Most men think of apology as giving his friend a head nod after having beaten his face in the night before. Guys don't handle verbal apology well. They prefer to give a brief, nonverbal acknowledgement, then go on acting like nothing ever happened. That works for them...when dealing with other men. With women though, men fear feeling like a failure in the eyes of their wife. So even if he wrongs you and knows he should say something, he will still struggle with it, and may not say anything at all. So while you should still expect that he apologize for saying something mean, you also have to keep in mind that he may not make that apology in the exact manner you would like him to. This is where communication comes in again. You can teach your husband how to apologize in the manner you understand, but this WILL take time. Years even. And he may never fully grasp that concept. But in the mean time it is your responsibility to learn to recognize what he views as an apology. Your husband may actually apologize all the time, you just dont notice it because you don't know what to look for.
For man to admit fault at all is a big deal for him, so every time his attempt to apologize goes unnoticed or rejected because it doesn't exactly follow your desired format will only guarantee that he will do it less and less, until he stops altogether. I hate to use this analogy but men, even some women, are like children. To a kid, bringing you a handful of weeds is a sweet gesture, something they view as gift giving, and an expression of the love they have for you. But if you swat the weeds from their hand, tell them they are dirty and ugly, eventually that child will begin to feel like their love is not accepted and will stop making the gesture. Now, I don't know many people who would do that to a child, so why do we do this to our husbands? Most men really are trying to please their wife and want to make them happy. But because of a major and fundamental break down in communication our men generally don't know what to do to accomplish that, and when their, although misguided and sometimes laughable, attempts go denied or unnoticed it frustrates them to the point that they give up. Men like to be the best at whatever they do, its a testosterone thing, and if they perceive that they are not good at it they will stop to avoid the humiliation of being labeled a failure. So, it is your job to learn, through observation and communication, what it is that he does to try to say he is sorry.
For example, my husband has only ever verbally apologized to me a handful of times. I can name each event. And they each were times that he seriously and genuinely screwed up. But when he makes those smaller mistakes, or commits an offense he will often ignore me for a little while, and then after a couple hours, or the next morning he will be super sweet and cuddly. He doesn't ignore me because he is angry at me, he ignores me because he is ashamed of the way he behaved and feels bad about it, so I have to let him feel like a jerk for a bit before he will try to make amends by cuddling with me, something he struggles with, he just isn't a terribly physical person.
This does not, however, negate a husband's responsibility to learn how to apologize to his wife in a way that she understands and recognizes as a full and genuine apology.
My point with all this is that ground rules are important but to determine what is reasonable you have to first actually get to know your spouse, what they are capable of, and what you can reasonably expect them to comply with. If you don't think they are capable of meeting your basic needs, then that is something you will have to address with yourself and with your spouse. If they refuse to comply with your rules, then you should also discuss with them why they don't agree with it, because it may not be that he doesn't agree with you, he may just not know exactly what you mean. It could be a simple misunderstanding.
As for issues such as infidelity, abuse, emotional and physical abandonment...those are things you should handle with a marriage therapist before deciding to divorce. In fact, marriage therapy should almost always be attempted before seriously considering divorce (obviously there are some situations, such as a history of extreme abuse, or repeated cheating that this advice does not apply to) because sometimes the situation is not as far gone as you might think. You may actually have it in you to forgive, and your spouse may actually have it in them to change. But that is a much more personal issue that I do not feel qualified to comment too deeply on. If anything else, marriage therapy would give you a chance to gain some peace of mind that your decision is well founded and was not made rashly. If the marriage is truly beyond saving then you have to feel comfortable and confident in your choice or you will probably end up going back to it or repeating the same mistakes with a future relationship. Sometimes personal counselling is necessary to come to that confidence and level of comfort in your choice.
What this site's primary purpose is is to debunk a lot of the myths and misconceptions about marriage and help open people's eyes to what the realities of marriage are. As I've said before, and I'll say it again...Nothing is perfect. Not you. Not your situation. And especially not your spouse. To expect perfection from an imperfect being will only drive you mad and leave you sad and lonely. So learn what is normal. Talk to other couples, talk to other wives and mothers, talk to a therapist if need be. I assure you that most couples are pretty normal, and are going through many of the same issues as the couples around them. Most relationships, especially in their first few years, are not beyond repair, so long as both people are at least somewhat willing to make some changes. I can tell you, John is not always excited about the changes I propose. But that usually is the fault of the way I present it to him. You have to break it up into small, short term, achievable goals. One of my favorite quotes from the movie 'Don't Tell Mom The Baby Sitter is Dead' is 'If you're feeling overwhelmed, just do one thing at a time.'. Don't freak yourself out by trying to be perfect. As far as I know the only person who ever was perfect was Jesus Christ, and while we should strive for perfection, even the bible states that we are only human and are prone to making mistakes. So learn to love the imperfections, and have fun!