Ephesians 5:22-33

Marriage Like Christ and the Church

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church [a]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [b]respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:25 say that husbands should Love their wives which all reflects how Jesus Christ Loves The Church, and also how Jesus Christ gave Himself up which suggest/hints crucifying Himself on the cross in order to die for the church. Therefore, based on Ephesians 5:25 , the bible reader can infer/deduce that Jesus Christ has an extremely Passionate Love for The Christian Church. Furthermore, Ephesians 5:22-33 emphasizes that a husband's relationship with his wife should reflect Jesus Christ's relationship with The Christian Church. Therefore, we could further infer/deduce that a husband also has to have an extremely Passionate Love for his wife.

( 1 Corinthians 7:25-31 )

25 Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who [a]by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 26 I think then that this is good in view of the [b]present distress, that it is good for a man [c]to remain as he is.27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. 29 But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; 31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

However, 1 Corinthians 7:29 seems to suggest that husband(and their wives) should Not idolize(and/or worship) their marriage.

How should we view

Ephesians 5:22-33(specifically Ephesians 5:25) which suggests that a husband should have an extremely Passionate Love for his wife

in light of

1 Corinthians 7:29 bible verse which says husband(and their wives) should Not idolize(and/or worship) their marriage?

Other Related Question postings: Literary devices explaining Paul's use of language style when it comes to marrying or even being involved in worldliness (1 Corinthians 7:27-31)?

  • 1
    There is no suggestion that Christ 'idolizes' the Church : he loves it. Then why would husbands ever want to idolize their wives ? : they love them.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 16, 2022 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


Neither of the two passages, 1 Cor 7:25-31 and Eph 5:25-28 is discussing passion - the word in the Greek for such passionate "love" is "eros" which is not mentioned.

What IS mentioned is agape love - the kind of love which Paul describes as Christ having for the church. Indeed, the agape love is according to Eph 5:25 -

Husbands, love [ ἀγαπάω ] your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her

THAT - is extremely demanding, selfless love at a very high standard. Such a love is NOT based on passion but upon principle. This is not to suggest that sexual passion is absent - far from it, but that is not the primary motivation and basis for a Christian marriage.

Paul, in 1 Cor 7:1-6 makes it clear that in a normal healthy marriage, sexual expression has an integral part. Later in the same chapter Paul essentially says two more things:

  • being single is acceptable and often a desirable state of affairs where practical
  • being married is not wrong and is better for some people.

Back to Eph 5 - Paul is very clear that "agape" love is to be the basis of marriage and NOT passion. Agape love is other-focused, selfless, considerate, kind and courteous - see 1 Cor 13 for a longer definition of this kind of love.

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