When Bobby asked me to marry him, (says Jo Donna) it was just months after my divorce. Bobby and I had been high school sweethearts back in the '70s and I felt like this was truly an answer to my prayers. My daughter and I would be away from all the pain we had suffered with my previous marriages and a past of regret.
But I didn't understand how deep our scars ran until that old pain began coming out again, this tim directly at Bobby. I knew he wasn't' responsible, but it was just so natural to strike out. We fought so much during the first two years! I almost gave up too many times to count.
Thank God we were able to hold onto each other long enough to get past the hurts. Lots of prayer and help from some good friends got us through.
We have a good home now, and I even have my beautiful, happy baby girl back. And now we try to help more couples who are in the same situations we were in, to show them that it is possible to make stepparenting work
I never had much hope of having a child (says Bobby).In my first marriage, we were both too busy to even think of having kids. So, when my wife left me after 15 years, I just gave up hope.
Then I ran into my high school sweetheart - 20 years later! (I honestly believe God allowed us to come back together because we were meant to be together.) After too short a courtship, I married Jo. She had a 13 year old daughter and I thought, "Great! Ready-made family!"
Boy, was I naive. About the last thing my new stepdaughter wanted was a new authority figure telling her what to do. She even did her best trying to run me off. But I was just too stubborn.
Finally she realized that I meant it when I said "there's nothing you can do to keep me from loving you," and she changed her mind. She accepted that I wasn't trying to take over her life, just to be a part of it.
Today Jo and I are about the happiest couple you'll find. Our friends tease us about acting like newlyweds - after more than 15 years! We try to share our joy with other steppers so they, too, can find this kind of peace and happiness.
Bob Collins now serves as President and Director of STEP-Carefully! Inc., the international stepparenting support organization he and Jo started in 1996. In addition to managing the organization, he writes support resource materials and various columns for stepparents, conducts stepfamily classes and seminar workshops, and edits their free monthly email newsletter.
Bob is a Domestic Mediator, a licensed minister, an experienced stepparenting coach and consultant, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors.