We read of the creation of Eve in Genesis 2:18-25
” Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” … (20) The man gave names to all livestock … But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (21) So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. (22) And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. (23) Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (24) Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (25) And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
God describes woman as being a helper fit for man. This seems to be a fairly equal situation. However, we have in the above verses a type of Jesus and his bride (the church). Woman was taken out of the side of man, as the church was formed from the sacrifice of Jesus (Ephesians 5:23). In this type we see the submission the wife should show to her husband as the church should show submission to Jesus.
God gave man the role of being the head, and I suspect it was like that from the beginning. This doesn’t mean that woman wasn’t equal with man. It means that men and women have different roles in God’s plan that reflect the relationship between Christ and the church.
Because of depravity, godless men have ruled mercilessly over women down the ages. This is not the rule that God demands. The rule God demands is a self-sacrificial rule – “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25).
When the relationship between husbands and wives is based on God’s principles, a beautiful, harmonious situation exists. When the relationship between husbands and wives is based on selfishness, disastrous consequences happen. God’s way is the only way for long term peace and happiness.
Ephesians 5:21-33 sums up the situation very well:
submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (22) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (24) Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (25) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, (26) that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (27) so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (28) In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (29) For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, (30) because we are members of his body. (31) “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (32) This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (33) However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.