The very interesting thing we find in this passage is that marriage is meant to be a picture of our relationship with Christ. In what way?
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church– for we are members of his body.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church. (25-32)
What did Christ do for the church? He left his home in heaven to join himself with us. More, he gave himself for us, dying on the cross. And to this day, he cares for us, taking care of our physical and spiritual needs, and nurturing us with his love. Why? Because he loves us as if we were part of himself. And in fact, in Jesus’ eyes, we are part of himself.
And that’s what a husband is supposed to do. He leaves his home and his parents behind to unite himself with his wife. He gives himself up for her, laying down his life for her, caring for her, providing for her both physically and spiritually, and nurturing her with his love. Why? Because he loves her as if she were a part of himself. In fact, in God’s eyes, she is a part of her husband.
The husband is in many ways to be a picture of Christ to his wife. The wife, in turn, honors her husband and follows his leadership, just as she honors Christ and follows his leadership.
For us husbands then, one question we need to ask ourselves is how much are we reflecting Christ to our wives? Do we treat our wives as if they were truly part of us? Or do we treat them as something less? Christ certainly doesn’t when it comes to the church. How can we?
And for you wives, one question you need to ask yourselves is, “How much am I submitting to Christ?” Because if you have trouble submitting to Christ, you will have even greater trouble submitting to your husbands.
Paul thus concludes,
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (33)
How about your marriage? How much is it a reflection of the relationship Christ has with his church?