Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Importance Of A Supportive Partner

Welcome to Part 5 of this series:

If you've only just tuned into this blog, this post will make a lot more sense if you read part 1, 2, 3 & 4 of this series before going on to read this part (5).

Step 9 - TAKE SECONDARY PART TO (your partner)

Taking secondary part to anyone isn’t a particularly popular suggestion in this area of 'it's all about me'; all the same it is a very important one. Whilst I would not for one moment advocate that any one partner always take a secondary part, good relationships are built on a 'give and take' foundation. Sometimes you give, sometimes you take. 

Helpful times to take a secondary part to your partner are:

* When they are overwhelmed or they feel exhausted (perhaps because of everything that's going on in your lives as a result of the step journey) and/or when they are in need of a good rest. At that time it wold be an excellent idea to encourage them to take an afternoon nap, a bubble bath,  to spend time with a mate, play a game of tennis or do whatever it may be that helps them relax and tune out for a while. It's really important that at such a time you let them know that you understand. Be sure to give them your 'okay' so they can chill without feeling guilty.

* When they need to escape the step-situation for a while. If that happens, don’t be offended. Their need to escape is about them, not about you! Whether they get the chance to fulfill this need (or not) could well be the making or breaking of your relationship. At such a juncture it would be a great idea for your partner to take a weekend away with a friend, to spend some nurturing time at their parent’s house or perhaps to enjoy some time-out at a health farm…yes, whilst you stay behind and 'hold the fort'. I know this is not a popular suggestion as its execution rarely is easy and may not feel fair to you. All the same I'd like to  encourage you to help your partner take all the time-out they so desperately need. Even if this presents a variety of difficulties in the short term, it may be your insurance policy for the future. 

Step 10 - SPEAK IN FAVOUR OF (your partner) 

This is possibly one of the most important things you can do for your partner – to speak in favour of them! Nothing is quite as affirming for a woman in a step-situation as having a friend tell her how much her partner appreciates her, how highly he speaks of her - what a terrific wife and what a great stepparent he considers her to be! In a world that constantly judges, speaking in favour of your partner is a gift you can give that doesn’t cost a cent and yet will go a long way towards ensuring their pleasure, happiness, loyalty, commitment and love.

Speaking ‘in favour of’ means:

* Telling others how terrific your partner is.
* Letting your children know that your partner is to be treated with respect. 
* To affirm them rather than to criticise; to honour, encourage and support them in any way you can. 
* To frequently let them that they are the most important person in your life. 
Mother Theresa said about encouragement: “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless”. As I conclude this series, I’d like to present you with two quotes that I feel encapsulate everything I’ve attempted to say:

Remember to be gentle with yourself and others.
We are all children of chance, and none can say why some
fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the
August sun. Care for those around you. Look past your
differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their
choices in life no more easily made. And give. Give in any
way you can, of whatever you possess. To give is to love.
To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than
for how it is shared, and your life will have meaning
and your heart will have peace.

If there is light in the soul,
There will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person,
There will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house,
There will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.

Finally, I’d like to express my hope that this series has provided you with food for thought, with a great topic of conversation 
as well as some helpful hints that will get you closer to the happiness and contentment that you and your family deserve.

My very best wishes for your stepfamily journey,
Warm regards,

Copyright © 2006, all rights reserved
Sonja Ridden is a counsellor, psychotherapist and relationship coach.
She is the author of “Help, I’m a Stepmother” and is a popular trainer and speaker.
For further information, please visit Sonja’s website at:
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