Marriage 2: A Christ-Like LoveEGP Blog post from April 11, 2004
Ephesians 5:22–33 (NKJV)
 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.  Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,  that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,  that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.  For we are members of His body,° of His flesh and of His bones.  “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”°  This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5:30 NU-Text omits the rest of this verse.
Ephesians 5:31 Genesis 2:24
A man you can trust; A woman you can appoint
22. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord
The word translated as “submit” is the Greek word “hupotasso” (G5293). It is a compound word made up of two parts:
- hupo (G5259):
- under; figuratively: around, by
- tasso (G5021):
- to order, assign; figuratively: to ordain, appoint
So, literally it means “to put under orders,” much like the military where you do your part in order to make things work (including suggestions), but still ultimately “under orders” of the leader. The idea here isn’t a dictatorship by any means, but where the leader takes full ownership and responsibility. Ultimately, no matter how things went down, the husband will be the first one to answer to God for actions and outcomes. (Genesis 3:9–11)
23–24. For the husband is head of the wife … therefore, just as the church is subject [hupotasso] to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything
Women must marry guys whose leadership they trust because they must follow it in everything. This is not to say that they cannot contribute (i.e., not have any say-so), but the husband’s word is final. This is why it is so important that she must trust his leadership before marriage, and that he trusts her willingness to follow him even when she doesn’t totally agree.
A man who will protect; A woman worth risking yourself
23c. He Himself being the Savior of the Body
The word translated as “savior” (G4990) literally means “a savior, rescuer, deliverer, redeemer” and carries the idea of a protector willing to greatly sacrifice in order to provide safety and security for others.
A man who loving with the ultimate love; A woman deserving ultimate love
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church
The word translated as “love” his is the Greek word “agape.” There are four Greek words for love:
- agape (G26):
- true/unconditional love
- phileo (G5368):
- love (like a close friend); adore
- storge (not in NT):
- familial love; companionship
- eros (not in NT):
- passionate/erotic love
A man willing to die for you; A woman worth dying for
25c. And gave Himself up for her
The word translated as “gave up” (G3860) literally means “to hand over, deliver, relinquish.” The idea here is that the husband hands himself over to his wife, even being willing to relinquishing desires and sometimes even needs for her wellbeing.
26. That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word
The word “sanctify” (G37) means “to make holy,” i.e., “to set apart as special, purify, consecrate.”
The phrase “washing [G3067] of water by the word [G4487]” is literally “a water bath in a spoken word.” The idea is that the words he says are a personal message to her that wash her soul, freeing her heart from the dirt of the world.
27. That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish
Him dying for her is not in vain, but for her sanctity and purification.
Someone you can love as yourself
28a, 29a. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies … [he] nourishes and cherishes it
The word translated as “love” (G25) is the verb form of “agape” (G26). It’s not simply providing food, but providing nutrients essential for growth and development. Although directed toward husbands, it applies to wives as well.
Someone you are willing to become one with
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh
The significance of being “one flesh” is that you are the other person. What the other person is doing, you are doing. What you are doing, the other person is doing. So, you must trust the other person enough to become accountable for his/her actions.
A woman who respects you, a man who is respectable
33b. Let the wife see that she respects her husband
The word translated as “respect” (G5399) can alse be translated “venerate,” which means, “to feel profound respect for, often mingled with awe and affection.”