Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

Uncovering the Secrets of Being a Happy Wife

Uncovering the Secrets of Being a Happy Wife

Popular blogger Fawn Weaver offers encouragement and advice to married women in a discussion based on her best-selling book, Happy Wives Club: One Woman's Worldwide Search for the Secrets of a Great Marriage.
Original Air Date: May 16, 2016


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Mrs. Fawn Weaver: I believe that marriage is the greatest gift besides salvation. Marriage is the greatest gift that God gave us.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: That’s a great perspective and it’s from Fawn Weaver, who joins us today on “Focus on the

Jim Daly: John, marriage is important to us here at Focus on the Family. In fact, strengthening marriage is one of our five pillars. It’s the thing we wake up every day wanting to do. And I think our listeners are really gonna enjoy the program today with Fawn Weaver. She has an inspirational story and she’s written a resource called Happy Wives Club and of course, every wife is leaning in right now thinking, “Happy, I’d like that. How do I get to happy?”

And you know, it’s not that simple thing; it’s how do you wake up every day with an attitude of joy and happiness? And if you’re livin’ in that spot where it’s dry and you’re not feeling the joy of the Lord, maybe you’re not happy, I think you’re gonna be blessed today.

John: And Fawn is a popular author and blogger and she’s got a community of over 1 million women in 110 countries, which are part of the Happy Wives Club. And Jim, we just met her earlier today, but she is enthusiastic and bubbly and exudes happy, doesn’t she?


Jim: I love it, yeah. Fawn, welcome to “Focus on the Family.”

Fawn: Thank you so.

Jim: Listen, your mom, we used to do women’s retreats called Renewing the Heart.

Fawn: Yes.

Jim: And we would have 20, 25,000 women in a major arena in a major city. And your mom used to present at that–

Fawn: She did.

Jim: –Bunny Wilson.

Fawn: She did.

Jim: And I just can’t imagine, ’cause we didn’t make that connection, how things go to the next generation, right?

Fawn: Yeah, it absolutely does and it’s funny, because she spoke so much about marriage, but my marriage is so different than it was with her and my dad. And so, she wrote Liberated Through Submission.

Jim:Liberated Through Submi[ssion], there’s a title that’ll sell—

John: That’ll grab—

Jim: –a ton.

John: –you. (Laughing)

Fawn: And it sold quite a few, because she was the first one to start talking about submission.

Jim: Really?

Fawn: She was and I mean, we’re going back 25 years. And so, it was so taboo at that time and boy, did she get reamed about it. But that was really how she read the Scriptures. And now I’m coming up in a different generation and submission looks very different (Laughing)–

Jim: Oh, yeah; we don’t like—

Fawn: –for me.

Jim: –that word anymore—

Fawn: It is—

Jim: –as a culture.

Fawn: –we do not like that word anymore and also I think that word was abused—

Jim: Correct.

Fawn: –for some time.

Jim: Yeah. Let’s start with something that we weren’t prepared really and you didn’t go into great detail in the book, but you had even with loving parents, you had a pretty tough—

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: –upbringing. It was a deeply Christian home—

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: –but a lot of religious rules. Talk about growing up in that environment and what happened to you as a young girl.

Fawn: Well, I think that there are certain kids that can grow up in authoritarian households where it’s, “I told you to do it, so that you do it.” And they don’t ask any questions back. They don’t say anything. They just kinda go with it. God is real. Jesus Christ is real. He dies on the cross for your sins and you should live this way because of that.

Jim: And they do it.

Fawn: And they do it.

Jim: Parents love that, by the way.

Fawn: Parents love that.

Jim: Unfortunately, not all children are born that way.

Fawn: And I am the child that was not born that way. (Laughter) And so, I needed you to explain to me and just having faith didn’t work for me. I needed you to have data. (Laughing)

Jim: Really.

