One of the things that really shocks step-couples is when I remind them that their marital bond is the weakest one at the beginning of the life of a stepfamily. That seems contrary to our thinking because it tends to be the opposite of what first marriages experience. It’s true though. Think about it. You’ve known your kids their whole lives. How long have you known your new partner? Even though this imbalance is present in the beginning, for the marriage to survive IT needs to be made a priority. Now, this needs to be a SLOW process, but it needs to ultimately happen.
It will take a commitment on your part as a member of the step-couple to put the marriage first. There will be times when you know you need to do things as a couple to strengthen your marriage and your children will object. They will try to make you feel guilty for spending time with your spouse instead of them. It will be important to let them know that this doesn’t need to be an "either/or" situation. Instead, you are making time for your marriage "and" you regularly make time for them.
Accept the fact that they won't like this at first, but you must remain firm in this commitment. Your marriage HAS to be nurtured. Step-couples are no different than any other couple. If ignored, your relationship will die. Waiting until the kids get older, just flat out doesn't work. In doing this, you are constantly sending the message to your partner that they are second class to your kids. This doesn't elevate them to the equal partner position that they deserve. It also doesn't give your children the stable family life that they deserve.
Visit http://www.Remarriagesuccess.com for more information on how to prepare as a couple and a family for remarriage. Check out the new e-book “THE 7 Questions to Ask Before Remarrying" at http://www.Remarriagesuccess.com/resource.htm to learn more about how best to prepare your new marriage for the ups and downs of stepfamily life. Alyssa Johnson, MSW, LCSW is the founder and CEO of Remarriage Success. She may be reached through her website at http://www.Remarriagesuccess.com where she encourages your feedback and suggestions.