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Happy Wives Club aims to improve marriages

April 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Is living happily ever after only a fairy tale? One Southern California woman says no and is doing something about it. Here's a look at the Happy Wives Club.For better or for worse: On their big day, couples promise to love in good times and in bad. But as the years pass, that can be a tall order.

"Oh, it's definitely not a fairy tale. It's very hard," said Jackie Shams, who's been married for 20 years. "It's something you have to work at, it's a lot of compromise."

"It's not going to be 'happily ever after' just because you've gotten married," said Chelsea Connsero, who is divorced.

Self-described happy wife Fawn Weaver knows that staying happy takes work. But she's glad to do it. The 33-year-old working woman married her husband, Keith, seven years ago.

"I love being married. I love my husband. I adore my husband," said Fawn.

So when Fawn began to notice that some reality TV shows were reflecting marriage in a bad light, she decided to do something. She turned to her laptop, and, one week before Valentine's Day, created HappyWivesClub.com, a site built to debunk the message of misery she says Hollywood's hooked on.

"You have all these different shows, and that's what they focus on because that's what they think we want to hear about," said Fawn. "And so I said, 'Maybe we'll give them something else that people want to hear about.'"

Her husband, Keith, wasn't hooked on the idea at first.

"Corny. I thought it was corny, but I knew she'd do it," said Keith. "She's very action-oriented."

He says he now gets the appeal of what the site offers. Log on and you'll find messages posted from people around the world on how to better your relationship.

If it's rocky, there's a "Stages" link that helps navigate through the steps that's helped some couples reconnect. In "Quick Tips," members leave their advice on what makes a marriage work years after saying "I do."

Clinical psychologist Joseph Glaser counsels married couples in Burbank and says some of the tips left by Happy Wives' members can help.

One woman writes, "Always an 'I love you' and a good-bye kiss, give a touch or a hug. Stay connected physically and emotionally."

"I think those are great things. They work," said Glaser.

Another wife says, "Be generous with compliments. Build up your mate. Treat him with respect."

Glaser is quick to note that thoughtfulness has to be a two-way street.

"Each partner should be treated with equal respect, equal dignity and equal love and kindness," said Glaser.

When it comes to disagreements, some couples, like the Weavers, refuse to go to bed angry. It works for them, but Glaser says it's not an absolute must in keeping the peace.

"You may have to go to bed angry," said Glaser. "Sometimes it's good to get a break."

And when it comes to arguments, the Web site says don't let it get heated. The doctor agrees.

"One can argue calmly," said Glaser. "In fact I think the best arguments are made that way."

HappyWivesClub.com now has 1,400 members in its first eight weeks. Fawn is hoping for at least 1 million happy wives to join by August. She's not sure she'll hit that mark, but this happy wife is having fun trying.