Fawn: And that was really hard, so I was that kid who, I had no desire to read any of the books that were given to me in school. I sat and would read the Encyclopedia Britannica. That was what I enjoyed. And so, you’ve got these parents that are telling me, “You need to do this because of this one book.” And I’m trying to point them to the encyclopedia and say, “Okay, so match it up for me.” They didn’t like that very much. (Laughing)

Jim: Well, and it led to that confrontation, but you actually ran away at 15.

Fawn: I did; I did. I ran away at 15 and it’s funny, because my mom talks about it. Actually, I think it’s maybe at the end of one of her books, where she says, “Watching me walk down the driveway,” so I’m this independent girl at 15, walking with a lunch pail on to my life. And it’s just kind of even now, just thinking about that scene, I was actually walking with (Chuckling) my lunch pail to go out into the world on my own.

Jim: And the irony is, you know, growing up in Southern California, you left Pasadena to move to Watts.

Fawn: To Watts–

Jim: I mean, I was like, what?

Fawn: –the projects, the kids in the projects don’t have rules and I was trying to get away from rules. And so, I would go to school with these kids and they would talk about their lives. I was like, “Oh, wow! That sounds exciting.”

Jim: Who did—

Fawn: So—

Jim: –you live with?

Fawn: –[with] some kids from school.

Jim: That was it.

Fawn: That was it.

Jim: Man, so no guidance at 15–

Fawn: No.

Jim: –in that way, no close parental guidance.

Fawn: No, none at all.

Jim: So, that’s a story in and of itself, but bring us forward. At that point, you didn’t graduate from high school.

Fawn: I didn’t.

Jim: But you’ve got this natural leadership ability.

Fawn: Yes.

Jim: How do you attribute that? Where do you get that resilience, that gumption to think you know things that other people don’t know? And you didn’t even graduate from high school.

Fawn: I didn’t. I think that God makes us a specific way and it doesn’t really matter your education coming up. Some people go one particular way. I went to the school of hard knocks and I went by reading. If you sit me next to a Ph.D., I’m probably reading more books than he or she every day.

Jim: And you started your first business at 18.

Fawn: I did and I had 10 employees before I was 19 and now I have 100. And so, everyone is just wired a certain way and I—

Jim: Huh.

Fawn: –think that we have to give God credit for being able to work through anyone and through any circumstance and …

Jim: Let me ask you this before we get into the Happy Wives Club.

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: We’re gonna get there eventually. (Laughing)

Fawn: Eventually.

Jim: But how did you hang onto your faith coming out of a home that, you know, regarded rules very highly, that expected you to behave a certain way? And you loved your mom and dad and your relationship is good with them, so we’re not going in that direction.

Fawn: Yes.

Jim: But how did you hang onto your faith? So many young people, not usually at 15, maybe 18, 19, are walking away. We, as Christian parents, are devastated. What did we do wrong? How did you begin to come back to faith in that journey and how did you reconnect with your mom and dad in a deep way?

Fawn: Well, I think that the idea that I was reconnecting or coming back to a faith, I never really had it. I never believed my parents and what they were saying, because they couldn’t explain it to me.

Jim: Hm.

Fawn: They just wanted me to believe what it was that they believed and I wasn’t convinced. So, I didn’t actually find God for myself until I had moved out. I lived in Watts in the projects for a while. That got old with the cockroaches pretty quickly and so, then I moved into shelters. And I lived in one homeless shelter, Children of the Night in Van Nuys and it’s specifically for those who have pimps and have, you know, which I didn’t, but it’s specifically for the young prostitutes and those that have been trafficked and those who have been on drugs. And so, being in that environment, I somehow became a counselor to these kids, even though I was in the same boat.

Jim: Huh.

Fawn: And so, there’s kind of an inkling of, oh, I’m a little different, but not really putting the pieces together. And you can only stay there until you’re 18, so as soon as I turned 18, I had to move to another shelter, so I moved to Covenant House.

