When you become a step family, it is very easy to get caught up in the practicalities of everyday life and leave little time for your relationship with your partner. Children always come first, usually closely followed by work, balancing the family finances and making sure the household chores are all done. Often even the family pets get more time allocated to them than you do!
Make Rules From the Start
With so much going on in your lives and so little time to achieve everything, it’s easy to put your relationship on the back burner almost and just tick along for a while. We all do this to a degree anyway because life can’t be an endless round of romantic weekend breaks, candlelit dinners and intimate, cosy conversations-especially not in a busy step family! However, all relationship and family experts will tell you that it is really important to make some time for your relationship so that you can spend proper, quality time together on a regular basis.
Colin and Judith have three children between them, two girls and a boy. The girls are Judith’s daughters from a previous marriage and are now 18 and their son is 13. The couple have been together for 15 years, and have lots of advice for new step parents based on their own experiences.
Make Some Time
Judith said: “When your children are very young-whether they are step children or not-making time for anything apart from them is pretty impossible. However, when Colin came along and took on me and the girls we realised that if our relationship was going to flourish we had to make some precious time for us so that we could have proper conversations and make our plans for the future.”
Priorities are Important
She added: “Sometimes the simplest things in life are the most effective, and it got to the point where we were too exhausted to even talk let alone go out on a date or have sex! We asked some friends to help out with babysitting once a week and made sure that we kept that evening free just for us to do what we wanted. We didn’t have a lot of money back then so fancy meals at flash restaurants were not exactly an option. However, we used to take a walk down the road to our local pub and have a quiet drink, occasionally go to the cinema and grab a take away on the way back, and if we were lucky enough to have an overnight option with the kids we would just go to bed and stay there for as long as possible!”
Use your child free time wisely-this does NOT mean catching up on the housework, checking your bank statements or other normal chores! Make a plan, be creative-take a picnic to the park and sit and chat for a couple of hours, take a bath and pamper each other or just cook a delicious meal together and watch a DVD. Whatever you decide to do, be assured that it was have a very positive impact on your relationship.