The Apostle Paul refers to our union with our spouse a mystery. While there are plenty of jokes that could follow, what he’s talking about is the nature of the spiritual union in marriage. He describes it as a husband and wife being glued together. He gives the example that we are one with our spouse as Christ is one with his church. He even goes so far as to say if a husband loves himself he’s loving himself. He doesn’t say it’s “like” loving yourself, he said it “IS” loving yourself.
Marriage is a reflection of Christ’s relationship with his body. The husband is to love his wife as she responds with respect. This is the recipe for a thriving and fruitful marriage.
We really could just stop there but those of us who are married know it’s not that easy. When we look at the lengths to which Jesus went to make his bride his cherished eternal partner, we don’t see him demanding a response. We see Jesus dying for mankind and extending his love for us before we ever loved him back. So should a husband love his wife.
A marriage in proper order is not when the man has authority over his wife but when the husband is bringing unconditional love into the relationship that produces the fruit of respect from his wife.