Dating your spouse may seem like a strange idea, but think about it: when you were courting, you were excited to be together; you talked about everything, and appreciated the new and wonderful things you were learning about your mate; you made plans for special and romantic evenings; you went out of your way to look and smell nice; you made an effort. After you married, anticipation subsided, and maybe you began to take your partner a little for granted; you began to make less of an effort. Here is something you need to know. Being married, especially if you have kids and step kids, means you have to make more of an effort to be a couple.

Weekly date nights even with a stepfamily

No matter how busy you are, or how much attention your step family demands, you and your partner owe it to yourselves and to your blended family to set aside time to maintain your relationship. The stronger your relationship, the better you can deal with the challenges of managing a blended family. Giving your relationship the attention it deserves results not only in a happier relationship for you and your spouse, but your devotion to each other shows your kids what it takes to have a successful relationship. This is especially important to blended family children, because many of them have experienced loss due to adult relationship failures.

Guidelines for dating your spouse

Make it happen. Set aside time that belongs to just you, separate from the kids and from household duties. A minimum of twice a month, you and your partner should spend time alone, just the two of you. If you need to get a babysitter, do it. You might be able to arrange a babysitting trade-off with friends.

Scheduling time for fun and intimacy creates anticipation, and presents an opportunity to make the effort to attract and please each other, as you did when you were courting. When you make time for each other in your busy lives, you are saying your relationship is important. When you feel connected emotionally and physically, blended family challenges are easier to meet.

You still have interesting and delightful things to learn about each other. Go out to dinner, a movie, take a walk, go bowling; the activity really is immaterial, just so long as it is something you both enjoy. Talk about people you have seen during the week, about the movie you just saw together, talk about work, it doesn’t really matter what you talk about. Date night is a great time to remind yourselves what you love about each other. Reconnect with laughter and intimacy.

Do not, do not, do not talk about problems with the kids or your ex-spouse on date night. This time is yours and yours alone. Family issues can be addressed at other times. The point of date night is for the two of you to celebrate and nurture your relationship. Isn’t that important enough to have its own exclusive time slot?

Invest in your blended family

When you and your blended family spouse commit to maintaining a strong and loving relationship, you are helping to ensure the stability of your blended family. Your blended family unit came into being because of your relationship, and cannot survive if its base is weakened by neglect. As parents and step parents, it is important to protect the blended family members from the possibility of another relationship failure. Make the time, and the commitment, to do what you can to beat the mathematical odds against blended family success. You deserve this chance at happiness, and your children deserve to benefit from a strong and loving parental relationship. Go out! Have fun! Love each other!