That is very clearly explained in the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians. The husband has a special God-given authority over the family. Remember that the relationship between the spouses is mystical in nature, as the following passage clearly explains:
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Thus we speak of Christ as the Bridegroom (husband) and of the Church (or, also, of each of our souls) as the Bride (wife), mystically speaking.
Only under this standpoint, and noticing how much Christ the Bridegroom did for His Bride, we can understand this authority, which is meant to lead and protect, but never to humiliate or diminish.
St. Paul begins clearly by expressing the mystery of agape love: “submit to one another”.
Then he goes ahead addressing the wives:
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body …] Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
We can clearly see the connection Christ-Husband, Church-Wife.
Now St. Paul addresses the husbands:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy …] husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies …] After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church …] each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself
Jesus actually fulfilled this role as He became the living Bridegroom and Head of the Church. Husbands and wives are called, today more than ever, to reflect the supernatural order and to demonstrate by their intense agape love what is meant to be a good husband and what is meant to be a good wife, in a world of darkness that is desperately trying to destroy the family and the sacrament of Matrimony.