Women are weaker than men. I know, you’re not supposed to say that out loud and I realize there are some women stronger than some men. But in general, women are weaker. If you don’t realize women have certain differences in how they have been designed, you have not been paying sufficient attention. BUT… weaker does not mean lesser. That’s why Peter writes:
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
Instead of belittling a wife who is weaker, a husband is to treat her with understanding and honor. Understanding because she may not be able to lift that end of the sofa. Honor, because she is not lesser in her weaker make up. I own a guitar and a case for it. The case is stronger than the guitar and is used to protect it. When I play music, I have discovered that the case doesn’t sound as good as the guitar. The guitar makes beautiful music precisely because it was designed to be weaker. Weaker is not lesser.
Moreover, Peter reminds husbands that their wives are equals. They are heirs of God’s grace, just as their husbands are. Weaker is not lesser, it’s just different. Different but equal.
But, what’s all this about mistreating a wife hindering prayers? When we pray to God, we ask Him to treat us in ways we do not deserve. We cannot ask God for grace while at the same time failing to treat our wives with the honor and respect they do deserve. They may be weaker, but they are equal.
PS – Having witnessed the delivery of my children, I have seen that women are stronger than men in some amazing and necessary ways!