Always be pleasant and nurturing to your wife. Even if you are sad or upset, diligently strive to show a cheerful, happy and smiling face to your wife, or she may fear that you have come to hate her. Always strive for a pleasant disposition. If your wife is an orphan, or had been previously widowed, there is extra obligation to be consistently soft, compassionate and nice with her.
Don't prevent a wife from going to events with her friends from time to time. These social occasions matter to a woman.
If a husband goes away on a trip, he has to remain in contact with his wife while he is away, and repeatedly let her know that he misses her. He must appease his wife by phoning or sending letters while he is away and by bringing back presents from the places that he visited. The "pulse of communication" should feel as close to unbroken as is possible.
A marriage relationship has to be differentiated from a friend relationship, especially when it comes to the preservation or restoration of peace. View the other gender as a different nation. You have to adapt to get along with someone from "that other culture." You always have to be a top-level diplomat. If there is an argument, let the husband make special effort to apologize. If the wife is genuinely wrong, let her say, "I'm sorry." If you must stand for principle, let the principle be "peace." Put the quarrel behind you. If the principle is "life and death," don't call names, call an ambulance. If it's a religious matter, its resolution must be sweet and peaceful to qualify as truly religious. If anything about the argument should be big, you be big. If you must be first to get a word in, be the first to accept fault or blame and to apologize and to seek to soothe over the trouble. It is more important for the relationship to win than for an ego to win.
When a woman gets upset, hurt or angry, she may say things that she really doesn't mean, and won't feel later or the next day. A Jewish woman is soft and compassionate by nature. All Jews are rachmanim, baishanim vigomlay chasadim (merciful, bashful and kind; Talmud Yevamos 79). All the moreso the women. Nashim rachmonios hain (Jewish women are sensitive; Talmud Megilla 14b). Demonstrations to the otherwise are sourced in the environment, not authentic Jewish nature.
In the Torah, in ALL things (midos, kindnesses, peace, prayer, personal growth, holiness - everything), QUALITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN QUANTITY. High quantity with inadequate quality generally carries a significant price. Figure quality is innocent till proven guilty, and not the other way around!
The "kesuba (marriage contract)" obligates a husband to feed, clothe, honor and care for a wife from his possessions; and to allow the wife to dwell with him. Although we advocate marital love, peace and friendship, this is a binding legal document, the bottom-line essence of which is active, practical responsibility. Only through a foundation of practical and spiritual responsibility can a full relationship blossom.
The Chazone Ish said that the first test of whether a person is religious or not is whether the person keeps ALL halachos. Don't call yourself frum if you are very stringent in one area of Jewish practice and disobey Shulchan Oruch in another area. And Rabbi Chayim Veetal, the 16th century kabalist, writes that Hashem judges a person by how he treats his spouse. If you are kind and charitable to the world but you hurt or neglect your spouse, the punishment for the bad against your spouse overweighs the good reward for your mitzvos to strangers. Until you are kind, compassionate and generous to your spouse, you are not judged by G-d to be a good person.
The Steipler Gaon, a generation after World War Two, was asked why the amount of "tzaros" among the Jewish people was on the rise (a trend which has been continuously worsening till the present). For example, you hear more in recent times than ever before, of people dying young and leaving large families, children dying, more incidents of tragedy such as cancer and serious injuries, people not finding or staying with a spouse, etc. The Steipler answered that till World War Two, the gentile hordes were used by G-d to give us atonement or punishment for our sins. Now that there is widespread democracy or liberty in the world order, the punishments and messages are not coming from outside (e.g. persecutions, pogroms, genocide), so now G-d is sending them from within: disease, tragedies, troubles, etc.
The Talmud (Yevamos 63a) quotes Elijah the prophet as saying that a man's job is to grow wheat and bring it home and his wife's job is to cook it into edible food; his job is to grow fiber and to bring it home for his wife to sew it into wearable clothes. We see - on the strength of prophesy! - that a man and woman have different and complementary jobs. They are different. Their differences are designed by G-d and all have purpose. Their differences are not designed for conflict; their differences are designed to enable the man and woman to come together as two different halves who add up to a complete, functioning and peaceful whole. Different players in a ball game add up to a team so they can win the game. Different players in a marriage add up to a team so they can win the game of life.
When a Jew claims to practice Torah, this must be backed up by his/her behaving constantly like a "mentsh," as Chazal say [Vayikra Raba], "derech eretz [polite, civil, thoughtful behavior] comes before Torah." If people do not behave with derech eretz which came before Torah, what is it they TRULY behave with when they CLAIM to practice Torah? How much moreso must one behave like a mentsh with the person one is married to!