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SANDY BANKS

A desperate wife? Hardly

Fawn Weaver wants to hear from the happy spouses out there.

March 13, 2010|Sandy Banks

It was those ungrateful Housewives of Atlanta who pushed Fawn Weaver over the edge. Not to mention those soulless Stepford Wives, and the Desperate Housewives on Wisteria Lane.

You see, after seven years of marriage, Weaver is still deliriously in love.

But all she sees "in the media," she said, are miserable wives with cheating husbands and failing marriages. "I thought, 'There must be other women out there like me,' " she said.

So she launched the website www.happywivesclub.com to ferret them out.

And she found them aplenty, ready to dispense tips for keeping the joy in marriage. Like this from J. White, married four years: " 'Honey, will you please pass the vegetables,' and 'Thank you so much for taking me out to dinner,' and 'You are so thoughtful to think of me' show respect and honor to your hubby," she said.

Weaver aims to sign up 1 million women in six months -- a viral "revenge of the regular wives" campaign that she hopes will send a message to Hollywood and provide an antidote to the steady diet of dysfunctional marital melodrama.

"Our whole purpose," she said, "is to do nothing but say positive things."

::

Happy Wives Club. The very name made me snicker. The caricature of the perpetually happy wife cuts two ways in our culture -- either shrewish or submissive.

Weaver, 33, is neither Dr. Laura nor June Cleaver.

She has an executive job at a hotel chain and a resume built on nerve and hustle. Her husband, Keith, is a movie-studio vice president. They were introduced by his mother, talked on the phone for weeks until they met and spent months in counseling together before they wed.

She and her husband have never had an argument in seven years, she said. The closest they came was a "disagreement" over whether his parents, who recently moved in with them, should be allowed to keep "junk food" in their healthful kitchen.

She took off alone for a four-hour walk "and by the time I got home, it didn't matter that much," she said.

She believes the key to a good marriage is "honoring and respecting your husband . . . remembering that a man's fragile ego needs stroking."

She's not surprised that most Happy Wives' advice is like this, from Aladrian Elmore: "In simple ways, remind him every day how and/or why you love him. He may never let you know it, but you'll gain big points in his heart."

Weaver advises wives to follow a few basic rules:

1) Don't complain to family and friends about your husband. "They'll have a 'pity party' for you, and that reinforces whatever you're complaining about."

2) Never go to bed angry. "Either work it out, agree to put it aside, or just let it go."

3) Don't insist on being right. "Living in harmony is more important than winning an argument."

4) Accept that marriage is for life. " 'Til death do you part."

"We don't have a Plan B," she said.

But the Agoura Hills couple also don't have money worries or health problems or evil in-laws. Or children.

It's a lot easier to make your bedroom a sanctuary when there's no whiny 2-year-old demanding to sleep with you.

And it's awful hard not to complain to your friends when you come home from a job you hate to a stack of bills and a man who greets you with "What's for dinner?" every night.

::

With two months to go, Weaver is a long way from her goal of 1 million Happy Wives. She's got about 700 so far; she'd need more than 5,500 new members each day to send a message that Hollywood would hear.

I'd say the odds are not good.

She makes marriage sound like a smooth, pleasant glide:

The weekly date nights, rose bouquets, spontaneous eruptions of "I'm so happy I married you," annual trips to exotic places like Fiji, New Zealand, the south of France.

It's been 16 years since my husband died, but I remember our 18-year marriage as more of a roller-coaster ride. We had plenty of fun, and plenty of fights.

I'm sure that more than once I forgot to thank him for passing the vegetables. And there were days -- even weeks -- that went by without me reminding him of why I loved him.

Probably because I couldn't remember; we were too busy arguing about child care or money or whose turn it was to mop or wash dishes.

I like Weaver's notion of marital bliss. "Choose to be happy" is a fine idea.

But here's what I'd like to add to her marriage bromides: Choose the right husband. And hoard a bit of that happiness to haul out when the hard times hit.

sandy.banks@latimes.com

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