Each of you should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband. (Ephesians 5.33)
St Paul is commonly criticised for demeaning women; indeed, if he were alive and writing now what he said then about women (keeping silence in church, covering their hair…), the Church as well as society at large would be outraged. But he was writing in an entirely different age, an age where slaves were an accepted part of everyday living, where ‘Sir’, the everyday mode of address to a man, was ‘Kyrie’, ‘Lord’. In that context, one might argue that Paul’s advice was startlingly refreshing. How close would we be to the ideal if we took his advice – if men behaved in the way that generated the respect of women, and women experienced being treated with same caring love that men apply to themselves?