A question I’ve been getting a lot is how on earth do you keep your marriage alive after you have twins?
Obviously Ben and I aren’t perfect.
We have flaws, we get into dumb arguments, he loads the dishwasher wrong and I let it go for 37 days and yell at him on the 38th day (like I said… we’re not perfect).
But we are committed to having a GOOD marriage. One day, these little babies of ours are going to fly the nest (??) and we will be left with each other…and we want to still enjoy each other’s company when that time comes.
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Did you know that there are studies out there that claim that marriage after twins has a higher divorce rate than marriage with singletons?
And, it makes sense.
Having twins, especially in that first year, your stress load is doubled. You may encounter money problems, sleep deprivation, and a whole slew of other issues.
My husband and I heard these statistics when we first found out we were expecting twins and we decided to take it very seriously. Not only were we about to have twins, but we also had a toddler!
Our oldest, Theo, was just barely two when Josie and Margo were born. We had 3 under 3 for an entire year. Ben and I knew it would take a lot of effort to keep our marriage stable, but were hopeful that if we were proactive, we would avoid things getting bad.
Was it easy? Not always.
Did we still have hard times? Duh.
Our twins are now 3.5, our singleton is 5.5, and we’re expecting baby number four in a few months! Our marriage is healthy and thriving and it was so worth all of the efforts we put in.
Sidenote: These tips work for all married couples with children, not just those with twins!
1) Acknowledge That You Aren’t Invincible
Divorce and broken marriages are possible for anyone. You are not invincible.
It may not seem like things could possibly ever go bad for you, and hopefully, they won’t.
However, it’s important to realize that it’s a possibility and fight for your marriage… before things go south.
It is possible for your marriage to end in divorce, or in a rut… however it is also possible to have a healthy, and thriving marriage.
One of these sneaks up on you, while one of them you have to work towards.
Work towards a happy marriage.
2) The First Year Doesn’t Count
I repeat. The first year is all about survival. It’s not the time for grand, romantic gestures and lavish gifts.
Establish this up-front and know that it’s OK! The time will come when you can get back to really focusing on each other.
That being said, don’t make any huge decisions in the first year, either. Maybe you can’t stand each other and don’t think you can possibly live in the same house any longer.
Persevere for at least a year. (That’s a cute little slogan, isn’t it?!)
Sleep deprivation and adjusting to family life with two babies will take a lot out of you. Not to mention, the risk for postpartum depression and escalated hormones.
Once you hit that year mark (or when things have settled down a little bit and you feel adjusted to life with twins), then you can discuss making big changes.
My advice, always, is to wait at least a year!
Related –> Tips for Surviving the First Year with Twins
Arguments happen with every single marriage, and that’s OK. It’s how you handle arguments that can really set the tone for your marriage.
I feel that Ben and I were honestly at one of the best places in our relationship during that first year with twins.
And it’s because we both acknowledged that were doing our best and were under an insane amount of pressure.
If I snapped at him, he didn’t hold it against me and didn’t snap back.
This, in turn, made me apologize immediately.
If he fell asleep on the couch instead of helping me fold laundry, instead of nagging at him for being lazy, I let him rest.
In turn, when he woke up, he’d make sure that I got to rest as well.
Basically, there are two things that will get you through arguments.
- Respond. With. Grace.
- Be the first to apologize.
Now that Ben and I are well out of survival mode, we need to work on still giving each other grace. We have higher expectations for each other, but the truth is, we’re still human. A little bit of grace can go a long way!
4) Pour Into Your Spouse
I know this post is supposed to be about getting the spark back, but let’s be real. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Pour into your spouse. Pamper them. Put them first. Give them what they need to help THEM thrive. Don’t do it in hopes that they will repay the favor, because that isn’t what it’s about.
However… if your spouse feels well-rested, refreshed, rejuvenated, and loved… chances are, they will then have the energy to pour into your relationship.
5) Love Languages Are SO Important
I truly don’t know how we’d be in such a stable spot if we didn’t know our love languages.
Don’t get me wrong, we have our highs and lows in our marriage, just as everyone else does. But when we have a low, we know how to get out of it.
I know that showing physical affection to Ben and building him up with words of affirmation will fill his love tank.
He knows that small gifts that show he was thinking of me, or helping me with a task will make me feel loved.
Knowing each other’s love language is crucial to a solid marriage. Let’s think about it for a minute… we’ve had a long week, and are both exhausted.
We collapse on the couch on Friday night, and Ben snuggles up to me. I zero percent want to be touched because I’ve been poked and prodded by children all day (I love them, but wouldn’t mind a bit more personal space some days!).
But I KNOW that holding his hand or cuddling with him is making HIM feel loved, so I do it anyways.
And, on the flip side… Ben knows that it isn’t something that’s going to make me feel super close to him and appreciates my efforts that much more.
He knows that while it’s filling up his love tank and making him feel close to me, it’s not doing the same for me.
He will also then let me sit and relax, and he will clean up the kitchen or offer to take the kids out for a few so I can get some work done over the weekend.
Buy your own copy of the 5 Love Languages <– here. There is a quiz in the book so you can find out your love languages! I highly recommend this book.
6) Compromise on Differences in Parenting
A big problem among couples with children is that they don’t always see eye to eye and agree on parenting methods.
