Romance is the topic of the month but perhaps not if you’re trudging through stepfamily struggles. I get that. Romance easily gets pushed out when we’re juggling the overwhelming emotions and hard-to-navigate circumstances in a blended family.

I love how God reminds us what’s important to Him, though, just when we need it. My husband and I recently relocated from out of state, and I’ve felt disconnected from him as he transitions to the demands of a new job. While watching a beautiful sunrise from our back deck one morning, God spoke to me about the value of romance in keeping a marriage alive during a distracted season–just as the beauty of a sunrise gives fresh energy to a mundane morning.

The vibrant colors and audacious beauty of the sky transformed the start of my day that cold winter morning. I considered how romance can do the same for a distracted marriage during a hard season.

Sunrises and Romance: 5 Parallels

We easily enjoy the beauty of a sunrise bursting over a snow-covered mountain or peeking above the waves at the beach. But we can also bask in the beauty of a colored sky through our window, giving fresh energy to the day as we prepare breakfast for our blended family or drive to work on a Monday morning.

Romance during a harried or overwhelmed season can have the same effects. We may be more likely to create a romantic evening when we celebrate important days or vacation with our spouse, but we can learn to capture the benefits of romance during the mundane of life.

God must consider it important to marriage, since He dedicated an entire book of scripture to romance in Solomon’s Song of Songs. Romantic moments can bring sparks to a dull day, but as we jaunt through stepfamily days, it’s not always easy to create those sparks.

Here are a few thoughts on how to romance your spouse while blending a family.

1. Make an intentional effort.

When was the last time you savored the beauty of a sunrise? Last week? Last year? Soaking in a sunrise doesn’t happen without effort. We have to get up early, find a good location to actually see it, and carve out a few extra minutes to gaze and consider the beauty of God’s creation.

Romance requires intentional effort too. If your stepfamily routine includes kids moving back and forth between two homes, there’s little time for more than a kiss in passing with your spouse. Romance won’t happen without some planning, like the stepcouple I learned about who actually schedules sex—now that’s planning!

Intentional effort for you might include early Saturday morning fun while the bedroom door is locked. Or a night away while the kids stay with grandma. But it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Get creative. Be intentional. Make romance a priority.

2. Look past the drama on cloudy days.

A sunrise on a cloudy day can offer surprising details of color. But the colors might be visible one moment and gone the next. Yet even when the clouds overshadow it, we know the sun is still there.

The messiness of stepfamily life creates clouds that obscure our vision—like a wilderness season that stretches longer than we want. Perhaps you’re grappling with expectations that haven’t come to pass, parenting a defiant child who hasn’t adjusted to the stepfamily, or managing feelings as an outsider in your stepparent role.

When the clouds overshadow your joy, go back to where you started. Love and romance can be resurrected when we remember what attracted us to our spouse in the beginning. Ask for God’s help to look past the drama, find the good in your spouse, and start again. Don’t let cloudy days obscure the beauty of your relationship.

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3. Feast on the benefits of yesterday’s romance.

Have you captured a snapshot in your mind of a beautiful sunrise and thought about it throughout the day, or even the next day? A beautiful sunrise doesn’t happen every day, but the vivid colors can remain vibrant in our mind long after.

Romance is similar. It’s not likely you’ll experience a romantic moment during blended-family life every day. Or even every other day. But you can feast on the benefits of yesterday’s romance in your mind. And a focus on gratitude for the blended family life you’re creating, even if it’s not perfect, can carry you through long days.

Take time to compliment your spouse for a job well done in parenting your child. Or managing a stressful situation with their former spouse. A grateful heart breeds contentment (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

4. Start your day the right way.

Sunrises only last a few minutes, but they’re a beautiful way to start your day. If you miss the moment, you won’t get another chance until tomorrow.

Romantic moments in blended families are no different. Before the hustle of the day starts, envelop your spouse in your arms, give them a quick kiss and let them know how much they mean to you. Start the day by saying, “I love you.” If you miss the fleeting moment first thing in the morning, there might not be another chance until the next day.

5. Celebrate God’s gift.

With the start of each day, God’s grace displays a sunrise bringing a new beginning, hope for another day, and beauty amidst the clouds. Some days offer more color, more drama, and more emotion, but His grace and mercy are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23-24).

Romantic love is a gift from God too—one that should be celebrated and enjoyed. Some days with our spouse include more color, more drama, more emotion. But romance offers beauty to a relationship in a way nothing else can. During a distracted stepfamily season, the beauty can be missed if we don’t look for it, anticipate it, and consider what it offers us.

How will you romance your spouse today? Maybe it’s reaching for his hand as you walk into a restaurant. Or a wink across the room while she helps your child with homework. Out of town trips and anniversary dates are great, but romance doesn’t have to be reserved for grandiose moments.

Offer a simple gesture of love every day. And watch the benefits of your efforts carry you through as you stay connected with your spouse and find renewed hope for the days ahead.

Copyright © 2021 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

Gayla Grace serves on staff with FamilyLife Blended® and is passionate about equipping blended families as a writer and a speaker. She holds a master’s degree in Psychology and Counseling and is the author of Stepparenting With Grace: A Devotional for Blended Families and co-author of Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul. Gayla and her husband, Randy, have been married since 1995 in a “his, hers, and ours” family. She is the mom to three young adult children and stepmom to two.