Excerpt from Chapter Eight. Looking Back: One Stepcouple’s Story
What kept them together during those difficult years? Sharon says she and her husband have something she believes will always keep them together. “First of all, we were a really strong couple, and we used our relationship pretty well. Neither one of us tried to sabotage the other. Of course, occasionally one or the other of us would think, ‘This is a bad deal for me and my kids.’ But we were such a strong couple that we tried hard to understand and support each other. Even during the bad times.”
Bill adds, “I always knew we were devoted to each other. There were one or two times when I thought, ‘Why did I do this to myself?’ On the worst days, I had an overview that the kids would eventually grow up.”
They agree that date nights and placing a priority on their stepcouple in other ways helped their marriage endure.
Sharon relates a pivotal moment in her experience as a stepmother. “For a long time I prayed for something or someone to rescue me. It never happened. At some point, I began to deeply believe that my family was all of us, not just Bill and me. I realized that it would never be just the two of us, at least not until the children grew up and moved out.”
Sharon smiles as she continues, “That’s kind of a neat experience to know that no one’s going to rescue you. You have to step up to the plate. And when you do, you find out how much you’re capable of. That’s empowering.
I think that being in a stepcouple and stepfamily was a gift for me. It made me grow and stretch to do things I had no clue about or didn’t think I could do. Kids, especially stepkids, push you. You have two ways to go: be there for them or get out. You’ve got to do your job. If I had never married Bill and been part of a stepfamily, I don’t think I’d be as strong as I am now. Strength, confidence and competence—that’s what I gained.”
Bill adds, “When we look back, raising each other’s children was the most difficult thing.”
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