Similarly, wives your submission to your own husband should be of a sort that, even if any live opposed to the Word, they may be won over - even without any word from you - and that by your conduct. Let them be confronted by the purity of your respect-filled lives. For such a wife, the ordering of her life is no outward matter of hair-style, expensive decoration or wardrobe. So let it be a matter of that inner person who from the heart presents an upright, gentle and tranquil spirit, which is of inestimable value before God. That was indeed the style of holy women, and the way they ordered their lives, in submission to their own husbands, even as Sarah heeded Abraham, and called him 'lord'. You are therefore daughters of Sarah and so maintain a life of integrity and refuse to allow yourself to be intimidated by anything. And in the same way, you husbands dwell together [with them] gently, as with a more fragile vessel than yourselves, assigning to her precious value, as you together live the life of grace that has been credited to you so that your prayers can continue unhindered.
To read the bible these days in relation to marriage is to confront prevailing 21st century dogma. Marriage is considered to be merely a device of control, a privilege for some, a drudgery for others and a means of public entitlement to those who want to be treated similarly. And as far as Christian appropriation of scriptural perspectives are concerned - "keeping God in mind" - we note that various Christian "uses" of scripture, and of Peter's letter as well, has contributed to a much to be lamented, and negative, view of marriage intimacy.
But it is noteworthy that though we don't read about Peter's own marriage, we do have this discussion. Wives and husbands are addressed explicitly after he has outlined the duties and demeanour of household servants. Might this give further, if indirect, support to my suggestion that work as "household servants" was indeed the kind of occupation that would be taken up by sojourners and emigrants? I think it is quite likely.
There is the implicit view in this passage that marriage is marriage and household service is household service. Peter implicitly rejects the state of affairs in which another wife's husband demands her submission. He is plain. In marriage there is an appropriate respect for each which should not be confused, particularly among the followers of Jesus Christ, the sheep of His flock, who are called to highly prize all persons.
Peter also assumes that some wives will be married to men who are not numbered among the Good Shepherd's flock. He doesn't presume to speak to these men. But he is aware that what he does write has a potential impact upon these wives' marriages and upon the men in their lives. The life that Peter is promoting is full of promise, hopeful that her adornment, the "ordering of her life", (the word is κοσμος, the "world" which God so loved John 3:16), may win this husband to the way of righteousness. He is certainly not ruling it out and appeals to these wives as "daughters of Sarah".
Of course there is an implicit historical recognition here that, unlike Sarah, who gave her own servant Hagar to her husband - such was the state of their unfulfilled domestic bliss - that marriage requires faithfulness to one's own spouse and not the spouse of someone else. Peter reiterates this on two occasions. The term "submission to your own husband" is repeated - and clearly this is a submission in which the wife, as much as the husband, form the relationship as their own. It is a mutual bond of gentle affection from the heart.
Again, in reading this we might too easily trip over the term "more fragile vessel" and see it as a device for paternal or patriarchal control. That is not Peter's point. Rather, he insists to husbands that marriage is a gentle living together, conducted as a sensitive co-habitation in which husband and wife tend to each other's needs. The problem which Peter addresses (as does Paul), concerns the way in which marriage partners become sensitive and tender in their mutual loving care for each other. Their lives are deepened by virtue of a grace credited to them that blesses their marriage in terms of a living inheritance. They need each other, and with the woman's greater fragility, comes the husband's attention to his own gentle and sensitive conduct. Peter might address them separately; he encourages them as those who belong to each other, because they belong to the Lord, the inheritors of His bounty.