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“Honey, the kids…”

Kids. They have a tendency to steal attention away from everything else in the room. Whether it’s a cute toddler just learning how to walk down the aisle of a grocery store, or a temper-fueled child seated next to you in a restaurant, it doesn’t take much for kids to make their presence known.

But what happens when your kids continuously draw your attention away from your spouse?

Any marriage counselor out there will tell you that in order to keep your marriage strong, you have to put your spouse before your kids. Now that is a challenging concept in any marriage, but when you throw blended family dynamics into the mix it can seem nearly impossible. How do you prioritize your spouse over your kids, who in many cases have been in your life longer than your spouse has?

To help you out, here are 5 practical tips on how to make your spouse #1:

  1. Regroup every day.
    All it takes is 15 minutes. Whether you ask the kids to play by themselves after dinner or you wait until they’ve gone to bed, set aside a distraction-free time in every day to catch up with your spouse. Be sure to go deeper than bills and schedules – find out how they are feeling and what you can do to make their week better.
  2. Celebrate your spouse.
    Both in private and in front of the kids, let your spouse know how wonderful they are. Tell them the things you appreciate about them & brag on them to your kids.
  3. Do a bible study together.
    While family bible studies are great, it is so important for a couple to be rooted in the Word together. Find a couple’s Bible Study that fits your personalities and take the time to go through it together.
  4. Present a united front to your kids.
    This one is HUGE, especially in the context of a blended family. You must always make joint decisions and stand up for each other when your kids start complaining. Kids can sense division, and if you let that take root your marriage and family will suffer from it.
  5. Never stop dating!
    It’s so easy to let daily routines and tasks take over your relationship. Set aside a weekly date night to keep your romance kindled. The most important rule for these date nights is NO TALKING ABOUT KIDS OR BUSINESS. Try to get out of your normal environment and away from your typical routines. You don’t have to do anything expensive; f you can set up childcare, great! Go to IHOP for some coffee or take a drive in the country. If not, plan a movie night or a romantic living-room picnic for after the kids have gone to bed. Whatever you do, make it intentional. Un-interrupted quality time with your spouse will help keep the passion alive and keep your marriage as your #1 priority.

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