“What?” I inquired, still groggy.
“We met 10,000 days ago today. Happy anniversary,” he replied.
My husband was a banker for 25 years, so that explains his obsession with numbers. And we both like to look back over the years and breathe a sigh of relief.
We made it through the most difficult stepfamily years. It’s not that we never face current issues, but the visitation and holiday schedules, the complexities over financially providing for 2 homes, and the concerns over whether his sons knew how much we love them, just to name a few, are no longer an active part of daily life.
Stepfamilies typically take about 7 years to bond. Most people are pretty shocked to hear that it takes that long, and each situation is unique. But on the average this is the norm.
As Steve and I look back over these 10,000 days we review some of the things we did right, such as:
- Helping his sons observe and know that we live by God’s guidelines, not what society says is true.
- Teaching them wise ways of handling money and finances. They haven’t always listened, or implemented, but Steve truly works at explaining and living it.
- Apologize when we do something wrong. Steve in particular has been wonderful at admitting his short comings or the ways he could have been a better Dad.
- Being there when we knew they needed help. Steve drove from NY to GA with his oldest son when he moved away from home at 20.
And the things we did wrong, such as:
- Thinking his sons would easily embrace a stepmom and adapt to Dad’s remarriage.
- Not recognize that his boys needed time alone with Dad—without me. This is one of my greatest regrets as a stepmom, that I didn’t encourage my husband to do this.
- Determine early on what is a “hill to die on” and what isn’t. There were things I wanted to enforce that Steve didn’t. It caused tension for everyone.
- Assuming Steve and I would agree on discipline and punishment. I grew up in a VERY strict single parent home, Steve did not. Many times I viewed Steve as a weakling for not implementing stronger consequences for his sons when they made poor choices. And it deeply affected my attitude toward him, and our marriage.
As I looked at my sweet husband that I met 10,000 days prior, I gave thanks.
“Thank you, Lord for bringing Steve into my life. No one has ever loved me like he does. Thank you, for teaching us how to stay faithful to you and to each other. And thank you for taking all the brokenness that we brought into this marriage, healing it, and then using it to help others.”
I am blessed, and I know it!!
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart.
By Laura Petherbridge
Wife to Steve, Mom of two stepsons, Grandmother of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of Sisterhood of Stepmoms
Author of When ‘I Do’ Becomes ‘I Don’t’, 101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom, and The Smart Stepmom with Ron Deal