Once I heard a lady saying this to another lady, "You must not let your husband take control of family matters. You need to restrain his power, if not you'll have no more say in the family. Why must a wife be obedient to her husband?"
I found this type of comments shocking, because such thoughts have never come across my mind. It seems like for many people marriage is a struggle for power - power to take charge in the family, to make important decisions, to rule over. Indeed, this has been pronounced by God. After the Fall, He said this to Eve (and all other women to come), "Your desire with be of your husband, and he will rule over you."
Then in the New Testament, Paul says, "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:22-23). For the lady I mentioned in the first paragraph, this passage must be as shocking as her comments to me. Nowadays we talk a lot about gender equality. This 2 verses seem to indicate that God is chauvinistic.
After I got married, I started to understand these 2 verses better. It's not easy to be the head of the family (Think about the struggles of single mothers). With power comes more responsibilities. A married man has to make sure that his family is well fed and sheltered. He's the one who fixes the broken things in the house, checks the car regularly and sends it for service, mows the lawn. He has to make sure he got a secured job so that he'll have steady income to feed his family. The burden is more on him. A wife can choose to stay home, but a husband usually can't (especially in Asian countries).
Paul says this after the 2 verses, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. "
As a woman, I'm very glad that I don't have to be the head of the family. I can leave all the important decisions to my husband and I don't have to be worried. If a husband loved his wife as his own body, if he took care of her and the family, then I don't think it's unfair for a wife to submit to her husband. In fact, she'll be very willing to do that.
Marriage is not a struggle for power; it's a union of love sanctified by God. Even if the couples are non-Christians, I still believe that their marriage is sacred. Instead of fighting for more say in the family, we should pour out more love towards each other. Let the men make the decisions, we women just sit down & relax. :-P