We live in a world where everyone is looking for the secret key – the key to peace, serenity, blessings, abundance, health and everything good. Can there be one master key to open any door? What would that key be and how do we get hold of it?

There was once a wealthy man who lived simply and frugally. In his old age, however, he confided in a young friend that he wanted to live his last few years in style and comfort. Since he was old-fashioned, and had no children, he asked his good friend to undertake the project of hiring home designers and skilled architects to build him a state-of-the-art mansion.

The building of the structure soon began. Foundations were laid, brick by brick, story by story, the work was progressing well. And then our young man began to look for ways to cut corners. Having lived in a simple home all his life, what would the old fellow know about fine craftsmanship and superior quality? Besides, wouldn't it be a waste of money to build himself a house for just a few years? And so, the job was completed with cheap workmanship and second-hand material disguised under layers of sparkle and glitter. Few could tell the difference.

At the housewarming party, the elderly man stood up to publicly thank his young friend for all the effort he'd invested in the building of this project. And then, surprisingly, he handed the young man the key to the house. "Oh, I'm an old man," he explained. "What use have I for this mansion? It was for you, my good friend, that I'd intended the house to be built."

In today's world, where the operating principal is WIIFM (What's in it for me?), it helps to remember that whatever we do, we do for ourselves.

Although we all need to both give and take, a person with a giving attitude places a higher priority on giving then on taking.

A giving attitude means caring sincerely about the needs and wants of your spouse. All of us have needs and when we don't receive them, resentment can eat away at us. That is why it's important to maintain a balance of giving and taking between husband and wife. Yet, by placing the spotlight on myself, on receiving as much as I can, on ascertaining that my expectations are fulfilled, my demands seen to, we lose sight of the quality of the home we are trying to build, and love departs.

The act of giving is a G‑dly attribute. G‑d's giving is pure for He lacks nothing and thus takes nothing in return. We, too, who were created in the image of G‑d, contain the sublime power of giving, enabling us to spread happiness and to give of ourselves. Every person needs to have something on which to lavish his love and affection. No one's joy is complete unless he can share it with others.

In marriage, we have many opportunities to be giving and to fill our homes with loving-kindness. Handing something to your spouse is an act of giving. Greeting him or her in a friendly manner is a kindness, forgiving your spouse for something is making giving triumph.

Though it may appear that love engenders a giving attitude (we see that one who loves another will enjoy showering him with gifts and favors), actually, giving is what brings about love. A person comes to love the one to whom he gives. As a matter of fact, the root word of ahava is related to hav, which means to give. And in the timeless words of the Talmud, "If you want to keep the love of your friends make it your concern to seek his welfare."

What a person gives to another is never lost. By giving of ourselves, we extend a part of ourselves. This is the secret that unites, the glue that bonds, the embers that kindle true love. And this love, in turn, will make us want to go on giving; not only will it fill us with the pleasure and happiness that comes from giving, it will maintain and intensify this love. When there is love and peace between husband and wife, the shechina, the divine presence, resides in their home. There is no vessel that holds blessings except peace.

Giving, then, is the master key that opens the doors to happiness and contentment. It is the key to peace, serenity, blessings, abundance, health and everything good.