In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
There is a lot of confusion within Christianity and outside of Christianity about the roles that husbands and wives play. Some see the idea of a husband as the head of the house and the wife in a subservient role as sexist and outdated. Others believe that this was misinterpreted and never meant to be taken in such a manner.
The truth of the matter comes down to an understanding of love. No matter what one’s interpretation of the head of household issue, it really can’t go very far without understanding what it means to love. To do so without an understanding of love is to take everything out of context.
Ephesians 5:28 gives us a bit of context but not the entire picture. In essence though, a husband who loves his wife will always be looking out for her best interests. There is no selfish demanding as is thought of when the idea of the head of the household is thrown around. A husband who loves his wife as he loves his own body is not going to ask his wife to do something that he wouldn’t do. In fact, if you back up and look at the full context of the verse, you’ll find that the husband will be self sacrificing and always seek to protect his wife. He does so because he cherishes her.
The Golden Rule applies to marriage just as much as it does in the rest of life. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” works in marriage even more than elsewhere. This is the idea of cherishing. A husband should not treat his wife in a way that he would not like to be treated. It’s that simple. This is love and love cherishes. It gives context to other passages describing the roles of the genders. There was never meant to be anything other than love built into these roles which means that each person is looking out for and taking care of the other.