And again, this is in Los Angeles. So, I go through all of these things before I even turned 19 and then coming out of this, I started my own business. I had the employees. It didn’t work. Who at 18 knows what they’re doing in business, right?

Jim: Yeah (Laughing).

Fawn: But I started out really quickly. I had a bit of an idea, but then after it didn’t work, it was kind of, okay, so what am I here for? And skip forward a couple years, I tried to commit suicide twice. So, this is not a pretty upbringing at all.

Jim: Well, hang on.

Fawn: Yes.

Jim: I’ve got to get in here–

Fawn: Go for it.

Jim: –’cause what was that desperation? Why at a young age were—

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: –looking to end your life?

Fawn: You know, it’s interesting, because to this day and I’ve thought about it a little bit, not a whole lot, because I just don’t believe that the past really has answers for you. But I have thought about it a little bit and I really can’t tell you other than I think that there is a certain period of time that most kids go through this process of not knowing who they are, why they’re here, that—

Jim: Hm.

Fawn: –feeling like failures, like it’s not going to get any better. And in that moment, most kids will power through it and get to the other side. And some kids just want to end it and I was in that boat of the kids that wanted to end it.

Jim: What do you think was at the core of that? Was it loneliness? Was it you felt failure?

Fawn: I think lack of hope.

Jim: Lack of hope.

Fawn: I think lack of hope, because if you had year after year after year of turmoil, then you don’t necessarily see that the other side of it is any better.

Jim: Oh.

Fawn: And so, that was an interesting time, so this I do remember is the tubes down my nose and them pumping in charcoal to pull out everything that I had taken in order to try to end my life. But when you get to the other side of it and you go, “All right, God, so I tried to take myself out twice and You’re not allowing it, so how about I figure out why I’m here?

Jim: And you are logical. You are a logical (Laughter) creature. Man, that’s amazing. How old were you at the moment when you’re sayin’, “Okay.”

Fawn: The second time I was 20. That was the second time around and after that I spent six months and it’s interesting and it always loops back to my family. So, my mother wrote a book called Knight in Shining Armor and at the beginning of that book, she has women to take a six-month commitment not to date anyone, not to be involved in any relationship and to put an “Under Construction” sign on themselves and to just figure out who they were. I have no idea why I read it, ’cause I never read my mother’s books. (Laughter)

Jim: Yeah. (Laughter)

Fawn: But I read at least that and I read it and for whatever reason, it really resonated with me. And so, I said, “You know what, I am going to be under construction for six months.” And for six months, I did nothing but go to work and come back and read, six months straight. I didn’t watch TV. I didn’t listen to the radio. I didn’t listen to music. I cut out everything, but I would come home and I would read Nancy DeMoss’s books. I would read Phil McGraw’s books. I would read the Bible every single day, quite a bit of it.

And it was during this period of time where I would probably say in that six month, I probably read 60 books, if I—

Jim: So, your soul—

Fawn: –were to guess.

Jim: –was thirsty.

Fawn: My soul was thirsty, but didn’t know for what.

Jim: Yeah.

Fawn: So, I wasn’t just reading Christian books. I was reading every book that seemed like it could be helpful. I’d walk over to the bookstore and I’d look through the self-help section and see what I could find. And then I would go to the Christian section and so, I was pulling books from both sides and they were all helpful, but it did bring me back to God and saying, “All right, so I didn’t believe my parents, so how about You showing me who You are face to face.”

Jim: Man, that is a good challenge that I’m sure the Lord stepped up to.

Fawn: He did; he absolutely did.

Jim: And how did that moment occur? What happened where you said, “Okay, I yield; I believe in you.”

Fawn: Tubes in my nose (Laughing) and charcoal in my stomach gives you perspective and coming out on the other side of it. I don’t know that there was any moment where I read anything. I didn’t have a Paul [experience]. There was no light, you know, coming down a road. It was just, I was at the bottom, but there was still this hope that somehow rose inside of me–

Jim: That you hadn’t had.

Fawn: –that I hadn’t had before.

