In confronting the question of what responsibilities men, in fact, owe to women, it is found that this ayah has the answer “Men are the maintainers and protectors of women.” It is very simple. In marriage, it is the OBLIGATION of the man, the right that the wife can legally enforce on her spouse, to take care of her. He must provide for her food, clothing, and all other physical needs of herself and the household. He must protect her in the face of danger. He must act as a father to the children. If he does not do these things, then it is a more than sufficient ground for a divorce. These are the basic rights that are conferred upon the individual when entering a marriage.
It goes deeper.
Prophet Mohammad (saw) once described women as a delicate ornament vase, and treated them accordingly. This maintaining is more than the immense responsibility of providing for the physical needs, it is also the huge responsibility to provide for the emotional ones too. He must show her love and treat her with honour, dignity and respect. He must also buy her gifts frequently.
It is a must on the husband to provide her comfort and the luxuries of life. Sexual fulfillment is also a condition of marriage. According to Islam, a man is a sinner if he stays away from sex for a period of 4 months. But this does not mean making her pregnant. It means having some common sense and using a condom.
In addition Prophet Mohammad has said that the best muslim man is the one who is best to his wife (Bukhari). The ordinance, therefore, is clear and needs to be emphasized. Men are meant to cater to the needs of the wife, and aid whenever possible. Kindness to the wife has been emphasized over and over by the Prophet.
This is exactly what women should expect of their men. This is what men should expect from themselves. It is the job of the husband to remember that they are, indeed, the captain of the helm, but who would argue that the ship is not of equal importance, if not more important?