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Monday, February 1, 2010

Healthy Stepparenting #7 Nurture Your Marriage

My 17-year-old daughter recently told me about one of her friends who is without a home. Her stepdad kicked her mother and the three kids out of their house and they had nowhere to go. The kids are staying with friends from school and the mother is staying with a friend from work, hoping to come up with enough money to find an apartment and bring her and the kids back together. What a sad situation. It breaks my heart to think of the emotional turmoil these kids are in because the parents couldn't work through their differences.

Marriage is hard. And re-marriage with kids is even harder. But when we commit to marry again and have children as part of the package, the stakes are high. It should be a serious commitment. Our children deserve to see a healthy marriage modeled that offers stability and security. Healing of their brokenness from death or divorce can only occur as they witness relationships that genuinely care for one another.

Nurturing your marriage takes time. It includes the opportunity to date and be attentive to one another. It allows for time away from the demands of parenting to reconnect. It recognizes the need to work through challenges as they occur, not allowing anger or hurt feelings to be swept under the rug.

Nurturing your marriage means the marriage relationship takes priority over the relationships with the children. This is a hard concept in stepfamilies because there is a longer history between the biological parent and the kids than with the new spouse, but the marriage must be honored for what it is. There is enough love for everyone, though, and the maturing marital relationship can provide security for the children as they form a relationship with their new stepparent.

Nurturing your marriage is an intentional action. You don't have to wait until February 14th to do something special for your spouse. Any day is a great day to surprise your mate with some fresh flowers or their favorite home-cooked meal. What will you do today to nurture your marriage?



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