Connect With Your Partner

28 10 2008

1) Discuss a topic other than your stepfamily. Have a fun discussion about a play you saw, the latest episode of So You Think You Can Dance, a book you read, a trip you want to take, or the presidential race. 

2) Talk about sex. Buy a copy of Hot Monogamy by Dr. Patricia Love and take a quiz about your sex life. Then make time to implement some of the things you learn about each other.
3) Keep your mouth shut. Guys often complain that all we women want to do is talk, talk, talk. So do something active instead. Do a yoga class together. Rent one of those tandem bikes and hit the trail. Take a hike. Go skydiving. Swim in the ocean. Canoe down a river. Spend an afternoon golfing. Organize a touch football game with your friends. Lift weights. Challenge him to a race.
4) Kiss for a full minute every single day. Hold hands. Rub each other’s shoulders. With our busy lives it can be incredibly easy to let days slip by without touching your spouse. Make a point of connecting physically with each other every day.
5) Plan something special for your partner that doesn’t involve you. Sometimes the best way to connect is to spend time apart. If your husband has a hobby that he loves, send him off for an afternoon so he can indulge in his passions without feeling guilty. Meanwhile, you can do the same. When you meet back up for dinner or dessert, you’ll both feel refreshed.

Advice for Bio Parents: Honor Your Kids’ Stepparent

28 10 2008

Pass this on to your spouse, or if you have biological children, try these exercises on your partner.

1) Offer a compliment a day. Practice showing your spouse your gratitude every single day with a compliment or a message of thanks. Make a mark on your calendar on all the days you remember to show appreciation to your partner. If compliments don’t come easy to you, practicing them will help you become more comfortable. And the smile on your partner’s face will inspire you to continue. Here are some ideas to get you started: “Thank you so much for helping Tommy with his homework.” “I really appreciate all the work you do for our family.” “I know this can be frustrating, but I am so thankful you’re willing to talk about this.” “Wow, thank you!”

2) Give her a shout out. Honor your partner in front of the kids so you are modeling to them that this person is important in your life and makes you happy. This will help you and your spouse maintain a united front to the children, and will set up a clear message to the kids that the stepparent is here to stay and is completely supported by their birth parent.

3) Send a message of thanks. Every night before you go to bed, write down or simply think of three reasons you’re grateful for your partner’s presence in your life.

4) Include her in the decision-making. We stepmoms all know that as the biological parent, you have the final say in the raising of your children. However, making a stepmom feel included in the household isn’t that hard to do. Simply listen to what she has to say, discuss the pros and cons with each other and work out a solution together as a team. She’s volunteered to join your family; now help her feel like she’s welcome.

5) Carve out alone time. Every stepparent needs alone time with their spouse. Make time each week that just the two of you can be together without his kids or her kids so you can continue to nurture your partnership. Each biological parent also needs time alone with their children so each individual relationship within your family unit receives the time and attention it needs to flourish.