Couples who are part of a Blended Family must overcome many obstacles in order to maintain "the fire" in their relationship. Sometimes these obstacles are financial, other times these obstacles are material, often times these obstacles are relational. The top two reasons that couples, who have blended their families, divorce is because of issues with the children (including parenting differences) and issues with money. Couples who have blended their families can become so bombarded and overwhelmed with the the things that are going wrong with their relationships, that they fail to make the most of the times when the relationship is going right. These issues, according to Christian D. Banks, causes the desire for your mate to slowly dissipate and causes intimacy to dwindle. Below is one man's perspective on how to keep the flames of passion alive:
I have learned that there are a lot more distractions, concerns, and worries when trying to be intimate with your spouse/significant other in a blended family. There is a level of spiritual and physical involvement that is hard to get to when you have the distractions of a blended family. While I think it's hard, I don't think it's impossible. With kids, especially toddlers around, showing intimacy to your partner can be difficult - especially in the beginning. I have found, based on my experiences, that It is not a good idea to jump right into being intimate in front of the child because it can confuse him or cause him to have a negative reaction. The reaction they have can cause them to become more clingy to the parent. This may also cause the child to not allow the stepparent to be close to their parent. It seems like, toddlers are especially effected by this [clingyness] because they don't seem to understand why their real mommy and daddy are not together in the same house anymore.
Any guy who is in a serious relationship with a woman, should understand how important it is for the child to trust him. Not in a creepy way, but in a way that the child knows you don't want to cause harm to them or their mommy. You should be positively involved with the child as much as you can to prove to them that you are not there to take the other parent away, but that you want to be part of their family. I think that people should hold off on the public display of affection until the child is sort of comfortable with your presence. Then you can start working on showing affection for their mom in front of the child.
The honest truth is that a stepparent can feel neglected when there are children around due to the fact that their spouse is in "parent mode", running after the children, and usually ends up paying a lot of attention to the child while kind of ignoring the stepparent. As a man, I understand that a woman has the responsibility to take care of her children the best way that she can, but I don't want to be forgotten in the process. I have learned that couples with children can show affection by making a game out of it. See how fast you can "make-out" with your spouse before the child comes back in the room or sneak in an intimate touch while the child is not looking. Its fun and exciting - it kind of reminds you of sneaking kisses when you were in high school- but it mostly lets your significant other know that you still want them through out the day. It's important to make time for your spouse. Take thirty minutes, in the afternoon, to talk and cuddle on the couch or to "make-out" like teenagers. If you can't find time, try it before the kids get home from school or before bed. Hold each other. Now, you don't have to do this stuff everyday (which would be ideal) but couples should try it a couple of times a week.
In retrospect, I have learned that life will always bring distractions into my relationship, but its up to me to find ways to show that my relationship is a priority. (It should be the same for other couples too) Had I known that when I was younger, things might have been different. You just have to make the decision to not allow the stuff that is going on in your blended family to mess up your relationship with your spouse/significant other.
Christian D. Banks served 7 years in the United States Navy, during which he was part a blended family. He has been a stepfather and is the father of a 15 year old girl. He continues - even after divorce - to be a positive male figure in the lives of his stepchildren. Make direct contact with Christian D. Banks at email@example.com .
Featured Reader submissions are based on the opinions and experiences of the author and are not meant to replace the diagnosis of a qualified relationship therapist, counselor or qualified pastor/minister. Starting in January 2013 come to Blended Family Moments and click on Christian's Corner for a man's perspective about blended families. For information on how to contribute an article to Blended Family Moments or Christian's Corner send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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