Wives and Husbands (Ephesians 5:21-33)
The text contains crucial teachings on marriage, emphasizing the love and mutual submission that should characterize the relationship between a husband and wife while drawing a parallel to the relationship between Christ and the Church.
The passage begins by calling believers to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). The following verses elaborate on this principle by addressing the roles of wives and husbands within marriage. Wives are instructed to submit to their husbands as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22), while husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25-27). The husband's love should be sacrificial and nurturing, aimed at helping his wife grow in holiness.
The text further explains that husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies (Ephesians 5:28), and that no one ever hated their own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the Church (Ephesians 5:29). The passage then refers back to the creation account in Genesis, reiterating that a man should leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, becoming one flesh (Ephesians 5:31-32). The relationship between husband and wife is presented as a profound mystery, mirroring the union between Christ and the Church.
The theological message of Ephesians 5:21-33 highlights the importance of mutual submission, love, and respect within the marital relationship, reflecting the divine love and unity between Christ and the Church. The passage provides a model for Christian marriages, with husbands loving their wives sacrificially and unconditionally, and wives submitting to their husbands' leadership.