The Holiness of Marriage: Love Your Wife

“Saint Paul goes on to speak of the oneness of Christ with His Body, the Church, and of the endless sacrificial love which Christ has for His Bride, the Church. Every married couple is called to live in such a perfect union and harmony that their relationship reflects the relationship of Christ and His Church: ‘For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church’ (Eph. 5:23). But this passage as a whole provides the proper understanding of the headship of the husband, which is based on Christ’s teaching about leaders being self-sacrificing servants (Mark 10:44). This means that the husband has the responsibility to love and serve his wife as Christ loves and serves the Church. For Saint Paul goes on immediately to say: ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.’ The natural response of the wife to a husband who lives with authentic Christ-like love for her will be to cooperate with him (hence, this is not a response that has to be forced from her). The headship of the husband is intended to be a source of unity and harmony in the family – not the source of oppression and division.”   (David and Mary Ford, Marriage as a Path to Holiness: Lives of Married Saints, pgs. XXIV-XXXI)