“So my question for you,” she asked as tears rolled down her cheeks, “What is your definition of a happy wife?”
This was a few months ago as I was speaking to a group of 200 or so married women. A beautiful silver haired woman on the second row spoke up during the Q & A portion of my talk.
She explained that she loved her husband greatly and loved being married.
“We’ll be together until the end. We committed long ago that we would keep that promise,” she said with conviction.” But she had one challenge.
While I was speaking, every time I’d mention the happily married couples I’d interviewed over the years, and especially the wives, the same question popped into her mind.
While holding the microphone that had been passed around the audience to ask me questions, she revealed the most vulnerable part of herself:
“I truly love my husband. But if someone were to ask me if I’m a ‘happy wife,’ I don’t know that I would be able answer that question.” As she continued, there was a buzz that began to build in the room.
Finally, when she closed her comment with, “So my question for you is what is your definition of a happy wife,” the entire room burst into applause.
I hadn’t realized until that very moment, the entire time I’d been talking about “happy wives,” there was a large group of women in the room wondering what that really meant.
I was so happy she asked the question because I could then give this answer:
The definition of a happy wife is the same as the definition of a happy marriage. It is whatever you define it to be. Go to your spouse and say, “What does a happiness in marriage mean to you?” And then you ask yourself, “What does happiness is marriage feel like to me?” And those are the only two responses that should matter in answering that question.
Becoming a happy wife doesn’t mean everything will be perfect each and every day. It simply means you make a conscious effort to elevate what is great and to diligently work on everything that subpar.
Being a happy wife doesn’t create a buffer against the insensitivities of your spouse. It just means you’ve chosen to focus on what he does right more than the errors of his ways.
A happy marriage doesn’t shield you from the onslaught of curve balls life may throw at you or cause you to walk around utterly oblivious to the challenges around us all. It simply means you’ve found at least one thing in this world you can count on -the unconditional love of your spouse- and you choose to celebrate that every remaining day of your life.
The definition of a happy wife is whatever you define it to be. So define it well and be thankful for it.
Until tomorrow…make it a great day!
THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book. I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way. It’s a marriage book like none other. Guaranteed.
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