So they have decided to mix their families. The process of uniting families is a complicated and emotional endeavor. Much has been written about the dynamics and struggles of merging families upon remarriage. Therefore, this short article focuses only about the importance of building the bond of a couple during the turbulence of uniting a family.

1. Set and enforce clear boundaries for your marriage

Set boundaries for your marriage; honor them and be consistent. Boundaries provide protection and guidance on how a couple behaves, how they interact with each other, as well as with people outside of marriage. The boundaries that a couple can set for their marriage can include things like:

  • Keep sensitive and intimate information about your spouse confidential (eg, we do not discuss marital grievances with family members or former spouses)

  • Take responsibility for your individual feelings and not demand that your spouse feel the same way about everything.

  • Behave in a way that respects your spouse and also shows respect for yourself (for example, name calling is not used during arguments).

I cannot stress enough how important this is. The lack of boundaries in a marriage can be disastrous. If you’re not sure about the status of the boundaries in your relationship, give me a call; I would love to work with you.

2. Recognize that your relationship with your spouse is different from your relationship with your children.

While it is important to meet the needs of the children in the family, strengthening the couple’s bond is essential. Your relationship with your children is to love them, nurture them, instruct them, discipline them, groom them, and deliver them to the world as valued contributors one day. Your relationship with your spouse is for the two of you. It is loving and nurturing, enjoying and valuing the person you have become, achieving goals together and sharing dreams. The couple relationship is the sharing of personal satisfaction and enjoyment between two Adults. Companionship and support, both emotional Y physical, are key in this relationship.

3. Date your spouse

Dating practice is something that falls by the wayside after saying “I do.” By joining a family, dating your spouse becomes even more important. It is an important part of establishing your identity as a married couple, not just as parents or stepparents. It also establishes a culture in his new family that shows that the marriage relationship is important. Dating your spouse provides an opportunity for your children and stepchildren to witness positive marital behavior. This practice also gives you and your spouse the opportunity to strengthen and maintain your connection. They will need each other’s support as they integrate the family.

4. Be careful when receiving “well-meaning” advice

Friends and family are full of ‘well meaning’ and unsolicited advice. This advice can sometimes backfire and turn into meddling, which is intrusive and harmful. You may even unintentionally make your relationship the subject of gossip within your social circle, resulting in more stress on your marriage. When looking for advice about your marriage within a blended family, talk to someone who will give you constructive and objective advice while keeping your personal information private. If there is no one in your life who can provide this, meet with a licensed counselor. Your relationship is worth it.

5. Communicate frequently with your spouse. Communicate!

Be careful not to allow offenses to go unaddressed and unresolved. Communication can act as a cleaner in a relationship. You can build a resilient marriage through healthy and ongoing communication.

By uniting a family, difficulties will arise; expect them and plan ahead when you can. Before the wedding, communicate about finances, discipline, household duties, living arrangements, etc.

6. Give yourself credit for the things you are doing well.

Identify your strengths as a couple and give yourself a pat on the back for doing the right thing. If you work hard to make time for each other or to improve the way you communicate with your spouse, give yourself credit for these things. But don’t stop there. Continue to learn new skills that will increase the bond you have with your spouse.

7. Seek professional help if things get too murky.

Sometimes we are too involved in our own situation to see things clearly. Meeting with a licensed counselor can help by giving you an unbiased view of your situation. A counselor can help you and your spouse discover tools to strengthen your bond as you merge your families.

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