[quote=]28. Again, this subjection of wife to husband in its degree and manner may vary according to the different conditions of persons, place and time. In fact, if the husband neglect his duty, it falls to the wife to take his place in directing the family. But the** structure of the family and its fundamental law, established and confirmed by God, must always and everywhere be maintained intact **.
The way in which this works itself out will change from family to family, circumstance to circumstance. Generally speaking, the husband and wife should work together to decide what works best for their family. They should defer to one another, consider the gifts and talents of each other, and come to a conclusion together. The fact that the wife is bringing home the paycheck doesn’t change the fundamental order of things at all.
As to the second question, I think that the husband can “forbid” his wife from working and she should be obedient to him. As with everything else, though, this shouldn’t come as a dictate from him, but as a decision made, preferably mutually, after long discussion considering the pros and cons of various options. If there is an impasse, he should make a decision based on all the circumstances and she should graciously submit to his decision, even if she thinks he’s wrong, as long as he’s not asking her to do something immoral or something that violates her conscience.
Now, if the husband is not supporting the family and he wants his wife to stay home with him while they live off welfare, because he’s jealous and controlling and doesn’t want her out of his sight and is afraid of losing his status as the man of the house, I think she would be justified in getting a job in spite of his demands. In my opinion, this would be different because he would be asking her to do something immoral.
In real life, frankly, at least in my family, this rarely comes up. Sometimes I defer to him, sometimes he defers to me. Frequently, it depends upon who feels more strongly about the situation. In 13 years of marriage, we have rarely come to an impasse that requires my submission on something that I feel strongly about. We talk things through. Occasionally, we fight about it. We defer (submit) to one another. We try to make each other happy. If somebody asks me to make plans, I nearly always say that I need to run it by my husband before I commit. If I want to go somewhere and he asks me to just stay home with him, I stay home. For the first several years of our marriage, I wanted to attend the Byzantine Catholic parish of my childhood (a 25 minute drive) and my husband wanted to attend the local Latin Rite parish. We went to the parish he preferred, occasionally visiting mine. We are now very happy at my preferred parish, but it was his decision, for which I am very grateful.
It sounds simple, but it is certainly not easy. I’m really not nearly as good as it as the above paragraph makes it sound, but it is a work in progress, as is my obedience to Christ. If we (human beings) do not submit to authority out of our own free will, it is meaningless. Nobody can compel a wife to submit to her husband, just as nobody can compel honesty, hard work, diligence, perseverance, or any other virtue. It is up to us to cultivate the virtue, and obedience is most definitely a virtue.