For starters, it doesn’t mean what secular society thinks it means.
Husband and wives are equals in the eyes of the Church and with God. However, both have their own strengths and weaknesses.
As a whole, men are called to be protectors, providers, and leaders (or fixers, priests, pursuers). While women are called to be nurturers, educators, caregivers.
The protector role and the priest role are the two roles that the wife is supposed to be submissive to the husband on. If in his role as protector, the husband orders something to be done, it should be done without question.
And in the role of priest, this is similar because the priest role is often interchange with the role of protector.
The Bible is not saying the wife must be the husband’s slave, far from it. It simply is telling with wife to obey the husband in these important matters, ones where the husband is more than willing to lay down his life to protect his wife and children.
NOTE: in today’s society, it is possible to have a wife in the main protector role (i.e. a female cop married to a male teacher for example, but in general if a criminal breaks into your home, it will be the husband who is trying to protect his wife and children, not the wife trying to protect her husband and kids).
I pray this makes sense to you.