Today’s interview is with Fawn Weaver, the founder of HappyWivesClub.com, which has twice been named the #1 marriage site by About.com, and has created an online community of over half a million women across 110 countries who want to share the sunny side of marriage. Weaver recently traveled across six continents and 18 cities in search of the secrets to a happy, healthy marriage. Her first book, Happy Wives Club: One Woman’s Worldwide Search for the Secrets of a Great Marriage, recently debuted on the New York Times bestseller list, and includes an inspiring collection of love stories and marriage secrets that span across cultures. Weaver also made Vyrso’s list of the top authors to watch in 2014.
1. Since you founded the Happy Wives Club several years ago, over half a million wives have joined—what about the club are you most proud of?
I’m proud of so many things. In 2010, I set out on a journey to find one million happy wives around the world, and at the time, that goal didn’t seem in the least bit realistic. And yet, here we are, with close to 700,000 women who’ve joined our online community and a chance at reaching that milestone later this year.
But more important than the numbers is how this amazing group of women, this movement, is changing the conversation about marriage worldwide. We’re balancing out all the negativity out there and encouraging one another to shut out the noise that is society and to work on creating a marriage—and family—that stays together.
2. What sparked the idea of traveling around the world and talking with wives from different cultures?
On the Happy Wives Club Facebook community page, the main place we all gather to share encouraging words, I post various questions for the women. For instance, my question the other day was, “What is one thing you’ve learned over the years that you wish you would have known in your first year of marriage?” Close to 800 women replied with answers that will undoubtedly help those currently in their first year of marriage.
I’ve posed questions like this to our community for years and I was always struck by how similar those who were happily married for 25 years or more sounded. Although they differed in backgrounds, cultures, socioeconomic status, race, and religion, when I posed this simple question, “What is the secret to your happy marriage?” I noticed they all sounded alike. It was as if they lived in the same country, were raised by the same family, and shared the same values. Yet, I knew this couldn’t be true because those answering this question were doing so from all over the world.
This led me to ask myself, Is it possible there is a universal secret to a happy marriage? And the only way I could answer that question was to travel around the world and interview couples happily married 25 years or more, on their turf, with no preconceived notions.
3. How much do relationship dynamics and marriage advice vary between cultures?
Very little. That was one of the things I personally found to be so fascinating. From an arranged Indian marriage to a traditional Israeli marriage to a very liberal culture in Australia, what made a marriage great was consistent from continent to continent and from culture to culture.
4. What was the most powerful experience you had during your travels?
My times in Rome and Croatia were very personal. God stripped me down to the very core of who I am and what was holding me back from the wife and mother I longed to be.
5. How did you choose which wives to visit and interview?
As a former hotel general manager and hotel director of sales and marketing of one of the largest hotel chains in the world, I’m fortunate to know people all over the world. In the hotel business, it’s not uncommon for a person to take a job on the other side of the world. For instance, when I took over as director of sales and marketing for a particular hotel, the person I was replacing, Atalie, was returning to her home of Perth, Australia.
So when I decided to begin this journey, I reached out to Atalie and asked, “What couple in your community has been happily married for at least 25 years, and who around them vouch for them being genuine and in love for all these years? Who are the couples you most look up to and whose relationships you’d like to emulate in your own marriage?” I asked her to point me to those couples, and then I hopped on an Australian-bound plane to interview them.
I did this in every country where I went. It was important to me that the couples I interviewed weren’t ones I’d met online, but rather those in which the people in their community would all say, “They are the couple you should meet.”
6. What was the most surprising thing that happened on your journey?
In Rome, I didn’t expect that the “happy wife” I’d be interviewing would be me—that such an intense internal dialogue about what was holding me back from being the wife I most longed to be would occur. That took me completely by surprise.
7. How has writing this book changed your perspective of love and marriage?
I now believe a happy marriage is possible for anyone and everyone. I truly believe it is a moment-by-moment choice and every interview further cemented that view.
8. What’s your number-one piece of advice for maintaining a happy, healthy marriage?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and that extends, especially, to your spouse. Every other piece of advice I’d give falls under this “golden rule.”
9. What’s next for you?
I hit the road in just a couple weeks for a 12-city Coffee Talk Tour where I will meet face to face with members of the Happy Wives Club for the very first time. And I will have an opportunity to meet with women who have already been impacted by this book.
* * *
Learn more about Weaver’s amazing trip around the world and discover the secrets to a happy, healthy marriage: download Happy Wives Club for only $10.99 on Vyrso!