Last week, I described how my strong sense of self is partly responsible for me surviving my stepfamily journey, sanity intact.
The other crucial part of this is my husband’s support.
I don’t think men know just how much influence and power they hold.
After all, they’re the whole reason we’re here, right? We fell in love and decided to spend the rest of our lives with these men.
Stepmoms, if your husband fades into the background, allowing the kids to walk all over you or disrespect you because they’re blind to the behavior, or if they sit quietly by as the ex reams you a new one for no obvious reason– you’re left thinking, what the hell am I doing here??
And remarried moms, if your husband turns a deaf ear when you need support, or turns his back when you need a shoulder to rest on, you’re left with separation, instead of closeness.
Stepmoms often complain that their husbands become defensive when they try to address an issue about the kids. This is extremely dangerous.
The issue never gets resolved, because through his defensiveness he distracts you, and suddenly you’re on the defensive trying to explain your stance.
After all, the goal of being defensive is to throw you off track and avoid having to deal with the actual issue. And unless you’re a pro at redirecting him, you’ll never be able to voice your concerns and come up with a solution.
And with no solution, you will begin to feel hopeless.
Whether you’re a remarried mom or a stepmom, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to communicate with your husband.
Do it the right way, and he’ll give you the world. Do it the wrong way, and you’re in a for a looooong, painful marriage – or a very short one.
I’m lucky. I’m married to one of the few men who DOESN’T get defensive. He allowes me to voice my concerns and has always been very receptive to my observations and suggestions.
My husband always has my back. If I need something, he provides, whether it’s an opt-out clause regarding the kids (thanks Joel Schwartzberg*), or a boundary set around the ex.
He comes through, time and time again. For his family. For me. For us.
Without his support, I would have thought, Why am I wasting my time? Why am I dealing with all his baggage?
Without his support, I would have felt completely alone, helpless. Left to wonder why I was putting myself through this.
It was up to me to speak up and let him know what I needed. And he chose to listen, which I’m sure wasn’t easy, as he was also dealing with his own set of difficulties.
But because we saw ourselves as partners, sharing a life full of love, our relationship was able to thrive, even during those darkest days.
We were able to laugh, even if it was only briefly, regardless of what going on around us.
We were able to put up a force field and not let the ugliness in.
We created a sacred space. Just for us.
If at the end of the day, you and your husband can look at each other and know that you are partners, that when you remove all the drama and crap that comes along, that you two are solid — then the rest is just background noise.
If you have a strong marriage, you can handle anything that’s thrown at you.
How does your husband support you? Does he ask what you need? Does he ask where you’re struggling?
Men love to provide for us, but they need to know WHAT to provide.
Let him know you want to have a conversation. Then be honest. Tell him how you’re faring. If you need more help from him, let him know.
If you’re thankful that you have such a wonderful husband, let him know that too.
For those of you whose marriage needs reviving, you don’t need an expensive get-a-way.
Try connecting in little ways; a glance, a touch, a love note.
It’s these little gestures that keep us close.
Think of your marriage as a garden. Water it with appreciation and simple, loving gestures, and it will grow.
© 2011 Jenna Korf All Rights Reserved
(Photo credit: kongsky)
Article of Interest:
There’s a wonderful article by Joel Schwartzberg entitled “What Remarried Dads Owe Their Stepmom Wives.” In it, Joel describes, perfectly, 6 values that husbands should share with their stepmom wives. It’s one of my favorites!
- How I survived this stepfamily “stuff” – Part 1
- One woman’s frog is another woman’s prince
- Six secrets to communicating with men
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