Typically, there is one parent who is more laid back (*cough* my husband), and one who is more structured (*cough* me!).
This can obviously cause conflict. There have been times when Ben and I have disagreed on how to handle certain situations., but luckily have been able to resolve everything without a major problem.
Don’t Discuss it in the Moment
Example: You see your husband giving your twins a pacifier, and you are vehemently AGAINST pacifiers. Hold yourself back from running in and demanding to know what’s wrong with him for possibly thinking that a pacifier is OK.
(And husbands… if your wife DOES do this, remember that she is sleep deprived and flooded with postpartum hormones. Don’t take it personally, and respond with GRACE).
Take some time to think about WHY you are truly against the pacifier (or whatever else is going on that you’re against).
You can’t fully communicate to your spouse why you’re against something if you don’t know yourself.
I often feel like I need to really think through things so that I can articulate them well. Sometimes, I even write out notes so I don’t forget what I want to say.
Once you are clear on what’s going on, communicate it to your spouse. Explain the reasoning behind your stance.
Make sure to communicate with “I” statements, ask what they think about your point of view, and ask if they have any ideas
Listen and Respond
If your partner is communicating to you that something you’re doing is bothering them, LISTEN. It can be easy to feel attacked or like they’re nagging; just listen.
When you respond, here are a few key things to say.
- I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it bothered you.
- How can I help/what should I do in the future?
If it’s something that you feel really strongly about and don’t want to give up, you can then add “When I’m by myself with the babies, I can’t comfort them by breastfeeding the same way you can. The pacifier is the only thing that works. How about if I use it as a last resort?”
Obviously, you are the parent as well, and don’t have to ask for permission; however, if you know something is bothering your spouse, it’s respectful to communicate in this way.
Usually, if we follow all of these steps, (reflect, communicate, listen and respond), the issue is worked out.
If it’s not, then one or both of you will have to compromise.
Here’s what I have to say about that: we all have the “things” that are incredibly important to us and we don’t want to compromise on. That’s fine. But, you can’t have everything be your “thing.”
So when you’re compromising, consider how important the issue is to you. Is there something else that’s more important to you that you’d rather stand your ground on?
7) Establish Boundaries With Extended Family
Everyone in your family is going to have opinions on how you should raise your children.
There is nothing wrong with getting advice from your mom now and then, but ultimately, the decision on how to raise your children is between the parents.
Nothing can divide a married couple more than if they let their own parents (or other family members) become overly involved in their life.
It is good and healthy to establish boundaries.
Sometimes, one person will need more defined boundaries than others. Maybe you don’t have a problem with your mom coming over every day to help out with your twins, but your husband does.
It is essential that you respect that!
If you really feel as if you need the extra help and can’t survive without your mom coming over every day, discuss this and find ways that your husband can help
I can’t tell you how many times I see new mamas venting in facebook groups about their mother in law giving unsolicited advice, and their husband taking his mother’s side.
Once you are married, your husband our wife comes first. No. Matter. What.
8) Divide Household and Parenting Duties
I vividly remember a conversation Ben relayed to me that he’d had with a coworker, shortly before our twins were born.
Apparently, one of Ben’s coworkers was shocked that Ben was taking 2-weeks off (eye roll), and mentioned that his buddy went back to work after just a few days.
Ben was shocked and mentioned that he wanted to bond with the babies, support me, oh and THAT HE WOULD BE EXHAUSTED.
The guy’s response? That his buddy’s wife handled everything during the middle of the night so that he could be well-rested for work.
(Yes, this was coming from a single, childless man.)
Ben explained to him that 1. they were his babies, not just mine, 2. that it wasn’t fair or healthy for him to be well-rested at work if I was exhausted at home, responsible for the livelihood of our children, AND 3. feeding two newborns is a heck of a lot more challenging than feeding one newborn, and would require two people, especially in the beginning.
When you have two babies, it is all hands on deck, all the time.
Household and parenting duties should be divided fairly and evenly… even if one parent is working and one stays home.
9) Date Your Spouse
Date nights might look a little bit different, especially in the beginning.
It might be a Redbox, $5 bottle of wine, and peel and bake cookies.
We make at home date nights our JAM! Sometimes we get takeout and watch a movie after the kids are in bed.
Other nights we make fancy apps or fun desserts and do puzzles or play games. Sometimes we just make a hot beverage and sit on the couch and read together.
We aren’t the best at getting babysitters and going out on actual dates… although we keep talking about how important it is! However, my mom will take our kiddos overnight every other month or so. We go out on dates then, or go on trips together, which is one of our favorite things to do!
We also tried one of those date night in a box things. It was a great idea, but the box itself was a bit of a failure. Neither of us really liked it.
Do you remember when you were first dating? How did you feel about your husband then?
Look at old pictures and talk about the feelings you had for each other when you first started dating. This always makes me giddy and excited and get the sparks going!
11) Work on Yourself
Be honest with yourself. Everybody has room for improvement!
What are some things you can work on? Do you tend to be impatient? Nagging? Judgmental? Let your spouse know how you’re working to improve and ask for support and encouragement (which DOES NOT include pointing out when you aren’t successful in this area!)
Related –> Self-Care Activities for Busy Moms
Are you joyful? If you aren’t happy with yourself, it’s incredibly difficult to have a happy marriage.