However, whereas in the relationship between Christ and the Church the subjection is only on the part of the Church, in the relationship between husband and wife the "subjection" is not one-sided but mutual ... All the reasons in favour of the "subjection" of woman to man in marriage must be understood in the sense of a "mutual subjection" of both "out of reverence for Christ." (John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem §24)
Domestic society being confirmed, therefore, by this bond of love, there should flourish in it that "order of love," as St. Augustine calls it. This order includes both the primacy of the husband with regard to the wife and children, the ready subjection of the wife and her willing obedience, which the Apostle commends in these words: "Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church." ... But the structure of the family and its fundamental law, established and confirmed by God, must always and everywhere be maintained intact. (Pius XI, Casti Connubii §26, 28)
How exactly is a "mutual subjection" compatible with the "primacy of the husband"? It can't be that the husband's love for his wife "as Christ also loved the church and delivered himself up for it" is the subjection on his part or even part of this subjection, since the Pope says that "between Christ and the Church the subjection is only on the part of the Church".
It's not. But, most smart husbands and wives realize that mutual subjection works best, today, in the long run. Spouses defer to one, or the other, depending on the issue at hand. Things like job changes or moves are also worked out, mutually.
It's fine to argue about this theologically. But, practically, John Paul II is much closer to the truth of the matter than Pius XI. We are not operating in the totally male-dominated society that Paul, and Augustine, and even Pius XI, lived in.
If a couple decides that a wife will be subject to her husband, fine. Just do what works.
The parts of the body serve each other:
1 Corinthians 12:12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single organ, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
How odd that Sungenis manages to overlook 1 Cor 7:4:
"For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does."
Some may quibble that this verse appears in the context of conjugal rights. I answer that conjugal acts lie at the heart of the marital mystery. The theology that informs them informs and is inseparable from Christian marriage and ecclesiology as a whole.
Marriage is iconic, which is why it doesn't exist in heaven. Husbandly primacy is a consequence of the Fall, not inherent in marriage at the beginning. With the Church (consisting of Christians who're a "new creation") reconciled to God in Christ (the New Adam), Christian marriage is an icon of the paschal good news that all things are to be made new in Christ. Apart from the logical point that marital "obligations" are the forseeable consequences of a free choice (every bride says in effect "fiat mihi"), the insistence on approaching Christian marriage as a juridical problem is -- frankly -- idiotic, reflecting notions of Judaic legalism or even Islamic bondage. The wife is perfected and made free in her husband, not subjected, just as the Church is perfected in Christ who sets her free because he's the Truth.
Christ is risen, bonavertura. This changes everything.