Jim: Ah.

Fawn: And so, I knew it was something greater than myself.

Jim: Man, that is good. I think we have set the tone for how this woman, Fawn Weaver, has written a book called Happy Wives Club, ’cause with that background, I don’t think a woman who is suffering in her marriage can say, “Well, I had it worse than Fawn Weaver.”

Fawn: No.

Jim: I mean, so you’re starting from the bottom.

Fawn: Yes.

Jim: Talk about how you met Keith, your husband—

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: –how you bring all of this, if I could say it respectfully, all this garbage—

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: –into your relationship with Keith and make it work to where you guys are having a fantastic run.

Fawn: Well, I will say this. I can’t say that I brought a lot of garbage in and I’ll tell you why. That—

Jim: Okay.

Fawn: –six-month period of time that I’m talking about, where I literally did nothing but call on God to clean me up.

Jim: So, He was workin’ His own charcoal—

Fawn: Completely–

Jim: –in your spirit.

Fawn: –completely worked charcoal in my spirit and so, for that six months and coming out of that six months, I still didn’t meet my husband for five more years. So, that carried with me and I was living that every day for five years before I ever met my husband.

Jim: So, that under construction was far bigger than just your emotions.

Fawn: Absolutely.

Jim: It was your spirit.

Fawn: It was everything.

Jim: Wow.

Fawn: It was everything, so by the time I got to my husband and you asked how we met. It as his mother. (Laughter) And at the time, I was a co-owner of a restaurant.

Jim: And how old are you at this point?

Fawn: Twenty-five–

Jim: (Laughing)

Fawn: –25, so I was the co-owner of one of the top restaurants in Los Angeles in the Beverly Hills area and that’s a whole other story as to how that happened. But that’s what my life was at that point. And I’m that person who, when I go into black hair salons, I don’t know if you know about this, but you’re there for hours and hours and hours and it’s nothing but gossip—

Jim: So, it’s all social.

Fawn: –non-stop gossip. Oh, it’s social—

Jim: Yeah.

Fawn: –and every celebrity, what they did, the—

Jim: Black barbers—

Fawn: –“Matching Game.”

Jim: –are like that–

Fawn: Oh—

Jim: –right?

Fawn: –it’s uh–

Jim: That was—

Fawn: –yes.

Jim: –the movie.

Fawn: “Barbershop”—

Jim: Right.

Fawn: –that’s exactly right.

Jim: Yeah.

Fawn: But it’s not me and so, I’d go in with my own books every time and I wouldn’t talk. So, the hairdresser would just do my hair and she would talk to all the people around her and the only thing that she ever talked about was her only son, who was just a little lower than the angels. (Laughter)

Jim: That’s a good mom. (Laughter)

Fawn: It was a good mom and she would just talk about him non-stop and every time I would go, I would just have my books. I would never have a conversation with her. She’d do my hair. I’d pay and I’d leave.

And one day I went and I didn’t have anything with me, so I had to have a conversation. And she’s washing my hair and she said, “You know, it’s so interesting to see someone your age running a business like you do,” ’cause I would sit there, calling in payroll and talking to staff and anything to keep from talking to the people that were in there.

Jim: Interesting.

Fawn: And so, she listened to me for months. And so, we’re in the bowl. She’s washing my hair and she said, “It’s so interesting to see you running this company at this age. I can’t even imagine what you’ll be like when you’re 40.” I said, “You know, the interesting thing is, is this is a pastime to me. I enjoy what I’m doing, but what I really want is to be a great wife and a great mom.”

Now mind you, I’m in the bowl getting my hair washed. She’s standing over me and all of a sudden, she stops and she looks at me and says, “You have to meet my son.” (Laughter)

Jim: Oh, that’s the guy a little under the angels.

