LENGTH 27 Minutes
The Happy Wives Club has grown into a worldwide movement. Confessions of a Terrible Husband's first guest is it’s founder, Fawn Weaver. Fawn is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, leads more than 600,000 women in the Happy Wives’ Club. Fawn is married to her husband, Keith, since 2003. She’s a proud wife, and, of course, a happy wife.
In today's episode, you'll learn that sex isn't what makes a great marriage, but a great marriage can make for some great sex! You'll also learn the one thing you can do to possibly make your way off of the lumpy couch and back into the heart of the woman you love.
Her advice is out of this world!
Welcoming Fawn Weaver!
Nick begins the interview with a question concerning something most people might not know about Fawn.
“There’s only two things remaining [on my bucket list].” Weaver replies quickly, “One is to go to Antartica… the second thing is to go through Yoga teacher training.”
Saying she loves yoga and running, she reports that her husband “surprised me with a pre-birthday gift, and he said, ‘I noticed that you’re in town for the next month, so I think you should clear your schedule for two of those weeks.”
Her husband, Keith, had reserved two weeks of Yoga Teacher training.
Out of Frustration Comes The Happy Wives Club (3:50)
Nick was introduced to the Happy Wives Club book by a common friend, Genevieve West. When Fawn was releasing her book, West tweeted to Nick, asking if he would be interested in reviewing the book, when it came out, on his blog, “Confessions of a Terrible Husband.”
“It was a little bit surprising,” says Nick, “because I hadn’t heard of the Happy Wives Club… the first thing that hit me was not the book tour, not connecting you with someone, it was the Happy – they have a club for that!”
He says that since he posted the review he has regularly followed Fawn’s website, HappyWivesClub.com “What’s so fascinating to me, is that something so… powerful had its roots [in] boiled over frustration about what you call the onslaught of negativity surrounding marriage.”
Fawn recalls the story of she and her husband on a “Frozen Yogurt Date,” when she sees in the window of a book store, “one of the many, many books that are down on marriage… and I remember looking at that, and, for whatever reason thinking about the fact that Desperate Housewives was number one rated at the time, and the Real Housewives were just starting to pop up in every town near you.”
At that moment, walking through a parking lot, Weaver expressed her frustration to her husband. “I was so frustrated at how I, as a wife, am being portrayed like a caricature. I said, ‘we don’t do that. I don't know anyone that lives like that on TV.”
Fawn then determined to start a club for wives like me, and as she was declaring her intentions to her husband, she says, “And I'm going to name it… and I just kind of paused for some brilliant thing to come to mind. And, the first thing that popped in my mind was ‘The Happy Wives Club.’”
Her husband doubled over with laughter, saying it was the corniest name he had heard, and asked her what time she would use to launch the club.
Fawn says she went on SquareSpace, put up a mission statement, offer an opportunity to join the club, and appeal to those women “tired of hearing all the negativity, and seeing all the negativity, and just want to find other women, or know other happily married women out there exist, join the club.”
Four weeks later, the Happy Wives Club had expanded from 5 women within 20 miles of her, to 22 countries.
Growth of The Happy Wives Club (8:10)
Fawn says the club grew at a time when social marketing wasn’t what it is today. “When you have women that are literally emailing each other, I was able to track down where the women from Europe came from… the woman in Canada who had emailed in Europe, because they were doing it by email.”
“That is how the club started,” she says, “I was absolutely tired of wives turned into caricatures and just wanted there to be us out there, the other side, me, your wife, all of the girlfriends that I have, we don’t act like buffoons, and our husbands are not cheating jerks.”
From a Club to the Happy Wives Club Book (9:00)
Fawn, who at the time was a hotel manager, found that she was always one degree of separation from people in other countries. Reaching out to them, she asked for references to “that couple who you have watched with your own eyes for at least 25 years, and you will say they’re genuine, happily married, love and adore each other, and if you ask anyone in the community who’s marriage you want to emulate, they would point to this couple.”
From there, Fawn was able to fly out to interview those couples.
She says that a lot of the interviews didn’t make the book because the publisher told her she was going to have to cut the book she was working on by about 25,000 words.
The Secret to a Happy Marriage (11:00)
Nick asked if she withheld any secrets to a happy marriage when she stopped writing. “The thing is,” Fawn replies, “is that every marriage, which you know, had these 12 universal secrets.” She says she expected to find just one secret, but was surprised to find that there were 12.
