"So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself" (Eph. 5:28).
Many people read the above text and conclude that it teaches that a husband should love his wife the same as he loves his own physical body. This reflects a misunderstanding of the text and degrades the marriage relationship. A man should certainly have a high regard for his physical body. However it is only his earthly home for a short period of time. It will return to the dust from whence it came. His wife, on the other hand, is another soul and therefore is much more important than anything physical. Verse 25 instructs the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church. Therefore, a husband should be willing to give his body for his wife just as Christ gave his body for the church.
To determine the meaning of "bodies" as used in our text we must consider the context. We need to read verses 22 through 33 to gain a complete understanding of the text. The Apostle Paul here is explaining the relationship of Christ and the church. Verse 23 states that Christ is the head of the body and we know this refers to the church. Therefore, Christ gave his body (physical) for his body (church). In a similar manner the husband should be willing to give his body (physical) for his body (wife). The wife is the husband's body in the same sense that the church is the Lord's body. The flesh of verse 29 is the wife just as the flesh of verse 30 is the church.
Wives should realize that this passage also teaches that they are to be the body of the husband in the sense that the church is the body of Christ. When either husband or wife wonder about their roles, they should study the relationship of Christ and the church. In that relationship are there any circumstances that excuse infidelity? Does Christ only provide for the physical welfare of the church? The list of questions could go on, but we get the idea.
If all people would understand and apply to their own lives the teaching of Ephesians 5:22 through 33 (just eleven short verses), marriage counselors and divorce courts would have no business.