Hey guys. Been awhile.
Many of you have emailed me over the past couple months wondering if the site is still alive, and if so, where are the updates? Looking back, the last post published on Husband Help Haven was in June of 2016.
Wow. Can’t believe it’s been that long.
Today you’re going to get a full personal update on what I’ve personally been up to over the past 7 months. Then, next week you'll get an overview of what new stuff you can expect from Husband Help Haven as we move forward in 2017.
Before all that, let me start with an apology. Especially to those of you who have emailed me over the past few months and never heard back. I was out for a full month in June-July of 2016 and honestly, I never caught back up on emails. Since last June through the end of ‘16, I probably only answered about 50% of the emails I received.
If you were one of the men who emailed me last year and never got a response, I am truly sorry. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to offer personal email support to as many men as possible, but I haven't found the answer yet.
For the rest of you, I am sorry that you’ve been left without any new resources for so long. That changes, starting NOW!
New: The 3+1 Separation Strategy
While the rest of this update will cover some personal “behind the scenes” stuff, I want to start with a powerful new free resource I’ve been working hard on throughout the holidays:
This is a new, extremely powerful free resource for men going through separation. From here on out, this will be the starting point for all separated men who come to the Haven.
If you click through to that page, you will find a 10 minute video overview of the 3+1 Separation Strategy followed by a more detailed text walkthrough of each step. Current subscribers will also receive a copy of a new report tentatively titled 7 Separation Pitfalls That Push Her Away, comparable in size to the 9 Essential Traits report I currently send all new subs.
The goal of the 3+1 Separation Strategy is to provide newcomers to the Haven with a stronger, clearer starting point for dealing with separation.
I strongly believe this is the best free separation resource for men, period. I made this video so that even if you never see or read anything else on Husband Help Haven, you will still have a strong grasp of how best to fight for your marriage.
If you’re currently going through a separation, I highly recommend you take 10 minutes to watch the 3+1 Separation Strategy… I’m very confident you’ll learn something new, even if you’re a long-time Haven veteran.
I won’t go into too much detail here… If you’re interested, check it out, otherwise let’s move on to the personal side of this update.
3 Big Changes to My Family’s Life Last Year
Since June of 2016, there have been three big changes in my family and I’s life.
We Became Homeowners
It was all the way back in 2014 when my wife learned she was pregnant with our daughter, Eden.
Not gonna lie, it was a surprise.
At the time, we were renting a small two-bedroom house in Kansas City, MO. It was perfect for a young couple in their early 20's – cheap, short walk from downtown, close to our friends – but it was no fit for a baby. It was moldy, located in a sketchy neighborhood, and our landlord refused to fix our leaky sewage pipes.
We decided it was time to buy our own house, and so we started saving. Hard.
- I started working overtime with my freelance writing clients (this was when I was still a full-time freelancer).
- I wrote and published two products for Husband Help Haven in two years (Manly Marriage Revival and Manly Separation Survival).
- We buckled down on our budget.We even swallowed our pride and moved in with my mom (I know, millennials, right?) for about a year after Eden was born to speed our savings for a nice, juicy down payment.
I am happy to say that after two solid years of hard work and diligent saving, my wife and I finally closed on a house here in Springfield, MO on August 11th, 2016. This is us right after we closed:
We Are Pursuing Adoption/Guardianship of a 12 Year-Old Boy
This is a very long story, but I’ll give you the short version.
Some of you have heard me talk about how every summer, my wife and I volunteer at Royal Family Kids Camp – a camp for kids who’ve suffered abuse and neglect. Virtually every child who attends these camps is in either foster care or residential care.
For the past four years, I’ve been counselor to one handsome young man who has made a home in my heart. We'll call him M.
Last year, I finally got in touch with M’s caseworker and began visiting him every week.
It wasn’t long before my wife and I decided we wanted to take M into our family. We spent the latter half of 2016 ramping up visits with M, completing 60+ hours of elevated needs foster training, advocating for him in court and preparing our new house for an additional child.
