Very few of us never have contact with the outside world or other people, and as a result, there is a relationship that is created whenever we interact with someone else. As time goes on, that relationship can remain stagnant, or as in the case of a love or dating relationship, that relationship can grow and flourish. But the real key to any meaningful relationship is effective communication between two people. That statement is every bit as true for interpersonal relationships as it is for business relationships, and also for the marital relationship between a husband and wife.
Effective communications cannot be stressed enough, especially in a marriage relationship. In today's world where both husband and wife are holding down at least full time if not part time jobs, things happen during the course of a normal day. But it is only at the end of the day when two people are relaxing that effective communications can take place. It doesn't matter how mundane, since even in mundane conversation you can learn a lot about another person, understanding what is important to them, what irritates them, and things they find enjoyable.
Suppose your partner is depressed about something, whether financial stress, job pressures, or anything else. How much time do you give to your partner to improve the mood? If your answer is "none or not much", you are running the risk of your relationship starting to deteriorate. The breakdown of a relationship does not happen overnight, but it is all these "missed opportunities" to show care, understanding, and support that all add up over time.
Respect is a key ingredient of any relationship. If you do not feel you can trust someone, your communications with them will be brief or nonexistent. There is no real relationship there. That type of relationship may be fine for the checkout clerk at the grocery store, but how many people have that kind of relationship with their spouse? The real answer to that question will probably scare you, but you have control over that and the fate of that relationship, even your marital relationship, rests squarely in your hands.
Trust is another key element of any relationship, which goes hand in hand with respect. You need to feel you can trust the person you are communicating with. If you don't have a level of trust with that person, even your spouse, then your communications will reflect that lack of trust. You won't elaborate on things you say, you won't go into details, and you will subconsciously leave out information that may leave you vulnerable to a future rebuttal or even attack from the other person.
Many times, especially in a marriage relationship, the three key elements of a relationship (communication, trust and respect) slowly start to erode over time. It is typically not a conscious thing, but it can happen if both spouses are not aware that they need to keep all levels of these elements at peak values consistently. So what happens as these components start to degrade? That relationship can develop into an abusive relationship. This is particularly difficult in a marriage relationship - when the checkout clerk at the grocery store abuses you, you can report them to their management or you can just decide to shop somewhere else. But in a marriage relationship, it is not nearly as clear-cut at that, nor nearly as simple. The marriage equivalent of "shopping somewhere else" is divorce, which although being a very drastic step, is sometimes the best solution for both parties when the respect, the trust, and the communications have degraded to the point where both parties are unwilling to put in enough time and effort that will be required to rebuild those elements.