In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.
Marriage is two becoming one flesh. So the husband who shows love to his wife also loves himself. (And if her needs are unmet you can believe that his probably will be, too!) Christian marriage should be a living image to a watching world of the union of Christ and the church.
Christ loves the church because we are the body of Christ! As Eve was created from the flesh of Adam, so the flesh of Christ was given to make us into new creations through his blood. Instinct tells us to protect and care for our own bodies, and Christ always protects and cares for the members of His body.
Even when we sin and face consequences, He loves and cares for us. Like a runner bringing the deficient parts of her body into submission and working them into shape, when we need spiritual growth we will be put in situations that allow us to exercise and mature spiritually. Our patience and love will grow through testing. Our knowledge of God will grow through the spiritual disciplines of reading Scripture and prayer. Christ doesn’t punish – he disciplines. There is a big difference. He nourishes and cherishes us and wants us to be all that we can be through the power of the Spirit!
God intends for Christian marriage to be a school of growth in grace, and it’s not until we realize that this is about something bigger than us that we’re set free to begin that journey. And the irony is when we start giving ourselves away to a bigger project than just our own happiness, guess what? It’s then and only then that we start experiencing the happiness that God has intended us to enjoy in the first place, because God has so ordered this world that it is only when we first seek His kingdom and His righteousness that we find all things. And when we seek ourselves first and our own happiness, we never find it, because God has made this world God-centered. And when we pursue Him, what we find is we find all the happiness that He has stored up for those and those only who pursue Him. - Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III