In his comment, Bob says that I when I quoted scripture yesterday, I removed it from its context. He's right; I did. So let's expand the verses quoted:
Ephesians 6:9: And, masters, do the same to them. Stop threatening them, for you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and with him there is no partiality.
Ephesians 5:25-33: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendour, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.
Does the fact that Paul instructs the one in authority to do it with more love and caring make the relationship less demeaning? We would certainly not say that Ephesians 6:9 makes the previous verses less demeaning to those in slavery; the instructions to husbands do not releave the submissive relationship with their wives.
I would submit that the relationship of husbands to wives and vice versa discussed in the Ephesians 5 passage is, in fact demeaning to women, but not only that, it is also demeaning to men.
Just as in the Old Testament, the laws were established to modify justice, to make it more humane -- an eye for an eye, rather than death for an injury -- that this was not the ideal which God wanted for his children. He was and continues to mold us to become more of what he created us to be. He did not create us to strike back in "equal" retribution, but it was better than what we were doing. He did not create women to be submissive to men or people to own other people, but if he could move us to more humane, loving treatment of each other, then we would be going in the right direction.
There is a better way. When we place these passages into their proper context -- using the entire bible as our guide, and placing them in our understanding of God and his loving nature, then we can see that.