As I write this, the adoption/guardianship still isn’t final. If any of you have experience with foster care, you know how important it is to not count your chickens before they hatch. M will need to be placed in our home for 6 months as a foster child before we can officially apply for adoption or guardianship. However, M finally moved in last weekend after spending nearly TWO YEARS in residential facilities.
I’ll ask my Christian brothers out there to lift up a big “Praise the Lord!” This is one very resilient child, and we’re privileged to be able to welcome him into our home.
We are incredibly excited for this new chapter of our lives, but it has been and will continue to be an immense amount of work. There's a lot more I could say about this, but we’ll leave it at that for now and move on to the last major change in my family.
My Wife Is Bravely Facing Her Postpartum Depression (Ongoing)
This was definitely the most challenging part of 2016 for both my wife and I. "Challenging" is probably an understatement.
After months and months of struggling with motherhood, my wife finally realized that she was suffering from postpartum depression.
She came to this realization one day last October when she was at the end of her rope, desperately searching for some sort of help. She stumbled across an article about symptoms of postpartum depression and suddenly everything just clicked.
My wife's PPD primarily shows itself as either anger or empty hopelessness. There have been so many days that were very hard for her to function as a mother and wife because everything just felt bad.
When my wife suffers an episode of PPD, she often feels…
- Like there is nothing to look forward to.
- Like she will never be happy or fulfilled, and every good feeling is a lie.
- Like she is trapped in a situation she never wanted, and that everything in life is unfair.
There have been many days where she felt completely disconnected from our daughter, and had very little patience when Eden needed extra attention or when she was being extra difficult or fussy.
PPD usually only lasts 8-12 months. However, since my wife’s PPD went unrecognized and untreated for so long, she is still fighting it even though our daughter is now 18 months old. The stress of pursuing foster care hasn't helped!
Fortunately, the simple act of accepting and admitting, “I have postpartum depression and I need help,” made an immediate difference in my wife’s outlook.
For the first time in our marriage, I knew that my wife and I needed outside help. I knew that this was a problem that was beyond my skill set to fix; I felt out of my league. Fortunately, my wife is now seeing a therapist and I will also be visiting this therapist in the coming weeks.
My wife is learning to stop believing the negative thoughts that plague her. She no longer lets herself believe thoughts like, “I’m a bad mom,” or, “You deserve a better wife,” or, “It will never get better.”
Instead, she's getting better and better at recognizing in the moment – “I am having a blue day. Even though it feels like an eternity, I know it will pass and that it’s not my fault.”
I’m so proud that my wife is facing her postpartum depression. She continues to impress me with the progress she’s making in herself.
My wife strongly believes that if she had been able to identify her postpartum depression earlier, she could be much further along in her treatment.
No sense dwelling on shoulda coulda’s, but she is using that as motivation to get out and share her experiences... Even though I know it requires her to swallow her pride, it warms my heart when I see her reaching out to other new moms and admitting her own struggles so that IF they're also struggling with PPD, they can face it and deal with it earlier than my wife did.
Postpartum depression is DEFINITELY a subject I will write more about within the next month or two, because there is very little information out there for the husbands of wives who suffer from PPD. I looked high and low, but I never found anything that truly helped me lead my wife through her PPD. I will be the first to admit that I could have handled my wife’s PPD better, but I want to offer whatever help I can to other guys who might be in the same boat.
This is the most that I have ever shared about my personal life with you, my fellow Haveners. It feels good. So many of you have reached out to me and shared very personal parts of your life, it only seems fair that I do the same for you.
Did you like hearing about what's going on behind the scenes? Let me know in the comments below.
Either way, stay tuned next week for a quick overview of what you can look forward to from the Haven in 2017. Plus, I'll be announcing a big change coming to the site that I've been wanting to do for a long time.
With much manly love,
I'm Stephen, the guy behind Husband Help Haven. I'm not a marriage counselor or a lawyer, I'm just a guy on the Internet who has talked to a loooooot of men going through separation... Over 2,000 in the past 5 years. My goal is to give men the tools they need to save their marriage from separation. Read more here