Most of us know about the commands to the married found in Ephesians 5:22-31. You know ... "Wives submit" and "Husbands love." That stuff. Now, there is a small number of husbands that classify themselves as Christians and see "Wives submit" as permission, nay, even a command to lord it over their wife and children. Abuse is not an issue to them. It's right there in Scripture. Fortunately, most of us would see that as wrong. No, we see how it is. The command is "Husbands, love your wife." So we seek, however vaguely it might be, to love our wives. On the other side of this bell curve, there are others who read further and see more. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her." (Eph 5:25) Yes, that's a bit more. There is a sense of surrender in it, the idea of giving oneself up for one's wife. Farther down this curve there are even those who recognize that "as Christ also loved the church" was Christ dying for His Bride when she was running from Him. This wasn't a warm and friendly relationship that He was in. He was arrested and left virtually alone by His "beloved". And He died for her. "While we were yet sinners." Now that is a step farther.
Way on down at the very end of the curve, however, is what I believe to be a very, very small number of husbands who bother to read and appropriate the entire thought.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. (Eph 5:25-27)There is, as it turns out, a whole lot more to "as Christ loved the church" than "love" and even "gave Himself up for her." There is a purpose. According to this text, Christ loved the church by giving Himself up for her (while she wasn't devoted to Him) for the purpose of cleansing her "by the washing of water with the word" so that "she should be holy and blameless."
Husbands, did you know that was your task? Maybe you knew that you were supposed to love your wives. Maybe you even knew you were supposed to love her sacrificially. Did you know that the example we have in Christ with His bride, however, says that what we must be doing is loving her sacrificially to be washing our wives in the water of the word? We are to be taking responsibility to present her holy and blameless. Now, how many of us are doing that? If you're not, it is a ... marital "misstep" (read "sin").