Her power is not in a fashion blog, or an exercise movement, or even a gluten-free diet. It's in taking a stand along with over 722,000 followers to proclaim herself –
A happy wife.
"I was and am, a happily married woman who wanted to see portrayals of me in the media," explains Weaver. She started the Happy Wives Club, a simple online group, in 2010 to connect with other women like her. "I wanted to show a positive image and basically say, 'I'm a happy wife, and that's it.' It was just about getting people to recognize that there were happily married women in the world, and this seems to be a new concept in the media, which always surprises me."
Today, the movement has spiraled, spanning internationally to more than 100 countries and leading to the recent release of Weaver's book, Happy Wives Club, which is now a New York Times bestseller.
But what exactly is all the fuss about? Is it really that revolutionary to proclaim yourself a "happy wife"?
Weaver says yes.
"I feel like the concept of marriage has been getting beat up on consistently for the past 60 years," says Weaver. She recalls a comment from a reader that sums up how women feel about the movement. "She said, 'Thank you for this club, I feel like marriage is back in,'" Weaver explains. "That's what resonates with women."
Okay, so it sounds very lovely. A nice little (well, not so little) feel-good club for women who are happy in their marriages. But what exactly does such a club hope to accomplish?
"It's a movement, and it gives wives what they need," declares Weaver. "For happy wives, it says it's OK to be happy. If you put seven women around the table, six out of seven are going to say negative things about their spouse; there is almost always going to be one silent woman at the table and that is the happy wife. We are silent because we don't want to jinx it, and we don't want to act like we're better than anyone else. If we stay silent we leave all these women, those of us who have good men who love, honor, respect and cherish us [should speak up]; for non-happily married women that want to get there, it gives them some steps. It gives everyone hope."
Her comment about the dinner table struck a chord with me, I have to admit. It is so common for us as women to get together and gripe about our husbands. I know that for me, personally, things tend to get a little more colorful in my complaints than the actual reality. I can paint a picture of a spouse who doesn't know how to change a toilet paper roll, but that's definitely not the whole picture. So why am I so quick to complain and less willing to praise?
Weaver claims that a happy marriage all comes down to one thing: respect.
And it's that respect that will keep you from being one of the six women who are at the table complaining about your spouse. "We have the most amount of respect for each other," Weaver says of her husband. "There is no other person in the world that I respect more than my husband, and vice versa."
But the most shocking thing that I learned from Happy Wife Weaver?
That she and her husband, in 11 years of marriage, have never yelled at one another.
"Think about the last argument you had with your husband," Weaver comments. "You were angry, so you fought. But the aggressive emotion is never the first; our first emotion is either hurt, disappointment, or fear, so what we do is mask the original emotions."
She goes on to say that it's understanding the real reason behind the argument that makes the difference. Instead of giving in to the anger or masking how they really feel, she and her husband Keith "stick to the original emotion."
"If I'm hurt and if it makes me cry, I cry," says Weaver simply. "I stay in the place of vulnerability. Keith says it allows us to ease into a conversation rather than crashing into an argument. The reality is that it is our life; we don't get angry with one another; we hurt each other and disappoint each other, but we stay in that place rather than masking it and pretending and covering with aggression."
Very interesting. And also, somewhat embarrassing when I thought back to my most recent fight with my husband, which originated because I had gotten up in the middle of the night to pee approximately 10,000 times and was exhausted (I'm five months pregnant), so of course, I picked a fight with him because … well, I was tired.
Some other advice from the wise Weaver, who has traveled the world collecting 12 secrets for a happy marriage?
"The first thing is to not compare their marriage to other people's," she comments. "You're taking advice from someone whose relationship may be completely different. You have to figure out what's special about your relationship – you and your husband are unlike two any other people on earth, so figure out, 'How can we support each other and respect each other?'"
And while some may think that Weaver is living in some kind of happy marriage bubble and not in reality, she is not immune to the challenges of life and a relationship; along with busy work schedules and travel, Weaver and her husband have struggled with infertility and a failed adoption, among other obstacles. However, Weaver refuses to let her marriage suffer as a result. Instead of looking at those circumstances as "hard patches," she and Keith look at issues from a team approach.
"My marriage has been great from day one, and I make a decision, every day, that my marriage will be better than it was the day before," says Weaver. "The reason I love the Happy Wives Club is we're all about taking our marriages from good to great and from great to extraordinary."
You can learn more about Fawn and the Happy Wives Club movement on her website, Happy Wives Club.
Photo source: Fawn Weaver
-By Chaunie Brusie