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Ephesians 5:29

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

No man ever yet hated his own flesh - And this is a natural reason why he should love his wife, and nourish and cherish her.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh - This is urged as an argument why a man should love his wife and show kindness to her. As no man disregards the happiness of his own body, or himself, so he should show equal care to promote the happiness of his wife. A sentiment similar to this is found in the classic writers. Thus, Curtius (lib. vii.) says, “Corporibus nostris quoe utique non odimus” - “We do not hate those things that pertain to our own bodies.” So Seneca (Epis. 14), “Fateor insitam nobis esse corporis nostri charitatem” - “I confess that there is implanted in us the love of our own body.” The word nourisheth here means properly to bring up, as e. g., children. The sense here is, that he provides for it, and guards it from exposure and want. The word “cherisheth” - θάλπει thalpei- means properly to “warm;” and may mean here that he defends it from cold by clothing - and the two expressions denote that he provides food and raiment for the body. So he is to do for his wife; and in like manner the Lord Jesus regards the church, and ministers to its spiritual necessities. But this should not be spiritualized too far. The “general” idea is all that we want - that Christ has a tender concern for the needs of the church, as a man has for his own body, and that the husband should show a similar regard for his wife.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the Lord, which includes honouring and obeying them, from a principle of love to them. The duty of husbands is to love their wives. The love of Christ to the church is an example, which is sincere, pure, and constant, notwithstanding her failures. Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify it in this world, and glorify it in the next, that he might bestow on all his members a principle of holiness, and deliver them from the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin, by those influences of the Holy Spirit, of which baptismal water was the outward sign. The church and believers will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are sanctified now, shall be glorified hereafter. The words of Adam, mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but they have also a hidden sense in them, relating to the union between Christ and his church. It was a kind of type, as having resemblance. There will be failures and defects on both sides, in the present state of human nature, yet this does not alter the relation. All the duties of marriage are included in unity and love. And while we adore and rejoice in the condescending love of Christ, let husbands and wives learn hence their duties to each other. Thus the worst evils would be prevented, and many painful effects would be avoided.
Ellen G. White
The Adventist Home, 94-5

Religion Ensures Family Happiness—Family religion is a wonderful power. The conduct of the husband toward the wife and of the wife toward the husband may be such that it will make the home life a preparation for entrance to the family above.1 AH 94.1

Hearts that are filled with the love of Christ can never get very far apart. Religion is love, and a Christian home is one where love reigns and finds expression in words and acts of thoughtful kindness and gentle courtesy.2 AH 94.2

Religion is needed in the home. Only this can prevent the grievous wrongs which so often embitter married life. Only where Christ reigns can there be deep, true, unselfish love. Then soul will be knit with soul, and the two lives will blend in harmony. Angels of God will be guests in the home, and their holy vigils will hallow the marriage chamber. Debasing sensuality will be banished. Upward to God will the thoughts be directed; to Him will the heart's devotion ascend.3 AH 94.3

In every family where Christ abides, a tender interest and love will be manifested for one another; not a spasmodic love expressed only in fond caresses, but a love that is deep and abiding.4 AH 94.4

Christianity to Be a Controlling Influence—Christianity ought to have a controlling influence upon the marriage relation, but it is too often the case that the motives which lead to this union are not in keeping with Christian principles. Satan is constantly seeking to strengthen his power over the people of God by inducing them to enter into alliance with his subjects, and in order to accomplish this he endeavors to arouse unsanctified passions in the heart. But the Lord has in His word plainly instructed His people not to unite themselves with those who have not His love abiding in them.5 AH 94.5

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Ellen G. White
The Adventist Home, 114-20

Each Has Individual Responsibilities—The two who unite their interest in life will have distinct characteristics and individual responsibilities. Each one will have his or her work, but women are not to be valued by the amount of work they can do as are beasts of burden. The wife is to grace the family circle as a wife and companion to a wise husband. At every step she should inquire, “Is this the standard of true womanhood?” and, “How shall I make my influence Christlike in my home?” The husband should let his wife know that he appreciates her work.1 AH 114.1

The wife is to respect her husband. The husband is to love and cherish his wife; and as their marriage vow unites them as one, so their belief in Christ should make them one in Him. What can be more pleasing to God than to see those who enter into the marriage relation seek together to learn of Jesus and to become more and more imbued with His Spirit?2 AH 114.2

