Previously, I wrote a column about blending families and the careful ways this can be orchestrated for the best outcome.

What about the adults involved? How can they blend their families, deal with the ups and downs of this new dynamic while also maintaining a nurturing, deeply connected relationship with each other? Take note that this article is a branch from my previous article but will help any and all families with children.

Blended families (or ANY family) with younger children may have a harder time finding connection time with their partner. Connection can mean having deep conversations with one another, being vulnerable and sharing intimate details about themselves, or connecting at a physical level. It’s difficult but it’s not impossible. It’s important to maintain a level of connection that prevents issues from falling through the cracks. When couples get too caught up in the day-to-day and ignore small resentments (that build up and can turn into a gaping wound), the foundation of the relationship can break down.

Communication and deepening emotional intimacy is vital.

Carve out space when the kids are playing, during sports games, watching tv, post bedtime or even stealing away during your daily work break. If you pay attention there’s always space to develop emotional intimacy and maintain connection, two of the biggest contributors to a successful and flourishing relationship.

Folks that have very young children simply cannot carve out that connection/communication time during daylight hours. Somebody always needs something, meals need to be cooked, and quality time spent.

Folks that have middle or older children may also not have space in their day due to work commitments, children’s sports, or other more driving responsibilities.

The solution?

Book this connection time as you would a massage appointment. There’s no way you’d miss a massage appointment so treat this with as much importance. Agree on a time with your partner whether it’s nightly, right after kids are in bed or once/weekly and make it a date. No matter the time. Plan on a bath together, trade massages, or cuddle and discuss your week, verbalize concerns, identify where work needs to be done or issues that need addressing. Look forward to this time like you would a massage appointment.

Know your partner’s love language. This was another article I wrote about. Learn your partner’s love language and use it regardless of what’s going on that day. A simple hug or rub on the back, words of affirmation, or taking on a chore that is usually yours, will speak volumes of love between you without taking too much time away from your normal routine.

Keep the spark alive by sending loving or steamy texts during the day, leaving notes around sharing your feelings with your partner, or simply preparing a lunch for them, will show you’re thinking about them despite the busyness that life brings. A client of mine packs her partners lunch every day and leaves a sticky note with something she loves about him. This sends the message that no matter how busy life gets, she’s thinking about him.

Get a sitter and plan for 1-2 date nights out of the house per month. No distractions, just you and your partner. Leading up to the date, send each other messages with words of excitement for your time together, and when you’re together, put your phone down. Focus on each other and be in the moment. Connect emotionally, physically and mentally during this time.

Maintaining a strong and deeply woven bond with your partner not only demonstrates a healthy relationship to your child(ren), it also provides for a solid foundation for you to continue building your relationship on.

– Sara Aloimonos is a life coach and functional nutritionist based in Yellowknife.

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