“The most surprising,” she says, “when you think about it, I’m talking to people in South Africa, Winnipeg, Canada,the Philippines, London, Rome, Australia, New Zealand. When you think about how different those cultures are… what made a happy marriage was the same, and that surprised me.”
Happy Marriages Arent Defined by Sex (12:30)
Fawn says the was also surprised by the fact that sex did not come up. Saying she had to figure out why sex wasn’t discussed. “What I realized is, when you do all of those things that are in the book that lead to a happy marriage, you cannot not have a great sex life. Because you have this connection with your best friend.. it changes what goes on in the bedroom when you take care of what goes on outside of it.”
She says sex is not the cause of a great marriage, it is the effect of a great marriage. “I’m sure you know as well, a lot of people with great sex and a really bad relationship,” she explains.
The Effect of Ritual on a Happy Marriage (13:30)
When Nick asks “what advice affected you marriage the most?” Fawn says she and Keith discovered the importance of a ritual.
“The very first thing I did, that I was not doing before” is what the couple in her first interview calls their “Morning Board Meeting.”
During that time, the “husband would go downstairs, get two cups of coffee, wife goes and opens all the windows in their apartment, and they get back into bed, sit up against the headboard, and watch the city lights [of Cape Town, South Africa] go on while talking about everything that’s coming up on their day. Anything they didn’t get a chance to talk bout the day before, whatever’s on their mind, it’s a time of connection that they would do every day.”
“And so, this daily ritual that all of these couples had, they all had different ones. Some were in the morning, some were in the afternoon, some were in the evening, but they all had these daily rituals,” says Happy Wives Club founder Fawn Weaver.
Advice to a Busy Wife for a Happy Marriage (16:15)
Fawn recalls a recent speaking engagement at a conference where a woman asked how to have a special time with her husband. “I turned to the women in the room, and said, ‘who’s got a calculator on their phone?’ And, of course, everyone raised their hands, and I said, ‘I need you to calculate this. Calculate 60X24, what is the total?’ 1,440 minutes is what you have in a day. If you cannot subtract out 60 minutes for your marriage, something outside of your marriage has got to go.”
What About the Wife of a Terrible Husband?
Nick notes that Fawn writes and talks often about how supportive her husband, Keith is for her. “You obviously chose your spouse well. Talk to the person out there show i married to someone who might not be as openly supportive, or who might not feel is as supportive.”
“What you give out is what comes back to you,” she starts. “When it comes to matters of respect, do not look at respect as the way your neighbor looks at respect… saying to your spouse ‘what does respect look and feel like to you?’ and then do that.”
“And, what I have found is when you give, not expecting anything in return, is when it comes back to you.”
She also advises, “and then checking back in with them,” asking how your efforts are looking and feeling to them.
Personal Responsibility and Happy Marriages (21:00)
Nick points out the importance of personal responsibility in marriage, noting that Fawn concludes each of her blog posts with the words, “Make it a great day.”
Fawn admits “it’s a lot of work for me. Now, it comes more naturally, especially with my husband. But, everything is something that we have to learn. Everything that is great for the most part, I mean, certain activities some to us.”
“I think it’s Gretchen Reuben who says, ‘Happiness is bringing your own weather to the picnic.’ and that, I believe, that is you have, I have, the power to respond to any situation a specific way.”
What's One Thing We Can Do Today to Make for a Happier Marriage (22:30)
“I would go to your wife, and do exactly what we talked about earlier… say to her, ‘what does respect look and feel like to you’ and then begin to do that.”
She says that a lot of women don’t feel respect. “I have to tell you, I’ve sat across from enough happily married couple that have been married for 30, 40, 50 years, to know, if that respect doesn’t go both ways, and I mean mutual respect, it’s not going to be a happy marriage.”
She concludes with “that is where I would start… and then, check in with her.”
Fawn's Recommended Resource (24:19)
Fawn recommends Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages.
She admits to not having read the book, but, she says, “I’ve only read all the online things and done the assessment, but it was enough… we had been married for nine years… and I was completely wrong about his love language. What I thought was my own love language, was actually his. And what I thought was his was actually mine.”
HOW TO REACH FAWN