Paul instructs saintly wives. Wives are to be subject to their own husbands as to the Lord. He explains what he means and why. According to the created order, the husband is the head of the wife like Christ is the head of the church. Christ is the savior of the church body, so the husband, being the picture of Christ in the household, is the savior of his wife. As the church is subject to Christ, the wives ought to submit to their husbands in everything. Thus, wives are a picture of humanity in relationship to God. Paul is honoring the created order as revealed in Genesis 1-2. His instruction for wives does not permit abuse. It is not a devaluing of the woman in any relationship. Look at his instruction for husbands.
Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. He gave Himself for the church on a Roman cross. Therefore, husbands, being the picture of Christ, are to live sacrificially for their wives, raising their wives up and establishing their wives like Christ establishes the church body.
Look at God’s intentions. He desires to edify His church in all her glory without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. He intends to make His church holy and blameless. Because these are God’s intentions with humanity, these are to be a husband’s intentions for his wife—despite her sin in every way. Christ loves us because we are His body. We love our wives as we love our own bodies. We are one flesh.
Paul quotes from Genesis 1. He tells us plainly that a man leaving his mother and being joined to his wife to become one flesh is a picture of Christ and His church. Each husband is to love his own wife. Each wife is to respect her husband. Why? Because we are the body of Christ painting a picture of Christ in marriage relationship according to God’s design from the beginning.