“He who loves his wife loves himself.”
He goes on logically to say that a man doesn’t hate his own body, but cares for it, feeds it, shelters it. Paul, in a few sentences, gives the church a picture of what it means to be a husband. A husband is to “love [his] wife as [his] own body.” (Ephesians 5:28)
“After all, no one ever hated his own body.” (Ephesians 5:29)
Of course, that’s actually not true. In the world, some men abuse their own bodies every day. They drink to excess, they smoke, they ‘do’ drugs, they drive too fast, they take steroids in an effort to be strong, they sit on the couch all day watching television, they climb to impossible heights without oxygen, they dive into deep caves without proper equipment, they commit crimes that will imprison them for life.
Oddly enough, in today’s world, some women do these same things.
Perhaps, in our culture, Paul is speaking to both men and women. Perhaps the picture here is of how to be a spouse. We are to love our spouses as we ought to love our own bodies. How can we know how to love the other if we do not love and care for ourselves? This is not to say we should put ourselves above the other person in the relationship; rather we must recognize that if we abuse ourselves, what makes us think we will be able to or inclined to treat the other any better?
God says to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.