Let's get some understanding and insight into the depths of what kavod means and requires.
1. "Who is honored? The one who honors the other (Pirkei Avos, chapter 4)." Why is this so?
When I am out for my own kavod, my self-interest comes across to the other person. Everyone wants to be honored; to be regarded, recognized, responded to, to matter, to be important, to have one's feelings satisfactorily addressed. This is human nature. When I am after my own kavod, my treatment of you automatically diminishes or negates your kavod. I am "heavy" and you are "light." This is communicated, even if subtly. I am indifferent to your needs and I am, instead, bombarding you with my quest for my needs. This puts you on guard, puts you off to me, puts "relational distance" between us. My needs are antithetical to yours. It's either/or. It's mutual exclusion.
When, in our relationship, I present my offer of kavod, my treatment of kavod, the message is that I am there for your good, honor, needs, security, well being. I am delivering the kavod that you need. I give weight to you. I'm there for you. You matter. I'm a gainful force for you. You sense that I can be trusted. You're not on guard, the barriers are down, you're not diminished, you're not threatened with anything, you don't have to be on any defensive. I'm not any kind of enemy. This warms you up to me, your advocate. Further, it is human nature to recognize as exalted a person's respect for another. When I am there for you with freely given respect, and you recognize me as a person who respects, kavod FROM you is evoked. You give back in kind. When I furnish unconditional kavod to you, you spontaneously have it for me. We both voluntarily provide kavod to each other. Everyone wins.
2. "Who is honored? The one who flees from honor." It is not enough to merely offer kavod in a manner of: "I'll give you some if you'll give me some." The second that you show an iota of pursuit of kavod for yourself, that undoes the sincerity and credibility of your seeming offer of kavod (which turns out to be false and self-serving). This is effective only when you have assimilated the idea of giving kavod to the point where you sincerely evade and flee from kavod, without false modesty. Such is the demonstration that your offer of kavod to the other is authentic and trustworthy.
The human nature response is to feel kavod for the one who offers it unconditionally and fully. Your obvious, exclusive and sincere concern is for me and my welfare, my dignity, my feelings. To the extent that this is genuine, this evokes warmth, admiration, security and respect towards you.
The Talmud (Eruvin 13b) says that the person who tries to make himself high, G-d lowers; tries to make himself big, G-d humbles; tries to push too much, G-d pushes back; the one who makes himself low, G-d raises high; makes himself humble, G-d exalts; is yielding, G-d brings to success. In a parallel fashion, the one who offers kavod, and refrains from taking it for himself, and who flees from it for himself, receives kavod.
3. "What the person wants, that is his honor." (Yerushalmi Pay'a, chapter one, halacha one; elaborated in Sefer Chasidim, section 152). Kavod is defined by the will of the other. Give him what he wants, and that is giving honor. The classic example is calling a person by any non-disparaging name that he wants (any disparaging name is prohibited by Jewish law - even if the person agrees to the disparagement - Talmud Bava Metzia 58b). When you do what a person wants, on condition that it is no violation of Torah law, that is giving kavod. In practical relating, this manifests the imperative to respond to the other person, based on the other's will and feelings. There is no room for projecting or imposing your taste or perceptions onto the other person. This is utmost contempt. Your definition of honor may actually hurt or offend the person. This will deteriorate the relationship.
4. "Let the honor of your companion be as dear to you as your own (Pirkei Avos, chapter two)." Just as you are sensitive about your kavod, your feelings, the regard people have of you, so is everybody else also. Treat the other person's kavod as if it is precious, with the same sensitivity, value and importance that you would wish your kavod to be treated with.
Kavod, we see, is attributing honor, weight, value, significance, respect and esteem to the other person; it is willful adaptation of your behavior to actively and consistently demonstrate these uncompromisingly and unconditionally in the most dignified, reverent, sincere, responsive and thorough fashion. In marriage, it is not enough to give kavod as much as you receive it. Only when both partners give more to the other is kavod given enough.