Let’s take a quick survey.
Wives, do your husbands clean the house the same way you do? Husbands, do your wives handle the kids the same way you do?
Fascinating research. Interesting conclusions. Men and women are different!
The role of men
When Paul begins to address roles in marriage in Ephesians 5:21-33, he drags the reader all the way back to Genesis 1-3. His teaching is rooted in creative order, not on any cultural biases. Obviously he addresses cultural issues like head coverings and women speaking in church gatherings in other places, but in Ephesians 5:21-33 he is clearly using creative order to argue his point. In other words, Paul is arguing from how man and woman were created and existed before sin polluted the world, including the institution of marriage.
The Gospel isn’t just that Jesus died to save us from sin, but he also came to earth to usher in His kingdom and restore fallen people and this fallen world. This is true of gender roles. God is out to rescue and restore gender and we need not look any further than Jesus to find out what a man should look like.
The true Man
Jesus was intentional, he was full of purpose, he defended, he set free, he taught, he healed, he comforted, he confronted, he loved the unlovable, he wept, and he served. There you go fellas, this is what you were predestined to be conformed to (Romans 8:29). As husbands, this is how we love our wives and train our kids. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2) For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (Ephesians 5:23) No higher calling, no small thing!
So when Paul gets to his instructions for wives to submit to their husbands, he is not asking them to be subordinate, nor is he commanding them to be anything less than who they are as those created in the image of God. Paul understands the church to be co-laborers and co-heirs with Christ. He understands marriage to be a reflection of Christ and His love for the church. Husband and Wife are a team, each playing their role in showing the world Jesus’ great love for his people.