16 August 2011

7 Things You can do to Twin Proof Your Marriage

Going from a couple to a family with two crazy newborns is an incredibly stressful event.  Not to mention the chaos that the twins produce only gradually slows down over the course of the first year.  I wrote this article for my local Moms of Multiples club and thought it was high time to share it here!

Derek and I by no means have a perfect marriage.  There's always a rough spot, but in the early days (months) I think these 7 things saved our marriage from real trouble. Actually... some of them we need to get back into doing more often!  I hope they'll help you out too.

7 Things you can do to Protect your Marriage

Value your Marriage above your Multiples.
Caring for multiples (or any children) can be all consuming, especially for the wife.  The temptation to pour your life into these babies can force your marriage to the back burner.   Your babies will be in your home for about 18 years, that’s a short time that we need to utilize.  However, your marriage could last beyond those 18 years if you invest as much in it as you invest in your kiddos.  And as an added bonus, kids raised in families where the relationship between mom and dad is obviously valued feel more secure.
Make Date Night (or Morning) a Priority.
In those early months after the multiples arrive, we’re tempted to just go to bed early and neglect everything else.  But a marriage is too important to neglect.  Date night can be simple and inexpensive.  Some examples:
a.       While your mom or mother in law visits and sleeps in and the babies are back in bed after an early morning feeding, sneak out to Starbucks or IHOP. 
b.      Turn off the TV and play a game (cards, Scrabble, Sorry, even Candy Land).  You’ll be surprised how great the conversation can be.
c.       Snuggle up together on the couch and watch NCIS (or your favorite show).
d.      Spend first nap on Saturday morning cooking up 4 large meals (one casserole in the oven, one in the crock pot, one pot of soup, and something for dinner that night).  This gives you some time to talk and hang out as well takes care of the age old question “What’s for dinner?”  You’ll also have extra energy in the evenings because you can just defrost and heat dinner.
Extend Mercy.
When he makes a comment that gets under your skin, try to look at it from his point of view before letting your feelings get hurt.  You’re both exhausted from night feedings and hypersensitive. Give each other the benefit of the doubt.
Schedule Sex.
Let’s face it: women aren’t very interested in sex after the babies arrive, at least for a season.  It’s so hard to turn around from tired mom who didn’t even get a chance to shower that day to sexy vixen in the bedroom that night.  Scheduling sex might not seem romantic, but it’s incredibly freeing for both husband and wife.  He knows that he has something to look forward to and might even surprise you by being extra helpful on sex night or throughout the week (does the dishes without being asked so you can get a shower, etc.).  You’ll be able to mentally shift from mom to vixen and plan to get that shower at least one day a week.  And even if you both fall asleep before you’ve finished, your marriage will benefit. ;)
Don’t be a control freak.
You’ve been bathing the kiddos the same way for 3 months and hubby walks in to relieve you from the chore.  He forgets to wash behind their ears, puts them in a daytime diaper instead of the nighttime variety, and accidently puts your boy in his twin sisters’ PJs.  Or he tidies up the play room and you can’t find anything for days.  As mom’s we’re tempted to think that our way is best.  We try to train our husbands to do what we do exactly the way we do it.  And every time we say, “Honey, haven’t I told you before that you need to…” He feels disrespected.  He feels like you don’t appreciate what he’s trying to do.  Give dad the freedom to develop his own way of doing things and thank him for doing it.  I promise he’ll help out more and you’ll be less stressed out.
 Touch one another each day.
Hug each other.  Kiss good-bye.  Snuggle in bed.  Touch is so powerful: you know this from picking up the baby that instantly stops screaming. It’s the same with spouses.  Loving touch changes perspective.
Say Thank You.
Gratitude is powerful.  When your husband gets up and does a night feeding without you, when he takes out the garbage before you ask, when he goes to work at a job he hates everyday to support you, when he calls you beautiful even with your crazy postpartum body, simply say thank you.  Gratitude not only encourages and affirms your spouse, but it also changes your own perspective.  It’s impossible to feel anger or fear at the same time as expressing gratitude.  So when he drowns your Cactus Garden, say “Thank you for noticing my plants needed watering.”  Your anger level will reduce.  After all most of what we fight over is just stuff, it’s not that important.  But bolstering your husbands’ heart is that important.


Jessica said...

I so enjoyed this when you wrote it for our club. Thanks for sharing it again!

The Guddats said...

Great Post! And it's so true that our marriage has to come before the multiples. We love our children more effectively when we provide them with a stable, loving environment where mom and dad are committed to one another.

Annette W. said...

I think that is true for any parenting...though I'm working on my third now.

MY Derek and I also enjoy NCIS. We've been borrowing the dvds...since we got a late start.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this! I am due in dec/jan with twins and I am so thankful for this type of advice!