Are you struggling with your marriage while raising twins? You are not alone. Our Twiniversity parents chimed in on their marriage struggles and solutions.
We recently posted a question from a mom of twins and asked for feedback from our Twiniversity Facebook community:
“So everyone knows the newborn phase is rough and can strain your relationship. Throw in twins and it's a whole other level. My husband and I have never fought so much. I'm sure he has his side of the story, but he gets on me for ‘not doing anything' (clean house, cook, etc). I feel like I'm in this alone sometimes and he helps when it's convenient. He is so stressed from no sleep, 3-month-old twins, and his job, but he has said some very hurtful things. I honestly don't know if we'll make it. Anyone else go through this? How did it work out for you guys?”
Read the marriage advice from our community of twin parents…
Not to worry momma. I think just about all of us have gone through this phase. My husband and I fought constantly for the first 6 months with lack of sleep. But once they got older and he got a better job, things got wonderful again. It's so hard being a first-time parent no matter what. But when you have two or more at a time, it's definitely a lot harder. Try to carve out some time for you and hubby if you can. Even if it's an hour of talking. Household chores can wait. Good luck! We have all been there!
1) If he thinks you are not doing anything, let him take care of the twins for a full day and see how much cleaning is possible. 2) We made a rule that what happens at night stays at night. We were nasty to each other when sleep deprived and getting up every 3 hours, the next morning we were always able to laugh at how ridiculous we were.
OMG, my husband and I have said some awful things to each other in the middle of the night, while in the sleep-deprived newborn twins stage. It is SO common. We were both just BEARS when we were tired. It forced us to really communicate like we never had before. We thought we were a good team before having twins. That was a rude awakening!
Make sure to talk these issues out and make a plan — but NOT in the middle of the night. Nothing good ever comes out of that! Now we have made it to the twins' 2nd birthday and although we sometimes have our setbacks, we are so much better about talking through our problems and finding solutions together.
What helped us was a realization that we spoke different love languages. I spoke quality time (of which I was getting NONE) and he was Acts of Service. He truly felt like I no longer loved him because I had let the house and myself go. In turn, he shut me out because he didn't feel loved. That meant that I wasn't feeling loved either, which made me depressed and less likely to do anything around the house. It was an awful spiral.
We pulled out of it by going to couple's counseling and making an effort to ensure that we each were “filling each other's love tank”. I highly recommend Gary Chapman's 5 Love Languages.
My twins are only 5 days old and I have divorced mine in my head so many times – LOL. Thanks for the honest post Mom, it's always good to know that I am not married to an alien!!
It is SO important to have your husband as a teammate in the early years! Remember this time will pass and it does get easier. Sending lots of luck and patience your way.
I feel your pain. If the twins are still in your room let hubby take turns to sleep in the other room. Not ideal for a couple but sleep is needed. Also, don't worry about the house being clean and just enjoy your babies. They grow too fast (mine just turned 3.)
As they get older the house gets messier so best get used to it just now. Your hubby needs to relax a bit LOL. The lack of sleep and stress causes the nasty tongue; I've done it myself. It does get easier though. Don't worry about cooking either, I lived on take out the first few months cause I just didn't have the energy or the momentum to cook.
Have him stay home with them by himself for a few hours and tell him you expect the dishes to be done or the laundry done…see if he gets anything done! Our house is so messy!!! It's so hard to find time to clean or cook with twins. I'd rather spend time loving them than cleaning — that's time I'll never get back.
My wife and I argued a lot after the twins because we were so exhausted. It's better now. She never said a word to me about cleaning though, probably because she knows I would kill her LOL!
We imposed a “3 Second Rule”. You must wait 3 seconds before replying to each other or before making any comments. It helps you re-evaluate what you're about to say and the tone of voice before you say it. It's actually saved quite a few snarky comments from me to him and vice versa. Yes, the 3 Second Rule: It's not just for food anymore.
When I was 33 weeks pregnant with my twins a fellow twin mummy who had been through it (and with an older singleton, as I have too) told me that my husband and I should basically write off anything we say to each other in that first year and wipe the slate clean. Couldn't have been better advice.
Recognize the hurtful words and resentment for what it is – sleep deprivation and stress. It will get better so don't give up on each other. Unfortunately, we will always take things out on those closest to us. But try and remind yourselves often that you are a team and that you have 2 beautiful babies together.
It won't always be this overwhelming and intense – different stresses for sure, but not as uniquely stressful as 2 newborns at once. Especially if they are your first children. And don't stress over the housework.
I've heard so much advice from people on how to improve one's relationship. Going on dates with your spouse, having a relaxed conversation over a glass of wine, going hiking together. You name it! But the problem is that we do not have any spare time for any of these!!! All I ever wanna do is sleep whenever I get a chance! I can sleep standing up, sitting down rocking a baby or two… It doesn't matter…
So my advice is stick to the routine with twins, try spending some quality time with your husband, and enjoy life in the moment without stressing out about the future. Kids grow up too fast and we are missing out on so many good things while fighting and arguing who the better parent is. We are a team now, so gotta act like one!