Fawn: A little lower than the angels and I had no desire whatsoever. So, I had come out of construction. I hadn’t been dating. I was really getting to know myself, but I knew that I wanted to be a great wife. I wanted to be a great mom, but I wanted to do it on my terms. Let’s just say she did not leave me alone for a couple months until I agreed to give her my telephone number. (Laughter) And then she—

Jim: I like this mom.

Fawn: –wouldn’t leave her son alone. And I found out later than when I left that day, she called her son and said, “I just met your wife.”

Jim: That’s a big phone call from a mom.

Fawn: It’s a big phone call and one that no son wants to hear or receive. (Laughter)

Jim: Sure, mom. (Laughter)

Fawn: No son wants to get that call.

Jim: But it worked.

Fawn: It worked after a while.

Jim: That’s beautiful. So, how long before you got married? How long did this mom magic—

Fawn: Ah!

Jim: –take?

Fawn: We knew pretty early on, because in our very first conversation, he called me. I was actually at a Christian conference when he called and we were on break. And I hear this voice, this super deep voice on the other end and he says, “Is Fawn; is Fawn.” At the time, Wilson; “Is Fawn Wilson there?” And I said, “This must be the Second Coming.” And we just laughed so hard. (Laughter) And he said, “You’ve been speaking to my mother.” “Indeed, I have.”

And so, we laughed and we talked for about three hours and if he were here, he would tell you, in the course of that conversation, I informed him that I would not be sleeping with him.

Jim: You’re settin’ a boundary.

Fawn: I set the boundaries very early and when we got to the end of this three-hour call, that was perfect, by the way, everything you could ever want, we got to the end of the call and I told him, “If you wake up tomorrow morning and you have no desire to call me, go with that emotion.” And he’s like, “I don’t understand.” I said, “Well, years ago I prayed and I continue to pray to this day that if the person is not my husband, I don’t want to waste my time. I don’t have time. I’m building businesses. I don’t want to waste my time. So, if you are not the one, the Lord will close this door. So, if tomorrow morning you have no desire to call me, go with it.”

Jim: Wow.

Fawn: And it took him three days and he called me back and—

Jim: Were you expecting—

Fawn: –we’ve been together—

Jim: –a call day one?

Fawn: –ever since. I wasn’t.

Jim: Or you didn’t care.

Fawn: I didn’t care.

Jim: Wow, that is incredible.

Fawn: Uh-hm.

Jim: But to him, Keith, your husband—

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: –I’m sure that became the challenge.

Fawn: It became the challenge definitely and then he proposed. So that was in April. We had our first date in May. He proposed in September. We were married in December.

Jim: That’s awesome and he’s an exec with a—

Fawn: He is.

Jim: –movie company–

Fawn: He is.

Jim: –and is doing quite well, so that’s—

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: –that’s awesome.

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: Okay, Happy Wives Club. So, you travel the world—

Fawn: Yes.

Jim: –in your business capacity and you decided to start meeting with married couples to find out what’s the secret of their joy and their happiness. So, let’s get to it. What did you find and where did you go and who did you talk to? Give us some examples.

Fawn: Well, what I did is, is I traveled to 12 countries on six continents and what I was really looking for is that one secret. That’s what I set out to do, which is a little absurd. But I thought, gosh, from country to country, if there’s one thing that is a common denominator, that’s a big deal, right? Fawn Weaver has gone around the world and found the one thing that makes marriage successful.

And what I found actually were 12 things that every couple [did], no matter where I went. So, I started in Canada. I went from Canada to South Africa, from South Africa to Mauritius and then over into a few places in Europe, so Rome Croatia and a few other places.

Jim: Wow.

Fawn: And then I went to the Philippines and then to Australia and to New Zealand and then I did interviews in the U.S. And I would go on these interviews, in South America, as well, and the only thing I wanted to know is, is what makes your marriage work? And I’d sit there. I kept everything on the recorder. And when I got back home, I took out a yellow pad and I began transcribing what everyone said. And then I would highlight the words that were common.

Jim: So, you found a pattern.

Fawn: I found a pattern and every single relationship there were 12 things that they all stuck to.

