Ephesians 5:31 is a verse that paraphrases the earlier Genesis 2:24. It is a reminder made by Paul that marriage is an act that turns two individuals into one body or unit. It reflects the original design of marriage in Biblical texts, one between a man and a woman that should last as a lifelong relationship (New International Version, Eph. 5:31). In fact, when questioned regarding divorce, Jesus referred to the passages when enforcing the concept of marriage being lifelong engagement. However, certain passages in the New Testament acknowledge that legitimate reasons for divorce exist. Additionally, Paul’s quotes in Genesis 2:24 emphasize sexual purity in regards to the Christian faith (New International Version, Gen. 2:24). In Ephesians 5, Paul outlines a number of other concepts that connect the Biblical text with marriage. First, he discusses the value of sexual morality by dissuading the reader from acts that are considered impure (New International Version, Eph. 5). Second, Paul discusses the ways in which the relationship between a husband and a wife is reflective of the relationship between the church and Jesus. Essentially, he suggests that the ways in which the church submits to Jesus, similarly, the wife should submit to the husband. Paul’s writing is largely supported by consistent references to prior revelations. While he acknowledges that marriage has been given the definition early and has not changed, he adds that it has even higher regard due to the comparison of the husband and wife with the church and Christ. Paul also states that one should love oneself as he loves his wife and that the wife should respect her husband. Further, he comments that as the two become ‘one flesh’, a husband that loves a wife by extension also loves himself.
New International Version. Biblica.