3 Ways to Put Your Marriage First

by childless stepparent

For the past two years, I made the mistake of spending way too much time with my husband talking about his former wife and their daughter. I realize now how important it is to step back, breathe, and let go.

While my husband has let me work through this in my own way, it’s what he wanted all along: for us to enjoy our life together while he manages those relationships.

Here are three things you can do to support your marriage as a childless stepparent:

1. THE BEDROOM. Make your bedroom your space. Make it a child-free zone. Do not discuss your spouse’s former spouse or their children in your bedroom. This can be challenging when issues need to be addressed and it’s easy to do that at the end of the day. Take your conversation elsewhere. Put your marriage first.

2. DISCUSSIONS. Designate a specific day/time to discuss issues regarding your spouse’s former spouse and their children. Don’t let them spill into all your time together. Unless something urgent comes up, my husband and I don’t strategize about his former wife and their daughter on weeks when his daughter is not with us. We make that time about us: our interests, our work, our marriage.

3. ALONE TIME. Enjoy time alone with your spouse when your spouse’s children are with you. It’s important that your spouse’s children see that your marriage comes first. My husband and I get every other week alone together, but we still take a long walk or arrange for a babysitter for date night on weeks when his daughter is with us.

Manifesto #2 | I am a wife first and a stepparent second. I will enjoy being childfree. I will create time and space for myself.

Question: How do you put your marriage first? Has it been a challenge for you? What works, and what doesn’t?