21: Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23: For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24: Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28: So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29: For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31: For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32: This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33: Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Paul is giving his closing exhortations. He says we are all to submit yourselves to each other. The primary practical relation we have to each other is to put other people first and in a sense of reverence to the Lord. The idea that we must have our say and that we will tell other people what they must do, dominating them in the church is completely foreign to the spirit of humility and meekness. Paul takes this thought further into the marriage relationship he says that wives are to submit themselves to their own husbands as if they are submitting themselves unto the Lord. Paul explains why this must be so, He says the husband is the head of the wife in the same way that Christ is head of the Church and he (Christ) is the Saviour of the church. So just as the church is subject to Christ so the wives are to be subject to their husbands in everything. Then Paul turns his attention to the husbands. He says, you men are to love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. This passage may be objected to by modern women but the passage sets a very, very high standard for the husbands. They are to love their wives in the same way that Christ loved the church and laid down his life for them. So while the wives submit to their husbands in everything, the husbands love them, even to laying down their lives for their wives. Christ loved the church and gave himself for her that he might make her holy and continually cleanse her by the washing of the word, so that he might present the church to himself in such a state, that she has no defilement of sin or wrinkle of old age or any other thing. The church is to be holy and without blemish. The standard that Christ has for the husbands may seem at first to be a very low standard. He is to love his wife as himself. Yet in fact it is a very, very high standard, because every man looks after himself and feeds himself in such a way that he is strengthened and healthy. Husbands are to look after their wives as if they are looking after their own body. We as believers are members of Christ’s body. When a man leaves his father and mother and is joined in matrimony to his wife in the most intimate way. And so it is with the church and Christ. This is a great mystery – which has only just been revealed to me, says Paul, (When l speak of Christ and his church) The keynote of a husbands marriage is to love his wife and the keynote of a wives marriage is to have reverence to her husband. Some might object to this passage because ungodly men dominate their wives, but this objection is unfounded. Paul tells those unreasonable men that they are to give their lives in love to their own wives. Those wives, who husbands exhibit the love of Christ, will have no difficulty in being in subjection to their husbands.