Our men. Where would we be without them? Well, we wouldn’t be stepmoms without them. They delight us and put fire in our hearts and frustrate us to our core. But, they are our rocks. We love them. They may not exactly “get” us, or get what it’s like to be a stepmom. But then, most women don’t get what it’s like to be a stepmom. And even other stepmoms don’t get exactly what we go through because our journey is ours alone. But who is the one person we are doing this for? It’s not the kids…most of the time. It’s our man. And we need them and they need us to make it through the roller coaster of step family life. The step couple is the back bone of the stepfamily. Without that team being strong there would be another relationship in shambles. That is why I have been passionately inspired to run The Successful Stepcouple Retreat. To make the last one – last. I’ve talked to so many women about this step couple retreat and all of them say pretty much the same thing they want to come BUT: “I can’t get him to come… He won’t buy into this” So I sent some questions to one of my shy guys who IS coming and IS NOT being dragged by his wife. He’s coming because he wants to. For him, for his family but most importantly the woman who stands beside him in the trenches every day. I have promised Ryan that I will only post his first name for privacy.
Here are the questions I posed:
What are your motivating factors for coming to the retreat?
What are you hoping to learn or get out of this retreat?
Why do you feel it’s important to go?
What does it mean to you to have strong couple at the head of a stepfamily?
What’s the one thing you would say to a reluctant guy to encourage them about coming to a couple’s retreat?
So here are his responses as passed down to me from his wife:
“He and I have been discussing this a lot lately. He is getting more and more on board with this and he says “fuck yea ill go drink with a bunch of guys, maybe if we bitch about our exes all weekend some will realize how damn good they have it now.
Motivating factors: Jenny told me we were going and I was a bit put off at first. She assured me it wasn’t a counsellor telling me all the things I do wrong. Its about what we are doing right and how to keep going with what works for us. Also it would be nice to have a few beers with guys that are in the same sinking boat as me when it comes to the ex …and dealing with a sinking boat when it comes to dealing with the system too.
What are you hoping to learn: I honestly am not really sure what we will be doing or going over. I hope we can reconnect and remind ourselves why we are doing this blended life.
Why its important: Isn’t always working at your relationship important? I like to think we have a pretty solid relationship but if we stop working at it it becomes pretty stale. This is another reason I am going, not just because my wife told me so but because she has a point, if we stop going outside of our comfort zones for each other than we have stopped making sacrifices for each other and that is a big part of a successful couple. Sacrifices for the other partner. Honestly to any guy who thinks this is beneath them… suck it up. Look at your wife for 5 seconds. This girl walked into your life at your worst deals with all the bull from the other side, deals with the kids, she’s the trunk to the entire tree and you don’t want to give her ONE weekend. Its not going to be as bad as you think. Either this or you may get dragged to marriage counseling (haha joking).
Strong couple at the head of the family: Its pretty simple. My kids knew alot of tension. They did not deserve to have a home with parents that argue or are so past arguing they dont even talk. I grew up like that. No kid needs that. Jenny and I have our moments but we are glue. Our kids need to see that we are supportive of each other 100%. Its so important to live as a team, a complete unit. Unify your households and your life will be much much easier.
What to say to a reluctant guy: Honestly get over it, its one weekend. She may need this more than you think and your pride is in your way. Give her a weekend. Seriously. No one ever got judged for being a successful couple. If anything people would be envious of you. If anyone does give you grief for it tell them to back off. Be proud of your marriage and the fact that you are willing to go to lengths to keep it strong others wont.”
Ryan, you are a champion for your family and your wife and I thank you for being real and honest. Your wife is lucky to have you and I am grateful for your wise words, your insights and awareness and above all your willingness to be vulnerable and share.