can someone please clarify the halachic side of the topic of honoring one's wife.
i.e. what is halachically obligatory (beyond what one is obligated towards other people) and what is just good practice.
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Rambam Hilchos Ishus 15:19:
וכן ציוו חכמים שיהיה אדם מכבד את אשתו יותר מגופו, ואוהבה כגופו; ואם יש לו ממון, מרבה בטובתה כפי הממון
And similarly the Sages commanded that a person should honor his wife more than his own body, and love her like his own body. If he has money, he should increase her benefits according to his wealth.
Yevamos 62b says that a person should "אוהבה כגופו ומכבדה יותר מגופו" - love her like himself and honor her more than himself, or literally "more than his body." R' Yerucham Levovitz explained (I don't have a source on hand, I heard it several times in shmuessen for chassanim) that what this means is that when it comes to love, a person should be very familiar and intimate with his wife, and love her as if they are one person. When it comes to honor, however, he must still treat her like a separate person and not forgo her honor as he would his own. He must act respectfully to her as if they do not have such a familiar relationship.
Accordingly, it does not seem to require more respect than would otherwise be accorded, but means to not use the familiar nature of the relationship to compromise on the respect deserved.