Jim: Well, let’s hit a couple. I mean—

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: –and in fact, why don’t we do it this way. The things that you learned in Canada I think the couple you met was Bonnie and Jerry.

Fawn: Yes.

Jim: Talk about them and what they showed you from Canada.

Fawn: You know what I loved about them is, is he was in a job that he didn’t like. He was a postman if I remember correctly. And he just didn’t enjoy the job. And meanwhile, he’s doing this job so that she can go to school to be a CPA. And so, that was the first time I saw this concept of teamwork, creating the life that you want, but using your marriage as the foundation to do that.

Jim: Interesting, so you work as a unit–

Fawn: You work as a unit.

Jim: –together as one.

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: Okay, then you go off to South Africa, which I’ve been [there]. We have an office there in Durban.

Fawn: Oh, wow.

Jim: I love Cape Town. That’s where you went to.

Fawn: I did.

Jim: And you talked with a South African couple, Dot and Ken.

Fawn: Yes.

Jim: And they talked about laughing together.

Fawn: They did. Well, the thing about Dot and Ken that’s interesting is, it was her second marriage. Her first marriage she was married to an athlete, really attractive and other women thought so and he never rebuffed their approaches.

Jim: Okay.

Fawn: So, she had a major trust issue going into this second marriage. So, by the time I met them, they had been married for 26 years, but she began with a trust issue. And they were sharing what they do every single day and it’s helped to build their trust. And it’s [that] they have a daily ritual. So, every morning Ken would go downstairs, get a cup of coffee and she would open up the windows in their room, watch the city lights turn on. He’s come back up and they’d sit in the bed and have what they call their “board meeting.”

Jim: (Chuckling) Okay.

Fawn: They would talk about everything on their calendar, on their agenda, if they wouldn’t be home for dinner. And it’s just something that they had always done. What was interesting about that is, I realized, every couple I’ve talked to so far has a daily ritual. It was the first—

Jim: Of communication.

Fawn: –time I connected. A daily ritual that’s something that they do every day together.

Jim: Okay.

Fawn: So, something that was common among every single couple I interviewed across the board. They all had a daily ritual.

Jim: Boy, that’s fantastic. You also went off to the Philippines and you met with Ben and Gloria—

Fawn: Yes.

Jim: –in Manila, I think.

Fawn: Yes, I did.

Jim: What did you learn from them?

Fawn: They had been married for over 50 years and what was really beautiful about their marriage is, they had both had some pretty major health issues over the years. And watching them take care of each other, you’re kind of, for me, going through this process of, oh, wow! When I get to that age, do I want to be by myself? Do I want to look like this couple? Because when you get to that age, by the way, no one really wants to be bothered with you. (Laughter) Right? No one really wants to take care of you. It’s your spouse—

Jim: Hm.

Fawn: –that is there with you.

Jim: Wow.

Fawn: So, those who give up on their 10th year of marriage, their 20th year of marriage, whatever it is and they end up alone during those years; what a sad time. But even for those who are widowed, you still are holding onto something so special that the rest of your life it just kind of rolls along.

Jim: Ah, those are good. And we’ve covered several of them, but respect, trust, belief in God, laughter, create a daily routine, which you just mentioned. Friendship is essential. Talk about that friendship being essential, ’cause a lot of couples—

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: –even within the church, it’s become more duty bound.

Fawn: Yeah.

Jim: We’ve lost our friendship. How does a couple maintain their friendship?

Fawn: Well, one of the things we have to do is stop making marriage seem to duty bound. I mean (Laughter), I personally have the hardest time going to marriage conferences, because I sit there and go, the way you’re describing this, I’d never want to sign up for this, by the way.

Jim: What does that description look like when you say that?

Fawn: Oh, when they’re just talking about all of this, all of the non-stop challenges and the struggles and the difficulty. Have you seen that GEICO commercial with Tarzan and Jane and—

Jim: (Laughing)

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