How can a husband keep his wife happy if he cannot afford to buy her expensive things?
And the answer is diamonds don’t make anybody happy. It’s diamond words that matter! If a man makes it a career to be an actor and to always encourage his wife, that’s how he’ll make his wife happy. When she makes supper, he has to encourage her. Whatever she does, he has to praise her. קמו בניה ויאשרוה בעלה ויהללה. That’s what it says in Mishlei when it describes the Woman of Valor. Her husband and her children arise and praise her enthusiastically.
Encouragement – that’s what everybody wants. There’s nobody in the world who doesn’t have a craving for encouragement. And why should a housewife be different?
And so, the Jewish woman who lives successfully in her house – or even not successfully, but she tries – she can be made happy even without any gifts at all.
Of course, if her husband remembers from time to time buy her small inexpensive gifts, it’s proper to do that, but he could always make the house a place of happiness no matter what.
Poor people can be just as happy as rich people. That’s a truism that you don’t need to hear from me. If a husband and wife live with wisdom and kindliness, if they live with a certain affection and self respect, then they can live a happy life that cannot be bought by any money.
TAPE # 536 (January 1985)