TODAY   |  April 22, 2014

‘Happy Wife’ author advises: Listen to each other

Arlene Pellicane, author of  “31 Days To Becoming A Happy Wife,” visits the ladies along with her husband James. She says they’ve found success in their marriage by listening to each other as equals, and explains how their strong spiritual foundation helps them work through issues.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> more and more women are doing it all and having it all, or are they? a successful career, a couple of kids, great husband.

>> in the hustle and bustle of it all, it is easy for your marriage to take a back seat and you have to stop and ask yourself --

>> are you happy?

>> arlene pellicane is the author of "31 days to becoming a happy wife."

>> we asked her to bring along her apparently fantastic husband to weigh in. so nice to have the two of you.

>> 15 years of marriage, three children. and you're happy.

>> i am very happy. yes.

>> and are you happy, james?

>> i am happy.

>> early on in your book you talk about how you had to learn your happiness is not going to come from him.

>> right.

>> explain that a little bit.

>> many times we think, i married the right guy, he'll make me happy, he'll say the right things, he'll comfort me when i need it, he'll do everything perfectly and he doesn't do those things and you're so disappointed because you didn't marry a mind reader. so what are you going to choose? how much responsibility will you take for your own happiness?

>> i can only imagine it really was that way, you were that man, that knight in shining armor. did she explain to you something was changing?

>> we figured it out like every other couple. one thing we did right from the get go is we fought fair.

>> you did?

>> never raised your voice, you said, never wanted it to get out of hand.

>> you said that didn't work.

>> it didn't work. i didn't see it very productive. i decided to do it a little bit different.

>> you're pointing out some thins that i think are unique. what was the biggest takeaway your readers said, wow, i didn't think about that.

>> one, there is no ceiling on joy and happiness. i had people pick it up and say i'm happy, should i still look at this and then read it and realize, i didn't -- i've been underappreciating that about my marriage and there is more joy to take away there. and i think the thing to look at is, hey, this isn't as bad as we think it is. many times we're complaining and we look at the negative things instead of looking at what is right about this relationship.

>> and what you think is what you do and what you are. you talk a lot about control issues. and that's always a little bit of a -- a red herring because people -- women don't want to be door mats. don't want to be -- word submissive sets people off like crazy.

>> who drives?

>> he drives. do you see the red light . why are you accelerating to the red light ? he drives.

>> and what about in most things?

>> exactly. i would say primarily james, but the way i view it is the driving allegory really works, if you're on a freeway and yielding to the traffic and it is not because that car is better than this car, we want order. we don't want chaos. and so he's a very good listenering and i feel like i'm heard, i'm understood and can move forward on our decisions.

>> something you also share is a spiritual basis for your relationship. and so that gives you a place, always something bigger than you that you're accountable to. how important is that for the two of you and how important is it to most people, would you say?

>> being -- having a faith in god is huge for us because we can go back to say, hey, what -- not just how are you acting, but i'm feeling this and i'm accountable for my own actions, not just his. that gives a lot. god gives you hope and strength when you really need it.

>> there are basic things too that couples can do. a lot of us are on our mobile devices . you have basic stuff, like put those away.

>> put it down as quickly as you can. the first is the mobile device .

>> have more facetime together. i would be on the computer after the kids would go to bed and he would be like why are you or the computer, this is our time together, turn it off.

>> do you listen to each other when you say that?

>> we do. you're, like, you're right, that's good for the marriage, i need to turn this off.

>> and be more playful in intimate situations is one of them. can't do that unless you turn off your mobile device .

>> hello.

>> and what are a couple more?

>> stop comparing yourself to other couples, don't look at the other person, well, he did this and she seems happy. you don't know. don't compare yourself like that. and be creative. have a plan. do something purposeful as a wife. many people have goals in their career, with their kids, what about your marriage? what is new on your marriage resume in the last three years.

>> a great book. easy to read, great takeaway, you know, little prayers at the end of each chapter. it is a great read.

>> sweet. congratulations.

>> thanks. thank you for coming to see us.

>>> any day without a mug