A wife is compared to the bride of Christ - the church. A wife is instructed in Ephesians 5 to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ. In that same parallel, the husband is to model the love for his wife after the love that Christ has for His bride, the church. We have a wonderful privilege and responsibility to reflect that to the world.
Our Christian marriages should point people straight to Christ! If people don't look at our marriages and see them reflect Christ and the church, we are failing.
If the world looks at our marriages and sees anything less than a sacrificial love, we are failing. If the world looks at our marriages and sees a husband putting himself before the needs of his wife, we are failing. If the world looks at our marriages and sees the wife with anything less than the willing and loving submission that the church has for Christ, we are failing.
And...we are failing.
That is why the gender debate matters. The statistics say that Christian marriages are as likely to fail as secular marriages (I have my doubts about the questions asked and think that more should have been asked that would "unskew" the numbers)...but the numbers are not good.
Why is the divorce rate so high? Just like in Jesus' time...hardness of hearts. On the part of both parties.
If the love/submission is modeled on Christ and the church...if the love is modeled after Christ and the submission is modeled after the church - it is the model of Scripture. Each puts the other first, in a way that reflects Christ and the church.
We are the shadow; the mirror. How do we reflect Christ to the world?