29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
A husband’s love for his wife is self-evident to the ratio of how he interacts with his own body.
The word “for” gives an explanation for the preceding verse. The oneness of husband and wife shows that the wife is essentially part of the husband’s life.
no one ever hated his own flesh,
“Flesh” here is the husband’s body. For a husband to neglect his wife is equivalent to neglecting his own physical health. For a husband to hate his wife is to hate himself.
Nourish here carries the metaphorical idea of maturity. This is not only to meet the wife’s physical or financial needs but to build her up mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. As we feed our body to make it strong, so we build strength into the wife.
In one sense the husband cannot meet all the emotional needs of his wife, but he can do what he can with what he has. No husband can meet her needs like the Lord can.
and cherishes it,
Cherish is to foster value. To cherish someone is place them in utmost importance. The husband views his wife as more valuable to him than anyone or anything else other than God. He gives her the sense that she is top priority in his life.
There is an analogy between how Christ relates to the church and how the husband relates to his wife.
the Lord does the church.
The Lord feeds and values the church. Christ’s love for the church is on a much higher plane than the love of the husband, but this should not alter the husband’s love for his wife.
Husbands should not love their wives only for what they are but for what they can be.
The most important thing that a husband can do for his wife is to build her up and cherish her as the most important person in his life next to God Himself. She is far more than a close friend. She is special and set apart from any other human being.
The husband is to love and care for his wife without measure. Just as it is not natural for a husband to hate himself, so it is not natural to hate his wife. Neglect or abuse of her violates the principle of oneness. Above all, a wife wants to be cherished by her husband. She wants to feel valued by him. She wants to know she is first in his life beside God.
A wife needs emotional security from her husband. This involves sex with love, being appreciated by her husband, and companionship.