As teenagers of the sixties and young parents of the seventies, this passage was confusing for us. We could not reconcile what the Bible was telling us with the philosophy of modern society. It just did not compute.
To add to our confusion came the philosophy of not damaging the psyche of one’s children by implementing certain types of punishment for unsatisfactory behavior. Fortunately, a certain brand of rubber kitchenware was not mentioned as damaging to the psyche of children in any of these publications and was selectively applied to the backsides of our little ‘angels’ on an “as needed” basis.
Ephesians 6:4, admonishes, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Until being shown how the relationship between Jesus and the church correlates with the relationship between a husband and wife, then the family, this passage may remain confusing. Jesus loves the church so much He was willing to die for her. Husbands are to protect their wives (and their families) the same way they protect themselves.