Step Family Success – This is the Most Important Ingredient
In first marriages, the old saying is to put a bean in a jar every time you make love during the first year. For every year thereafter, take one out every time you make love. By the end of your marriage, it is said that the jar will finally be empty. It’s a nice wives tale, but not necessarily as accurate for remarriages.
You don’t get that nice, uncomplicated “honeymoon” period with your remarriage. After the “I Do’s” are shared, you come home to children expecting their lives to stay as unchanged as possible even though you’ve made this decision to marry. This can be frustrating and a real let down if you weren’t expecting it.
You still are newly married though. You still need alone time for your marriage to grow in intimacy and commitment. It’s just more of a challenge this time around because you’re not alone. “Initiating” every room in your new house isn’t that easy because there are children who could walk in at any moment.
You still have the same parenting demands and now have the added demands of trying to build a relationship with your step children. All of this takes energy. At the same time, you have a spouse who is vying for your time as well. In order to have a successful step family and marriage, you’re going to have to learn how to balance all of the needs.
One of the things I always warn my coaching clients is that you can’t neglect your marriage in order to try to strengthen the family. There is no family if the marriage falls apart!!
You must nurture your marriage relationship. You are a married couple, not just John & Mary’s parents. A good rule of thumb is that your marriage requires just as much time as your children do. If you’re newlyweds, I’d challenge you that you may need more. Your marriage relationship is the weakest one.
While sex doesn’t “make” a marriage, it can break it. It is an intimate act in marriage. You’ve both agreed to share this with only each other for the rest of your lives. Neglecting it, is a sure sign of relationship difficulties.
You may need to be creative about ways to fit in intimate times. One way to get time alone as a couple is to try to arrange parenting time so that ALL the kids are gone from the home on the same weekends.
If you aren’t that lucky, then you need to discuss this as a couple. How are you going to create the time to be intimate? This doesn’t always have to lead to love making, but it does need to be time where the two of you just focus on your relationship, not the rest of the family.
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