persevere, and by doing so, you project a beautiful example of God’s love for His children to your husband.
Talk to who you need to. Find hope by talking to a biblical counselor or a trusted older woman. Meet regularly for prayer. This is your mission field and you are both the front and back lines. Be relentless in your perseverance one day at a time (Matthew 6.34).
Since you love Christ, and since you love your husband, stand in this gap, and be relentless. You may be the last line of defense against the permanently lost soul of your once “true love” and the father of your children. This is your chance to be most like God, as He has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13.5, Psalm 145.14). Stand firm. Stand strong. And don’t ever let this line of defense falter. You can do this. God says you can do this.
Kevin Laymon is a dear friend of the ministry. In fact, he’s the reason we are producing a podcast today. He was our original producer and he encouraged us and worked with us when we had no idea what a podcast even was.
But Kevin also has an amazing testimony of redemption that many aren’t yet aware of because he’s been a behind-the-scenes guy up to now. We want to bring this story to you of a life that was “wrecked and rebuilt” by God. You can find Kevin's full bio on his site at kevinlaymon.com