John and Elizabeth Proctor have a pretty rocky relationship these days. Seven months prior to the beginning of the play, Elizabeth Proctor began to suspect that her husband, John, was having a sexual affair with their employee, the minister's seventeen-year-old niece, Abigail Williams. Elizabeth confronted John, he confessed, and she fired Abigail from their employ at that time.
Since then, John has felt like a "fraud" as a result of his adultery, Elizabeth has felt hurt and suspicious of him, and Abigail has developed an intense dislike for Elizabeth. John says, a few times in Act Two, that he "mean[s] to please" his wife. He evidently wants to make her happy and is taking steps to try to repair the damage he has done to their relationship. However, when he mentions that he spoke, alone, with Abigail, all of Elizabeth's suspicions seem to return, and the emotional gulf between them seems to widen even further.
It is clear that they still love one another very much—we see this in Act Four when they are allowed a few minutes to speak alone—but John's unwillingness to be honest with his community about his infidelity ends up costing him his own life.