Married people call each other things. You know - like "Darling", or "Sweetie", or... or... [insert endearment of choice here]. There is a certain divide across The Pond, as it were - Brits tend to favour "Darling" and the Americans tend to favour "Honey", for instance.
I have baggage for both those words - the former has become hopelessly adulterated with meaninglessness, with people sashaying into rooms wearing cool clothes and oodles of make-up, greeting other people similarly attired, at soirees for the well-heeled or the well-connected or for the thespian set during awards season, walking into a crowded room with your hands outstretched and your smile painted on for the paparazzi, gushing, "DAHLING! It's been simply AGES! We really should do lunch sometime next week..." (knowing full well that said lunch date will evaporate into ether as soon as the two protagonists turn away from one another and find another "victim" in their sights...) As for the latter...
My husband has always used "love" as a term of endearment when he inserts it into a sentence where he doesn't want to use my name or else is calling me from another room. "Love?... Could you come in here a sec?" or "Thanks, love", or "If you want to watch anything else you pick, love." Simple stuff like that. And it really is an expression of love because he means that word quite literally... and I know it.
If I get addressed as "HONEY!" it's usually because he's letting me know that he's frustrated or annoyed. If I throw a fit when I find a mouse in the house, it's "HONEY! It's just a mouse!" If I start getting obsessive about something to the point that I talk about nothing else for days, it's a metaphorical roll of the eyes and "Honey...!" If I ask him what he considers to be an annoying question (either because it questions something obvious or because I've asked the same question four times already) it's another metaphorical eye-roll followed by a sigh and a "Honey..."
If I am addressed as "Honey" I recognise it as a signal. I've crossed him in some way.
I don't know that I have a reciprocal code. I might use "sweetie" sometimes, if I'm frustrated by something that he's doing - but with me it's more a tone of voice than it is a particular word as such.
He thinks this observation is somewhat hilarious. He has almost but not quite sat up and repudiated my findings with vigor. But just this afternoon I was up in his office with something or other and I said my piece and he sighed and said, "HONEY...1" - and I caught his eye, and he stopped, and registered the occasion and the tone of voice and the word used, and cracked up.
He still thinks I'm (somewhat) making this up. But he just handed himself verbal evidence of the very best sort - unsolicited and purely instinctive. The word + the emotional undertone = Q.E.D. I think I've been vindicated.
Lest you think that I am going to go back upstairs after posting this and am likely to be greeted with "HONEY!" - let me just say that after he finished laughing at what he said and how he said it he himself said, still grinning, "You should SO blog about this."
So I am. [grin]