Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody
"Happy," or sameach as we say in Hebrew, is none other than sameach b'chelko, happy with one's lot in life. This is the key to the exalted marital bliss that we're praying for, striving for, and dreaming of. In order to be happy with one's lot in life from a marital perspective, both the husband and the wife have to be careful not to think about any other man or woman other than their spouse - their beloved friend. No thought about anyone else should be allowed to penetrate their heart and brain. There's only one way for a man to be happy with his lot in life and to ward off thoughts of any other woman other than wife: that's by guarding his eyes.
When you're happy with your lot in life, there's no other woman in the world. For you, no other woman exists at all. The only woman in the world that you contemplate is your wife. That's why we say in Sheva Berachot, "just as You made Your creation happy in the Garden of Eden". Do you know what paradise on earth is, a "Garden of Eden"? Just as in the Garden of Eden, Adam had no other woman in the world - because there was no other woman in the world but Eve - so too, we should feel just like Adam. A man should think that his wife is the only woman in the world and love her accordingly. He should protect her and cherish her, for he should think that there is no other woman on earth that's suitable for him. Let's be honest - few people think like that. Why? A person can't think that his wife is the only woman in the world if he's constantly looking at and contemplating other women.
And what about the wife? A loving wife doesn't want anyone to look at her but her husband. In our custom here in Israel, the bride completely covers her face, and not with a see-through lace veil. She doesn't want any man in the world other than her husband to look at her. She too feels like Eve, and that her bridegroom is the only man on earth for her. She no sooner wants any other man to gaze at her than she would want a stranger to touch her or be alone in a room with her, what we call in Halacha, yichud. Such a thought is sickening to her. Her heart is like a bank vault - it's wide open with all it's riches for the one man who has the key - that's her husband - and hermetically sealed under lock and key for everyone else.
A person has to feel sorrow for the brides who flaunt themselves and want everyone to look at them. It's sad when a woman doesn't feel good enough about herself from within, and she's dependent on people's compliments or stares at her to feel good. The worst part, especially from a spiritual standpoint, is that such a bride is ruining her own marriage before it even begins. And I'm not even talking about the type of brides that get married in grossly immodest wedding gowns. There's no way that the Divine Presence can be with her under the chuppa.
Marital success depends first of all on personal holiness. Hashem says in the Torah, "I am holy; I want you to be holy too." As we learn in the Torah's description of how an army camp should be in order to win the war, Hashem's Divine Presence takes leave as soon as there is any impure or unsightly thing. Lewdness and the Divine Presence are mutually exclusive. Hashem won't shine the light of His Holy Presence anywhere where there's promiscuity or immodesty. And since there's no void in the spiritual world, as soon as the Divine Presence takes leave, the dark side fills the void - immediately! There can't be peace, lasting prosperity or true happiness in a place where Hashem refuses to dwell. That's why personal holiness is the single most important element in marital peace and happiness.
If you want Hashem to dwell in your home, you and your spouse must live in holiness. Do you know where all the arguments, bickering, petty fights, financial difficulties and day to day troubles come from? They all come from the sitra achra, the dark side of spirituality. If you read the description in the Gemara about the type of evil spiritual forces that seize hold in a place that lacks holiness, your hair would stand up. The yetzer hara, the evil inclination says, "Sure, don't listen to this prudish nonsense," because he and all his other dark-side helpers want to destroy your home and destroy your marriage. And yet, people continue to allow him to do just that! Our modest behavior and our modest clothes not only protect us, but they keep the unholy and impure elements out of our house. A breach in personal holiness is just as bad as a breach in the border between Gaza and Israel - any terrorist can walk right in! The dark-side elements that invade a home that lacks personal holiness are a lot more dangerous than the terrorists of Hamas and Hizbulla.
Riches, joy, good children and good health are only a few of the blessings in a home where the husband and wife guard their personal holiness.