Ephesians 5:32 says, “This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church.”
The idea of the church as the bridegroom of Christ is not a concept that is easily grasped. I personally believe that God intended the comparison (Christ and the church - husband and wife) to show us the ultimate importance of the marriage relationship. What could possibly be greater than Christ’s love for us, His followers (the church)? That is His desire for marriage, that we hold it sacred and love it above all else.
The church, here, is not the building, or congregation or fellowship hall. The church is God’s people. He loved His people so much that He sent His only son, Jesus, to die for our sins. What could be more passionate than that?
Do you feel that passionate about your marriage? Would you do anything for its survival, to make it right?
Even more so, the husband is the one called to treat his wife as Christ does the church. If the wife is taken care of as Christ takes care of the church, she will naturally reciprocate with love, honor and respect. She won’t have to work very hard at being a Godly wife when her needs are met and she feels loved. Which takes us to the next verse:
Ephesians 5:33 - "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
Men are called repeatedly in the Bible to love their wives, yet the only mention of women loving their husbands is in Titus 2. Paul is talking about older women being examples to the younger women here. Verse 4 says, “Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands…” That is hardly a command for women to love their husbands.
The woman, according to the 33rd verse in Ephesians 5, is called to respect her husband. My husband, Rick, often talks of the time we had difficulty in our marriage, and I hadn’t said, “I love you” to him in over a year. That’s not what bothered him the most though - it was the way that I looked at him. He no longer saw the respect in my eye that he loved and needed
Women need to feel love more than men do. Men need to feel respect more than women do. They go hand in hand. When a man fulfills the need of love for his wife, she will automatically return the respect he needs. In addition, when a women stops respecting her husband, he will pull back on the love he once graciously gave.
It takes a while to stop loving and respecting each other. Years of negative words and unloving actions will tear down any marriage, erasing love and respect that are vital for a healthy marriage. When the love and respect are gone, it may take intensive rebuilding of those years of mismanagement. Be sure to keep the love and respect alive in your marriage. Figure out what you have to do to make that happen.