"Wives be submissive to your husbands as to the Lord in everything...Husbands love your wives dwelling with them with understanding and giving honor to them" (Eph. 5:25, 1Pet. 3:7). "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Gen.3:16).
Before the fall, man and woman dwelt together in harmony. Adam was created first and then God created Eve as his helper. (Helper in ruling and populating the earth not doing the laundry etc.). After the fall, order was thrown out of balance. The woman's desire (not romantic but sinful controlling desire) was for her to be first. This disrupted peaceful union with the man. Man's wanting to rule over the woman disrupted peaceful union with the woman. J. MacArthur notes, "Sin has turned the harmonious system of God-ordained roles into distasteful struggles of self-will" (Study bible note Gen.3:16). This is where the women's equal rights movement and male chauvinism comes from. Nothing is new here. This has been a problem since the beginning of time.
God's plan of restoration for the sinful tension that is found between husbands and wives is found in a re-establishing of the role of man and woman. Wives are to submit and husbands are to love and honor their wives. It is objected that this is not fair for the woman. This is not a lesser position for the woman. It is a divine reordering of Gods original plan. There is plenty and "equal" responsibility for both the husband and wife. He is not an executive and she a hired hand. They are both executives ruling over the business of family life. If there are two of equal status in ownership, there must be different roles or else there will be a problem of conflict (not of overall interest--just conflict!). One party must be willing to submit in a conflict of disagreement or else division occurs and sin enters in.
The roles of man and wife are not measured in spirituality either. "The spiritual head" has been distorted to mean that man is more apt to be spiritual. This is nonsense! This is not about who is more spiritual, closer to God, or emotionally stable. The Corinthian church was subject to the possibility of being beguiled as was Eve (II Cor 11:3). The woman is not spiritually inferior to the man in any way. (This would not be hard to prove empirically in many cases!). I often times find myself leaning on the spirituality of my wife when my spirituality is deficient.
Bottom line: Wives you are to submit to your husbands. Husbands are to love their wives. It doesn't matter whether he or she deserves it. What matters is that God has ordered it.
One of the primary points of error is an attitude that says "He can't run the show so I will." Or men may dishonor their wives by having adulterous affairs, or be unloving in his speech, or unloving in the way he treats her, using her "desire to rule over him" as an excuse.
Wives it doesn't say "when he gets right" you are then obligated to submit to him. See 1Pet. 3:1 where there are some that are married to husbands "that do not obey the word." They are to be especially submissive in these cases. And husbands it does not say to honor her only when she is not trying to rule over you.
What areas do wives submit themselves in? "Everything!" Husbands love and honor does not make exceptions and allowance for disrespect. I will remember this and take it to heart today. Will you?