1. We avoid physical expressions of affection in front of the children, which I really bristled at at first. We were told it is painful for the children to see their parent with the other spouse and it is loving to spare them that pain. Talk about agape love in action. That one is HARD to do. We save it for behind closed doors or when they aren’t in eyesight.
@More Blessed - Can you share more be reasoning or why you chose to do that?
I understand it may be painful as a child to see that but I completely disagree with not showing any because of the value it actually does/doesn't demonstrate. I see not showing affection in front of the kids as seriously harmful to them because of what it models (or doesn't model). No affection/physical affections doesn't model good and loving affection in a healthy marriage.
First, I want our children (my adult boys and DW's teen girls) to see what a loving and affectionate, healthy couple should be like. My boys do not remember much, or maybe any of that, because my ex & I have been divorce for 50-70% of their lives AND their mom's 2nd marriage (ended after 3 yrs when DW & I got married) was at least emotionally and verbally abusive so they hated the guy. My bonus daughters never saw their dad be affectionate with their mom. (DW told me yesterday that her ex & her never kissed more than a peck in the morning. HUH? WOW!) She was married to him 15 yrs and the girls never saw/heard them disagree or show affection so the divorce was a shock to them. (The first strong disagreement we had after our engagement, the girls were afraid we were gonna break up. No, normal couples fight. Great couples & marriages disagree, fight fair, and work to a resolution, even co-creating a solution as necessary, in a healthy manner. This is why I'm ok with kids seeing parents have conflict and reconcile.)
Seeing affection between parents (whether biological or not), while it can/will "gross" all kids out, it models healthy, God-designed affection AND more importantly, especially in a blended family as well as in the early years, it brings stability and security to the family by showing parental love and the commitment & priority of the bio parent to the new spouse. This is HUGE because kids will catch a hesitation, lack of priority, disagreements between the couple and then the kids will avoid any commitment on their part because of the lack of it on the bio parent's part AND they will also naturally work to pit the bio parent against the step-parent.