July 24

Your Spouse, Their Children, Your Time, Their Balance


Marrying someone who already has children can be a blessing. It can also be a challenge, especially when you're dealing with an insecure co-parent. The heart wants what the heart wants, and sometimes you have to take the bad with the good. You want to make the most of it and be careful not to step on anyone's toes when becoming a step parent. Here are some tips for splitting your time between your spouse and their children.

1. Understand You Won't Always Be #1

Yes, when you get married it's supposed to be about you and your spouse, everything is centered around you. When you or they have children, that tends to go out the window. Your spouse has had time to get used to splitting their emotions and sharing their heart. Now, you have to understand that you won't always come first, and really shouldn't want to.

This doesn't mean you should never be #1, but your new spouse does have other people counting on them. Sometimes you have to be prepared to step back and wait your turn.

2. Spend Time With Their Child(ren)

Set up some one-on-one time, and enjoy your new spouse with their kids. It might not be the romantic date night you envisioned, but it shouldn't matter so long as you're spending time with your spouse. They will most likely appreciate your effort in taking the time to make their child feel special while respecting the time they have with their child.

3. Set a Date Night

Make sure your spouse sees this time as a priority. It's hard splitting your time between kids and a spouse, but it's important. Get creative! Wait until the kids are in bed if need be. Steal away time during your lunch break. Make sure you're finding time to be a couple.

4. Make it Clear You Want Your Spouse to Spend Time with Their Children

You're not in competition. You can allow them to have one-on-one time with out hurting anyone's feelings. Allow one-on-one time for your spouse and their child(ren) and make your own plans, on occasion.

5. Communicate

This one is obvious, but setting aside time to communicate about the family dynamic, upcoming plans, emotions, feelings, etc will be important as you navigate the new dynamic of being in relationship when children are involved. 

6. Go on Vacation

Every now and then, plan some time when your spouse's children will be with another parent. Make it a priority to get away together, even if just a few days.

7. Enjoy the Little Things

A busy life can make it hard to find time together. Stealing away a few moments here and there by cooking a meal together or doing tasks you enjoy doing together around the house can have a real bonding effect. Time can be found - in spite of all of the craziness that comes from a house with children, even when they are not your own.

Starting a marriage off with children from a previous relationship is a balancing act. Establishing a good, stable home life is important for everyone involved, especially the children. Be there, but don't be needy. Always understand that your spouse can have room in their heart to love you and their children.

However, if you ever get to the point where you're feeling neglected, make sure to take your spouse aside, (away from the children) and let them know how you're feeling. Suggest some of the activities listed above to reconnect. Your spouse should appreciate your honesty, and want to accommodate you as best they can.

Marrying a person with children doesn't have to be a deal breaker as long as you're willing to work at it, and so is the other person. Check out our stepparents' e-book guide for more ways to be a conscious bonus parent!


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