Building a solid marriage/partnership creates security in the lives of the children. This applies to stepfamilies as well. Though you may not be the original, intact family unit, you still have the opportunity to solidify the foundations of the spousal relationship and be a role model to the children in your care. When the children are secure, they are able to function more autonomously. They enjoy their own stages of development without reaching into their back pocket for constant care from their parents. It also increases their desire to share a marital bond and to form families of their own.
So that begs the question.... what are you doing to ensure a solid marriage/partnership?
Here are a few tips:
1) Date night
Commit to making your relationship a priority by reminding yourself and your partner of the reasons that you came together. By putting a date certain on your calendar, arranging for a baby sitter and sticking to that plan, you have already defeated the odds! However, we all know that there is a certain point in our real lives, when a date "night" is just not going to happen. No matter. Steal away for lunch. Take a walk to get the mail. Find a way to make a date...however you define it at this point.
What hopes do you have for your relationship? Do you talk about what you will do when you are no longer raising children? Just a few prompts for talking about something other than children!
The point is to keep communicating. Communication is the avenue by which we measure if our needs are being met. After all, we may be soul mates but none of us are mind readers.
3) Let them know you would choose them again.
The daily grind gets in the way of our opportunity to be our best selves. But for a few moments a day,
put it away. Stop focusing on what's next on the agenda. Stop contemplating next week's school picture day or what's for dinner tonight. Yes, those are all important things. Yet, so is your relationship. Studies find that it isn't necessarily the big gestures that add the most to our marriage survival rates. It is the small things done with good intentions. Offering up coffee in bed, picking up the toys if that is your spouse's "job", gassing up the car for the weekend trip out of town. By making small changes, you are making large investments.