Psst. Yeah, I’m talking to you. I know life is busy, but don’t let it become so crazy that you don’t make time to care and nurture your marriage. As stepmoms, we are hit hard with the dynamics of stepfamily life. It’s so important that we take care of the very reason we are in the role of stepmom: our husband.
Putting your marriage first isn’t at the expense of the kids, but rather for their benefit.
Couple care means making time to focus just on the two of you. It means putting a high value on your relationship and it means creating and sustaining a strong partnership which, in turn, benefits the kids. Your stepkids may outwardly gag when they see you smooch, but inside they know your affection is a sign that you are creating a secure family environment.
Three main factors impact couple care: time, finances, and mood.
Time – Time is a precious resource. Choosing to spend time with your spouse communicates “you are important to me.”
Time with your guy means uninterrupted, no kid-talk time. It’s this type of quality time that really matters. It’s the time when you can focus on only the two of you and that time is needed to nurture your relationship.
Finances – Time and finances can often be tied together, especially if you are a custodial stepmom. Your stepkids are with you 24/7. In this case, it’s great to see if you can have family watch the kids and/or swap sitting time with friends. It’s really great if you have close friends who will take your kids overnight and with whom you can reciprocate the favor.
On those nights when the kids are having a sleepover elsewhere, you can stay in and have date night. You get the house all to yourselves and you don’t have to spend a dime. Think of all the possibilities.
Mood – Let’s face it, as women our mood can impact whether we do or do not want to spend “quality” alone time with our guy. And, I can tell you that when you least want to spend time with your husband is when you need to the most!
When stepmoms are struggling with their stepkids or with the ex-wife and don’t feel supported by our spouse, we can start to slowly disconnect emotionally. This is dangerous. This is the time when we need to remind ourselves why we are stepmoms in the first place….because we are madly in love with our guy who has kids.
So let’s get working on our couple care. Here are ten ideas for fun, inexpensive date nights:
Go to a Drive-In Movie – Pack up some snacks and pretend you are teenagers again. If you own a van, pack some chairs in the back, a few candles and a folding table and have a candlelight movie for two.
Attend a Comedy Club – The best medicine for stepfamily ailments is a good sense of humor. See who is in town and go have a good laugh together.
Make Dinner Together – Pick a new recipe or make one that you both love. Shop for the ingredients and then cook up a storm. Don’t forget about dessert!
Indoor Picnic and a Movie – Put the kids to bed and have a late night picnic meal for two. Spread a blanket on the floor, pour some wine, serve some cheese and crackers and pop in a romantic movie.
Go for a Walk – Get up and go. Take a walk around your neighborhood or drive to the park and take a leisurely walk on a trail.
Board Games – Pull out the old favorites like Monopoly, Scrabble, Life and just play. Make a friendly wager and enjoy!
Shoot a Game of Pool – Head to your local billiards place and play a few games of pool. Shooting pool can be fun and sexy.
Put on those Bowling Shoes – Bowling can be a lot of fun. The shoes are always fodder for a good laugh. The point is to do something you normally wouldn’t do and just have fun.
Go Fly a Kite – If you can get a few hours during the day and the wind is in your favor, go fly a kite. It’s fun to be a kid again.
Visit Local Landmarks – Spend time looking up some local history and then visit local landmarks and historical places of interest. You can learn a lot and enjoy each other and the adventure.
While it’s nice to get away with your spouse, it’s a myth that date night has to be expensive. The two key ingredients to a setting up a date night is uninterrupted time alone and no kid-talk. You can have both whether you go out or stay in. Remember, putting the kids to bed early isn’t going to hurt them and asking your friends to watch the kids so you can avoid paying a babysitter is a great idea.
Share your tips for making and enjoying time with your partner. Let’s learn and share with one another and, most importantly, make time for couple care!
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.primeparentsclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/HeatherWebBio.jpg
[author_info]About the Author
Heather is the Prime Parents’ Club regular parenting and stepparenting contributor. She keeps busy as the Founder of CafeSmom, an online resource for stepmothers, where her passion is to inform, encourage, support and connect stepmoms. She is a married mom of six–four biological children and two stepchildren. Read more of her here on Prime Parents Club, or on CafeSmom. [/author_info]