“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25)
The first and predominant responsibility for the husband is to love his wife, and the standard in that relationship is the way Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:22-23). He loved the church through total sacrifice. Although no mere mortal can attain this goal fully, this is the standard by which a man must ever evaluate his performance as a husband.
How does Christ love the church? There are many ways to consider this, but think of what Paul alludes to, the dark hours on the cross when he gave his life. Five of the seven sayings were on behalf of others.
“Father, forgive them.” Forgiveness is the standard — and he forgave even when they did not ask for it. Long-suffering, forbearance. Even when she usurps my role? Yes, even when she crucifies you — that is God’s kind of loving.
“Today you will be with me in Paradise.” He accepted the sinner as he was, the ultimate failure, hanging on a cross. So with one’s wife, fastidious or sloppy, disorganized or computer-perfect, young and beautiful or aging and less beautiful — acceptance. By grace, introduce her to paradise.
“Mother, here is your son; Son, here is your mother.” Incredibly selfless, kind, and gentle. He makes provision for all her needs, all her weaknesses, even while he himself is in mortal agony.
“Why have you forsaken me?” The ultimate sacrifice — his most precious right, union with his Father. But what of my right to time for my own fun or my important ministry? God’s kind of love is to forsake all rights necessary to love her well, to choose and act in her best interests as a way of life.
“It is finished.” Faithful to the end. To the end of the argument, to the end of the day, to the end of life.
The husband’s first provision is for the wife’s spiritual welfare, which is encouraged by means of daily Bible study and prayer together. Closely associated with this is provision for full development of a wife’s intellectual potential. For the husband to live on the sacrifice of his young wife while he goes to school and then to shut her up at home with no opportunity for growth is to fail in loving provision. Her emotional health is his responsibility as well. Provision physically means protection, but increasingly the greatest need for protection is from the husband himself. Physical abuse should be unthinkable, and the standard must be never to touch her in anger.
Of course there are other, more deadly, ways of harming — verbal abuse, psychological wounds — and from all these his responsibility is to protect her. If any home is caught up in un-Christlike behavior, outside help should be sought by the wife if the husband is not man enough and Christian enough to seek it.
Finally, provision includes social relationships. A husband’s desire in relationships with those outside the home may not dictate the extent of social involvement.
Limits of Responsibility. Although loyalty to one’s wife takes precedence over loyalty to parents, to children, or to anyone else, loyalty to God takes highest precedence.
A new idolatry has crept into evangelical thinking, the idolatry of family. All resources of time and money are reserved for family above church, family above service to God, family above work, family above national security. This attitude has come as a reaction to earlier attitudes that put wife and children last. Correction was desperately needed. But there are times when the interests of the kingdom of God demand that a husband “hate” his wife and children — that is, that he choose to sacrifice some potential benefit of theirs for the sake of fulfilling God’s purposes in the world. Thus the husband (and/or wife) has chosen for a particular time in a particular way to behave “as if he were not married.” The order of Scripture is clear: self-sacrifice as needed for the welfare of wife and children, family sacrifice as needed for the welfare of the kingdom of God.  That balance is found in an intimate walk with Christ.
 Introduction to Biblical Ethics (IBE), Robertson McQuilkin, (2014), 320.