Monday 26 January 2015

Moan less, kiss more, suppress everything: the secrets of the happy wives' club

The key to marital bliss is writing 'husband gratitude lists' and giving up nagging, a new book claims.

Betty Draper (played by January Jones) of the TV show 'Mad Men'
'The Happy Wives Club' by Fawn Weaver
Keep smiling: Fawn Weaver, author of 'The Happy Wives Club', who says, ‘Happily ever after is a choice’

'Always makes my breakfast, cleans up after dinner, funny. . . um. . . a fine head of hair. . ." I paused, looking up from my piece of paper to stare at my husband and assess which other of his fine qualities I might add to bulk out my list.

According to American writer Fawn Weaver, this could make the difference between my own marriage being a fairytale. . . or the stuff of nightmares.

Weaver, 37 years old and happily married to businessman Keith for 15 years, is the author of Happy Wives Club, a new guide that debuted at number three on the New York Times bestseller list. She is now on a quest for global spousal satisfaction.

It was born out of Weaver's blog,, set up in 2010 and now boasting almost 700,000 members across 110 countries.

The daily Husband Gratitude List, whereby wives scribble down things they love about their other half, is an essential part of what Weaver believes all ladies should be doing in order to be Happy Wives.

"It serves as a constant reminder of what makes your hubby so wonderfully awesome," she explains. "Why, out of all the men in the world, you chose to marry him."

As you might glean from someone who uses phrases like 'wonderfully awesome', Weaver's Happy Wives Club (HWC) philosophy leans heavily on the need for women to be more positive and less critical when it comes to their spouses.

She's also a strong proponent of not nagging husbands, kissing every day for six seconds, smiling lots, and not moaning to your chums when your man messes up and breaks your best wine glasses by putting them in the dishwasher.

"Happily ever after is not a fairytale," intones Weaver. "It's a choice" – and one that seemingly means sitting on the urge to scream blue murder every time your husband forgets to leave the bins out.

For any modern, intelligent, independent-minded woman, the gut reaction is to baulk at Weaver's guidance and the inference that women need to stifle their feelings and put their husband's happiness first to ensure their own marital contentment.

It's a message that's eerily reminiscent of Laura Doyle's 2001 book, The Surrendered Wife, which urged women to give up control, or even Edward Podolsky's 1943 advice on 'How to be a Better Wife', which advocated not bothering your husband with "petty troubles and complaints" and remembering "your most important job is to build up and maintain his ego".

But without morphing into Mad Men's Betty Draper, or going to the same euphoric extremes as Weaver – whose car bears a licence plate reading: "I love my life as K Weaver's wife" – there might be something to be said for the message she's peddling.

It's well documented that in our everyday lives, 80pc of our habitual thoughts are negative, while thinking positively has been shown to improve mental health, decrease stress, reduce the risk of depression and even increase lifespan.

Acknowledging the good things that have happened in our day promotes good mental health – so why not do the same in our marriages?

Interestingly, research shows that this issue of recognition is one of the biggest things that men would like to change about their relationships.

For research into his new book The Woman's Guide to How Men Think, US psychologist Shawn Smith found that men's most common complaint was they felt women never forgot their mistakes.

"We think you expect us to be perfect when you remember our mistakes but forget our successes," wrote one respondent to Smith's online survey.

Irish Independent

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