25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
Having presented the role of the wife in verses 22 to 24, the Holy Spirit now turned to the role of the husband in marriage (5:25-32)
The husband’s role has a different emphasis than his wife’s.
love your wives,
The Greek word for “love” here is the term used for God’s love for us (Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 4:8). This is not the Greek word for reciprocal love or the love of affection. The idea here carries thoughts of the husband’s love being (1) divine (because this love originates in God Himself), (2) self-sacrificing (it is oriented to someone else), (3) one way (he loves whether or not he is loved in return)—a love that is (4) free to relate (there are no soul-kinks such as resentment that keep him from loving his wife).
Co 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
Social codes of households of the first century never charged the husband to love his wife. For the husband to love his wife was a radically new perspective for the husband. This is the polar opposite of treating wives as an inferior subject.
Husbands are to love their wives like Christ loves the church. They cannot love exactly like Christ loved but can have a measure of this love. Christ is the husband’s model for loving his wife.
Christ also loved the church
The same love whereby Christ loved the church is the love the husband is to have for his wife. This is not the love of affection but the love of self-sacrifice.
and gave Himself for her,
True love is self-sacrificing. A measure for whether the husband loves his wife like the Lord loves the church is whether he sacrifices his priorities in deference to her. The degree of the husband’s love for his wife is to match the degree of Christ’s sacrificial love for the church.
The husband is to sacrifice his own interests for cherishing his wife.
The husband’s role in marriage is to correspond to Christ’s love for the church. His love seeks the highest good for others. This kind of love puts in balance the wife’s role of arranging her life under her husband (5:28, 33). Paul put the husband’s role at the highest possible place in marriage.
The one who loves biblically does not love because someone is worthy of that love. Biblical love comes from the person with the capacity to love rather than because of the object of love. A Christian husband should not love his wife primarily because she is physically appealing; he should love her even though she might lose the attractiveness she had when they were first married. The issue is not the object of love but rather the lover’s character or capacity to love. This means that he loves her whether she deserves it or not. He cherishes her whether she respects him or not.
The husband’s love transcends the belligerence or obnoxiousness of his wife. His love for her does not rest on who or what she is; it rests on something within him. He loves her regardless of any problem he may find in her. He loves her if their relationship is not good. His love for Christ transcends whatever his wife might be. This love does not require personal relationship to function. Jesus shows us love regardless of whether we love Him.
Biblical love of the husband connotes the idea of cherishing. To cherish means to value. A husband with this kind of love will put his wife first. He will put her above their children, above his career, above his friends or anything else on earth other than God Himself. This also involves communicating this kind of love to her. It is not enough to tell her he loves her a few times; it must be a lifestyle.
The husband’s love is sacrificial. He does not love to get but to give. He puts his wife’s welfare before his own. That is a far cry from being a tyrant.