Todays second reading must be understood in the context and for the time in which it was written. With the latter in mind it is quite revolutionary.
This context and time was totally patriarchal. Women were the property of their fathers or husbands.
For Paul to say ‘Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her.’ is unbelievable for the time and context.
For Paul to say ‘So husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.’ is unbelievable for the time and context.
Even today in our ‘advanced’ western society it is often something more hoped for than achieved.
Today’s first reading and Gospel reading are about faith in and commitment to the One True God.
If asked why I have faith in and why I am committed to the One True God I would find it difficult to explain. I would flounder and say this and that and at the end feel that it was somehow inadequate. If I asked you why you married your marriage partner could you give a clear, and succinct answer?
When referring to the followers; ‘many of whom ‘returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him’ Jesus said ‘it is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.’
In other words hard concrete proofs, explanations in words, are unavailable and inadequate when it comes to faith in, trust in and commitment to God. ie ‘the flesh is of no avail.’ So also proofs, explanations, words, are totally inadequate to explain why you love, trust and are committed to your marriage partner.
Then Jesus puts it in another way which only deepens the mystery; ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.’
So, as ‘they’ say; ‘put that in your pipe and smoke it.’