ANSWER: I am assuming that you are a woman and that you have a reason for asking this question about wives being submissive although you do not state why. I do not want to answer this question in the normal way because in my opinion I believe we judge women and the whole intent of the marriage covenant relationship with the eyes of carnal human minds rather than with the love of God shed in our hearts.
My second husband of fifteen years and my soul mate mentioned something that I believe is probably the key to this question about being submissive to husbands. He said that Jesus and God the Father are the supreme team. If Jesus is the head of the church and the head of his body who are the called out ones that the Father has given to him, then he is the head of the bride or wife in the spiritual marriage contract between humans and God.
Jesus came to earth to live as a human and die so that by his blood he could save humans from their sins. This blood would cover over our transgressions to fulfill the requirements of the law. By his resurrection, we know that we, too, will receive a spiritual body and become the full sons and daughters of God that he wants us to be.
Did Jesus ever say that he rebelled against the Father's wishes? No! He said that whatever he was doing it was because the Father had sent him to do it. This shows an awful lot of respect and trust in Jesus by the Father to do the right thing. Did Jesus ever think it wrong to admit that he was God and that he had an equal footing in the Godhead before and after he became Jesus the Christ? No, as Paul said, Jesus did not think it was robbery to be equal with God (Philippians 2:5 - 7).
In another place he says that he laid down his own life and that it was not taken from him without his permission:
"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. " (1John 3:16)
God commanded men to love in the same way that Jesus loved us (Ephesians 5:25). This assures wives that they will not receive abuse and makes it very easy for her to submit to him.
So what does Jesus' behavior have to do with being a good submissive wife to your husband? Jesus is the spiritual wife in this relationship and he submitted his will unto the Father and trusted him to execute the plan that they both discussed before the Creation came into being. Should not wives be doing the same? The only reason that a wife would not is if she is mistreated, abused or betrayed. God condemns treachery, which is the treatment Jesus received from his enemies.
Even in a marriage relationship, we are not to live under turmoil but in peace. If this is not happening, we need to leave this kind of relationship (1Corinithans 7:15).
Being submissive is a voluntary behavior. Forcing submission because someone judges a woman as rebellious is not right. The men who do this have betrayed the trust of their sisters and aunts and wives and daughters. They have sold them into bondage to another person without the woman's express permission (in the case of arranged marriages for political or economic reasons) and cooperation. Many women, used for sexual or economic reasons, become divorced for some selfish whim. A God who loves his daughters and his sons does not want humans to treat each other in this manner.
We are told to love our neighbor as ourselves and to treat them as we would want to be treated (Matthew 19:19 and other places). In a marriage relationship, your closest neighbor is your spouse. In another place, Paul warns us that adultery (a form of betrayal) causes the sinner to be grieved in his own soul (1Corinithans 6:18).
The word 'submit' means to put oneself in another person's hands. Chaos happens when everyone is trying to lead at the same time. So one person has been designated by God (Genesis 3:16) in each family to be the lead and the other to put themselves in the leader's trusting hands. God has given this role of leadership to the husband of each wife. The wife is not less in intelligence or talent but is weaker as a physical vessel (1Peter 3:7).
A man's eternal life is in jeopardy if there is a hindrance in his prayers. Her role is to carry and care for the children that will come from this relationship. If a man loves his wife as himself, which is what Jesus told them to do, then it is not very difficult for the wife to submit and trust him to make final family decisions. In some cases when the woman has more expertise on some issue then he is expected to submit to her so that there is peace in the family (see Ephesians 5).
We are NEVER to lord it over each other for any reason (Matthew 20:25 - 26). This would apply just as well in a marriage relationship or any relationship for that matter.
To be submissive is not just for females but also for us all. We learn and grow from talking to each other whether a husband and wife or brother and sister or mother and father with their children and are told to keep a humble and contrite heart. We are to develop relationships of trust and confidence and respect with all men so there is an element of submission in everything we do. Women today have almost given up their role as first teacher to their children and have forsaken the role of wife and mother for the world of work. Therefore, to understand the meaning of being submissive from God's perspective we must first submit to God and do as he has instructed so that we may all benefit from a lifetime of blessings.