His unconditional love is what helped me to “hang in there” when stepfamily living got tough. That coupled with the fact that he is the most honest man I know.
Over the last 26 years when step-family issues such as: the former spouse, his kid’s behavior, or the financial strain of supporting two households would surface I’d ponder, “This is not the life I want.”
But then I would think about Steve’s patience with me during the difficult seasons in my life. Five years into our marriage I wrestled with pain, shame, and grief related to my childhood.
It wasn’t pretty. I was miserable and cried —a lot. Having a wife who wept uncontrollably likely wasn’t what my husband dreamed of in a second marriage, either.
My dad died in 2010. Along with him went all the little girl hopes and dreams I had for what our relationship could be. Because of my, “Daddy Wound,” I’ve make the mistake of thinking Steve can and should meet the needs in my life. However, it’s not his job to create in me a sense of significance, fulfillment, and peace—that’s up to someone much mightier.
I’m placing a terrible burden on Steve when I expect him to meet those needs and fill a God-sized role.
Steve felt helpless during my seasons of emotional healing, but he tenderly offered support and a listening ear. His faithfulness is one of the things I admire the most about him.
And… there is more to love. When Steve’s sons were young, I watched him weep more tears than I could count over issues related to his divorce. I was totally unaware that a man could hurt that deeply over his children. Sometimes his grief was related to the death of the dream he had for his children to grow up in a stable two parent home.
Often it was fear that his children didn’t know and believe how deeply he loves them.
If that isn’t enough, Steve has excellent Bible knowledge and financial skills which got us completely out of debt. He created a trust account and we met a lawyer that organized our will and finances in a way that makes it very easy for me to understand. Steve knows I’m concerned about my financial future should he die before me. He has diligently gone out of his way to make me feel secure.
Is step-family life considerably harder that I thought it would be?
Have I felt like throwing in the towel numerous times in the past 26 years?
But I’m so glad I didn’t.
Happy Father’s Day, Steve. Marrying you is the second best decision of my life. Jesus is the first. 🙂
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