Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church he himself being the savior of the body. But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, so that he may present the church to himself as glorious not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one has ever hated his own body but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is great but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:22-33 New English Translation (NET Bible)
This passage is talking to believers.
Verse 32 makes clear that this is a comparison of marriage between a man and a
woman and the relationship between the Church and Jesus.
As wives, we need to appreciate how the
mind of our husband works (obviously we will never fully understand him, and we're aren't meant to). Every man is
different, but in a lot of ways they are the same. Either way, scripture makes very
clear that wives should respect their husbands. There are extenuating
circumstances, of course. If you are being abused, you need to seek help
and protection, if necessary. But there are no conditions listed here. It
doesn't say, "wives respect your husband IF he loves you first" or "IF you feel like he deserves it" or fill in your own blank.
Find out how your husband feels respect.
This may sound silly, but just ask him. "When do you feel the most
respected?" "What can I do better or differently to best respect you?"
me, I learned that my husband doesn't always want my advice. This was hard for
me to swallow because I am what you would call a control freak and unsolicited adviser. When I offer my advice, sometimes it comes across to him in a
demeaning or manipulative way. When that happens, I am disrespecting him
hardcore. The sad thing is, if I didn't ask, he wouldn't have told
me. I would never have known and I would have continued to unknowingly
Husbands also are responsible to find out
how they can best love their wives. He also should simply ask, or even pick up on
context clues. My husband shows me he loves me by spending time with me,
standing in the kitchen with me while I cook, or lounging on the couch with me watching a
show in a dark room. Sure I can do these things on my own, but when he's there, I feel loved. There is no
one size fits all when it comes to applying this scripture to our marriages.
But we are commanded by God to submit to our husbands and love our wives.
In our current culture, there is a lot of emphasis on
women's rights and equality among men and women. This scripture, calling
women to submit to their husbands, is not a gender inequality issue. It is an
obedient heart toward God issue.
God is not now nor has He ever claimed that He
created men as greater than women. Nor is He saying that man is or should be in
control over woman. He is simply saying that in a Godly marriage relationship He has
appointed the man, the husband, as the head of the household and the wife. The husband is
responsible to God for taking care of her and loving her as his own body.
the wife, we are our husband's helper, his friend, and support system. There is
nothing wrong with being a strong and independent woman, but a marriage is not the best
place for that kind of independence.
When you marry, you commit to your spouse and to God
that you are joining together as a team, dependent on God and each other, to
work together towards common goals. That is best done when the wife submits to and respects her husband, and the husband loves his wife and cares for her as himself.
If those things are taken care
of, everything else becomes a non-issue.