Paul summarizes his teaching in this final verse of chapter 5. Husbands must love their wives and wives must respect their husbands. Notice he changes the order: Rather than speaking about the wife's responsibility first, as he did in verse 22, he now emphasizes the husband's love for his wife. In doing so he makes it clear that a wife's respect for her husband comes from her recognition of the husband's love for his wife. As a professor once said to me, "A wife can find it much easier to submit to a husband who shows real love for her." And this is true of the Church's relationship with Christ. 1 John 4:19 makes clear that Jesus loved us first before we could even begin to love. His love for His Bride makes clear that He made the first step to win her to Himself. And in His love the Bride finds ample reason for her love and submission to Him.
Husbands, remember, you're to love your wife as you love yourself. Not just that you care for your own body, but you have a healthy appreciation of who you are, especially as a believer in Christ. And in your good self-esteem you love the one person who shares the most intimate bond with you, your wife! If you're walking with the Lord in obedience you'll have no reason to belittle yourself. You'll have that joyful satisfaction of a life well lived.
And wives, remember, you're to respect your husband as the Church shows respect to her Lord. If your husband is an honorable man, living a righteous life, and showing you Christ-like love, you'll find in him a man you can easily respect and honor. Your esteem of your husband builds him up and encourages him to continue to live a godly life and love you all the more.
The next passage shows how this good marital relationship affects the lives of your children and those around you.