Kephapaulos (and everyone),
First, I must understand my authority over my wife and children as God-given; I have no fewer strictures on MY authority than any Church leader does. If I abdicate my position through pertinaciously sinful/rebellious behavior, I lose the right to be able to define what constitutes Christian morals in my home.
Conversely, when my life is brought under subjection to the Scriptures and the Church, the issue of authority is clearly a non-controversial one, because there exists a hierarchy in the home that anyone professing to be a Christian can see, understand and embrace:
Christ, the Head of our (and every Christian) home,
the husband, who is head of the home after the example of Jesus Christ,
the same man as father (one must lead his wife in faithfulness to Scripture before one can presume to be able to instruct anyone else. St. Paul tells us that if a person cannot manage his own household (which by default included his wife BEFORE his children, as in Eden), then he cannot manage the things of the Kingdom of God (which, again by default, includes instructing others in God's ways; that charge OBVIOUSLY extends to our children).
This hierarchy ONLY THEN extends to the wife, who, if the couple has no children, is called by the Church to be an example to her larger family and to the larger community by working diligently in the home. The same would apply if she HAD children, but her role as teacher of the larger family/society is then secondary to her role as teacher/caregiver to her children.
Children, too, have responsibilities as members of a Christian family; they, of course, do not have CHARGE over anyone (except that older siblings should definitely be given age-appropriate care of their younger siblings), but they DO and should be expected to have the TASK of representing their parents' authority to others (i.e. 'my mother and father taught me not to use such language', or, 'my parents taught me not to watch such videos; this program shows and says things that displease God').
After all that reading, please take note of the very short phrase I highlighted; my (any husband's) authority over his wife IS DIRECTLY and INEXTRICABLY linked to the EXAMPLE of Christ Our Lord. ONLY when I am DAILY submitting myself to the will of God may I profess to even HAVE any role of rule in my home.
That said, remember that Jesus Christ told everyone what God had declared, and was completely submitted to the Will of His Father, yet was often mocked, insulted and threatened. A Christian husband will face times when the sinful attitudes of this world, and of our selfish flesh, will rise up in his wife and cause her to react wrongly to even his most Christlike endeavors. When that happens, we must take refuge in the knowledge that we are serving our wives the way Christ served the world in His Divine Humanity, by laying His prerogatives down and not responding maliciously even to the most hateful actions and words.
We must further go on, in the case of our WIVES, NOT the world in general, to LOVE our wives the way Christ LOVES the Church, which is to lay down our LIVES to the very end in order to secure and promote our wives' well-being and spiritual lives.
The short version: PRAY every day. GO TO CONFESSION as often as possible, even if it is to confess minor things that your confessor might just call 'scruples'. Transparency and honesty are going to serve you far better than pride and presumption. READ the Bible with your wife (and children, if there be any). ENCOURAGE spiritual disciplines; a Christian wife is going to be led into a good, faithful role as wife and mother MUCH more easily if she sees a 'track record' in your life of continued reliance upon and encouragement in the things of God.
Telesphorus said it VERY, VERY well... when one cannot FLEE the world, which, according to St. Paul, is not very often possible for the average citizen, one must steadfastly refuse to compromise and endeavor to live IN the world, but contrary TO its attitudes and choices, thus, in fact, creating a NEW SET of choices for the ever-observing world to witness, investigate and, Deo volente, embrace as their own.
I think, too often, Christians (and especially Prot heretics of the modern fundamentalist type) live as though:
1) they are different from the world, when often they are not
2) that Christian behavior is confined to their beliefs, their political votes and PERHAPS their style of dress, but that the larger world will not understand their ways, as if the public, exterior lives were some mystical, hidden thing.
We as husbands, must live so as to present NOT the ONLY choice our wife has, which would be tyranny, given the fact that we are not perfect, but so as to present the choice of Christian obedience as a RADIANT and BEAUTIFUL alternative and antidote to the wickedness of so-called 'feminism' and so-called 'modernity'. Christ Himself did not TEAR DOWN the religions or the temples of the world in His day; He announced the TRUE religion, He lived so as to embody its perfections in every way and He declared that nothing evil or wicked could COME to the Light, which is Christ and His Church, without being exposed for what it is.
I encourage you all, then, husbands, to pursue sanctity and simply allow your life of faith to shine and make the failings and shortcomings of the world's philosophies self-evident when they are compared to 'Christ in you, the hope of glory'.
St. Joseph, model of husbands, pray for us.
St. Anne, virtuous mother of Our Lady, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of all mothers, pray for us.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.