You now have duties to perform that before your marriage you did not have. “Put on therefore, ... kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.” “Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.” Give careful study to the following instruction: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.... Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.”3 AH 114.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 46-7

Affection may be as clear as crystal and beauteous in its purity, yet it may be shallow because it has not been tested and tried. Make Christ first and last and best in everything. Constantly behold Him, and your love for Him will daily become deeper and stronger as it is submitted to the test of trial. And as your love for Him increases, your love for each other will grow deeper and stronger. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. 7T 46.1

You now have duties to perform that before your marriage you did not have. “Put on therefore, ... kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering.” Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.” Give careful study to the following instruction: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.... Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” Colossians 3:12; Ephesians 5:2, 22-25. 7T 46.2

Marriage, a union for life, is a symbol of the union between Christ and His church. The spirit that Christ manifests toward the church is the spirit that husband and wife are to manifest toward each other. 7T 46.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 425

The husband violates the marriage vow, and the duties enjoined upon him in the word of God, when he disregards the health and happiness of the wife, by increasing her burdens and cares by numerous offspring. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29). 2SM 425.1

We see this holy injunction almost wholly disregarded, even by professed Christians. Everywhere you may look, you will see pale, sickly, careworn, broken-down, dispirited, discouraged women. They are generally over-worked, and their vital energies exhausted by frequent child-bearing. The world is filled with images of human beings who are of no worth to society. Many are deficient in intellect, and many who possess natural talents do not use them for any beneficial purposes. They are not cultivated, and the one great reason is, children have been multiplied faster than they could be well trained, and have been left to come up much like the brutes. 2SM 425.2

Children in this age are suffering with their parents, more or less, the penalty of the violation of the laws of health. The course generally pursued with them, from their infancy, is in continual opposition to the laws of their being. They were compelled to receive a miserable inheritance of disease and debility, before their birth, occasioned by the wrong habits of their parents, which will affect them in a greater or less degree through life. This bad state of things is made every way worse by parents’ continuing to follow a wrong course in the physical training of their children during their childhood. 2SM 425.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 417

Brother M, you fail to understand the heart of a woman. You do not reason from cause to effect. You know that your wife is not so cheerful and happy as you wish to see her, but you do not investigate the cause. You do not analyze your deportment to see if the difficulty does not exist in yourself. Love your wife. She is hungering for deep, true, elevating love. Let her have tangible proof that her care and interest for you, shown in her attention to your comfort, is appreciated and returned. Seek her opinion and approval in whatever you engage in. Respect her judgment. Do not feel that you know all that is worth knowing. 2T 417.1

A house with love in it, where love is expressed in words and looks and deeds, is a place where angels love to manifest their presence, and hallow the scene by rays of light from glory. There the humble household duties have a charm in them. None of life's duties will be unpleasant to your wife under such circumstances. She will perform them with cheerfulness of spirit and will be like a sunbeam to all around her, and she will be making melody in her heart to the Lord. At present she feels that she has not your heart's affections. You have given her occasion to feel thus. You perform the necessary duties devolving upon you as head of the family, but there is a lack. There is a serious lack of love's precious influence which leads to kindly attentions. Love should be seen in the looks and manners, and heard in the tones of the voice. 2T 417.2

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 46

After the creation of Adam every living creature was brought before him to receive its name; he saw that to each had been given a companion, but among them “there was not found an help meet for him.” Among all the creatures that God had made on the earth, there was not one equal to man. And God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. Without companionship the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved. PP 46.1

God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided “an help meet for him”—a helper corresponding to him—one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation. “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.” Ephesians 5:29. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one.” PP 46.2

God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. “Marriage is honorable” (Hebrews 13:4); it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man's social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature. PP 46.3

“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.” Everything that God had made was the perfection of beauty, and nothing seemed wanting that could contribute to the happiness of the holy pair; yet the Creator gave them still another token of His love, by preparing a garden especially for their home. In this garden were trees of every variety, many of them laden with fragrant and delicious fruit. There were lovely vines, growing upright, yet presenting a most graceful appearance, with their branches drooping under their load of tempting fruit of the richest and most varied hues. It was the work of Adam and Eve to train the branches of the vine to form bowers, thus making for themselves a dwelling from living trees covered with foliage and fruit. There were fragrant flowers of every hue in rich profusion. In the midst of the garden stood the tree of life, surpassing in glory all other trees. Its fruit appeared like apples of gold and silver, and had the power to perpetuate life. PP 46.4

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