31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:31–33 (ESV)
The Apostle Paul’s final thought in Ephesians 5 regarding husbands and their wives is found in Eph. 5:33. Having just compared heterosexual marriage to the heavenly union between Christ and the church. Paul reminds his audience not to forget the responsibility within an earthly marriage.
First, the husband is to love his wife as himself. Again, the word love (ἀγαπάω; agapao) means a self-sacrificial love of the will. Additionally, the wife is to respect φοβέω; phobeo) her husband. To respect means to admire and to high opinion of her husband.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “God’s call for husbands to love their wives and for wives to respect their husbands is not an exhortation to naivete, to put up with impenitent abusers, or to pretend that no marital problems will ever arise between two sinners who, by the Lord’s grace, endeavor to fulfill His will for matrimony. Instead, it is a call for two people to set aside their own preferences in the interest of living before the face of God in such a way that shows the world why the Christ-church bond is the most beautiful relationship in all creation. And it is a call for churches to do everything in their power to teach us how to fulfill our respective marital roles as well as to intervene when gross violations of the marriage covenant occur among us.”
The unity between the husband and his wife is to be seen within the church before the Lord Jesus Christ and the world. Husbands, let us never be tyrants towards our wives. Wives, may you never view yourself as slaves to your husbands.
Soli deo Gloria!