1 Peter 3:1-2 (ESV)
1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
In an intimate relationship like marriage, actions often speak louder than words. Words get preachy, but actions demonstrate reality.
Words can create division, but loving action builds trust. Words lay out propositional truth—the information about salvation—but actions show the living Christ in the believer’s heart and life.
Did Peter forbid a spouse to witness? Obviously not. Words built on trust and love can transform a life.
Does Peter downplay street preaching, testimonies, sermons, and personal witnessing? Truly not. He was advising married partners how to treat unbelieving spouses.
If your husband is a nonbeliever, you can strengthen your marriage not by preaching, but by living, loving, and letting God provide the opportunity for you to witness.
Under the circumstances, the wives’ best approach would be witnessing by their behavior. Their attitude should reflect loving service: They should show their husbands the kind of self-giving love that Christ showed the church.
Their lives should reflect both purity and reverence. “Purity” refers to behavior that is free from moral defilement. The wives should be pure for their husbands’ sakes, yet they would have to disobey should their husbands ask them to do something morally wrong or to participate in pagan practices.
“Reverence” is the same word translated as “respect” in 2:18 (phobos), referring to healthy fear. The wives had no protection from violence (other than murder) under the law. So these wives should not do anything to incur the displeasure of their husbands. By being exemplary wives, they would please their husbands.
At the very least, the men would then allow these wives to continue practicing their “strange” religion. At best, their husbands would join them and become Christians too.
A changed life speaks loudly and clearly and is often the most effective way to influence a family member. Peter instructs Christian wives to develop inner beauty rather than being overly concerned about their outward appearance. Their husbands will be won over by their love rather than by their looks.
This does not mean that Christian women should be dowdy and frumpy; it is good to be cheerful and attractive. But their priorities should be virtue and moderation. Live your Christian faith quietly and consistently in your home, and your family will see Christ in you.