“Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” (Eph. 5:33)
Paul was emphasizing the relationship between Christ and his church. He used the marriage relationship to draw a parallel. He wound up saying that each was like the other and his main concern was that the Ephesians understood their new relationship in Christ through being in the church, the body of Christ.
The last statement of this chapter is to make sure that his readers understood that even though he was talking about the mystery of Christ and the church he was also sincere in his application of that principle to the marital relationship.
There is then a repeat of the main thoughts of these verses as they pertain to the marital relationship. These are not so mysterious that they can be misunderstood. How it works out may be a mystery but what the two parties need to do to make it work out is not.
Paul sums it up in two statements. One statement is for the male, and one is for the female. They involve love and respect. One could make the case that both husband and wife should love the other and both should respect the other and receive little in the way of argument.
Perhaps we would be satisfied to believe that the husband’s love will create respect on his part and that the wife’s respect will lead to love on her part. In days gone by neither of these two emotions were required for marriage. In many cultures, marriages were arranged, and often the couple did not even know each other prior to the ceremony. Think of Paul’s requirements in that light. We assume that people who marry are already in love and filled with respect.
The husband must learn to love. The wife must learn to respect her husband. In this passage, the wife is not required to be loveable, and the husband is not required to be easily respected but think how much easier it is to learn to love and respect them when they are.
Task for Today: Work on loving and being loveable. Work on respecting and being easily respected. You will then be in a position to become what God intended when he made you one.