There should be a law, or at least a stipulation in marriage, that the first year of a child's life, no brash decisions be made. No separation, no walking out, but toughing through it together. I've heard of so many dads walking out and leaving the problem for someone else.
Women didn't plan on their bodies doubling in size and the mouths doubling to feed. I'm sure men have the strain of it too but that just it, it's not just one person's battle. Remember how amazing that you both were picked to be parents of twins. Superheroes don't have it easy and that's just what we all are, we're freaking superheroes.
When he does help, try not to step in when it sounds like he's having trouble or not doing things the way you want them done. I learned real quick that it makes them feel like you don't think they're doing it right or well enough. Let him do it his way. It's tough but within a few weeks of me letting go (aside from schedule…) things got better dramatically.
Remember to take time for yourselves. The housework can wait, it will get done and you will have to do it all over again the next week! I napped when my twins napped as I got up every couple of hours all night long. We never starved although we didn't have gourmet meals.
I accepted any and all help from family and friends. I did not entertain them, I went to sleep while they babysat or did laundry. You need to ask for help at this phase for your sanity. If you do not have family or friends nearby, hire a babysitter even if for a few hours to catch up on your sleep. It's amazing what a few hours of sleep will do for you and your good mood will impact your husband's too.
Do know that parents of multiples have a higher statistic for divorce and I think the stress is a huge part of it. So, relax and remember you two created those beautiful babies and you can do this. I won't say it gets easy as mine are in college now. I'm always changing gears. But you will get more sleep.
I'm going through this now. We had such a solid relationship and then the twins came and exhaustion and stress have taken over. We sat and had a long talk and decided that certain things could wait. Once we stopped stressing ourselves about the dishes, laundry, and cleaning always having to be done, things got better.
Make time for just you two, don't be afraid to leave the babies with a sitter for a few hours so you can have a date night or put them to bed or down for a nap and watch a movie together. We started doing shifts for a while at night, he'd stay up later until 11 to put the babies to bed after that feeding and I'd go to sleep around 9, then when they woke up at 3 I'd get up and he'd stay sleeping. It helped us both get a little bit more rest.
Helping when it's convenient is simply not acceptable – but it happens. You might invite him to GET IN THE BOAT and do his share. He could keep the children for a day to see exactly what you're dealing with? Letting you nap when he gets home can be helpful and him sleeping in the other room every other night might help him too.
Sometimes it works for you to go to bed when the babies do – he does the first-night feeding (so you can sleep) for a few hours straight then you do the later in the night feedings so he can sleep for work the next day. I used to doze on the sofa while I nursed the babies, then put them back to bed and go back to bed myself.
I will say you are doing the best you can. Babies are a huge change let alone two babies. Saying hurtful things to you isn't constructive and only makes you feel beat down. I agree with previous comments about seeing if someone could watch the kiddos for an hour or so.
I also agree with turning the reigns over to him and giving him first-hand experience with how much work babies are. Leaving my husband in charge at various stages of infancy left him humbled and appreciative of all that I do. Good luck and stay strong! Sometimes having a heart to heart with someone about how their hurtful words make you feel can make a huge difference too.
My husband is offering this advice: “Get your husband to be realistic about his expectations and cook some dinners for you. It will get easier so don't give up on your relationship.” Our twins are 4 now and it has been a team effort that's for sure. When I put too many things on the to-do list my husband tells me to be realistic and prioritize the things that have to be done. That first year is such hard work. We found that having a singleton after that (now turning two) was a breeze compared with baby twins.
You know, you should probably trust your gut. If you feel your relationship is rocky/in jeopardy, it wouldn't hurt to talk to someone. It could be a therapist, a minister, any trained third party who could mediate between the two of you. It would mean your wants/needs might have a better chance of being fulfilled. Sometimes, it just takes learning some new ways to cope to get through.
My husband was pretty good with that but we certainly had our moments (and still do, sometimes– our twins just turned one). As the twins get older it will become easier to get stuff done, but watching twins still requires a lot of energy, no matter the age.
Personally, I think your husband needs to shut and up and put up — aka, he needs to help with the cleaning and cooking and not just pitch in when convenient. My husband and I had to have a talk around the 3-4 month stage (which coincided with me going back to work) about just this. He couldn't come home and sit down on the couch with a beer without doing something first, aka washing bottles or helping prep/cook dinner or cleaning dinner dishes.
I think you and your husband need to have a similar conversation. You can't be expected to do everything, even if you are staying at home, and he can't not help you. Yes, it sucks and everyone is tired, but if you work together it will help make it better — for all of you!
I would definitely suggest calling up friends/family if you can to get some help during the day. There will come a turning point when you feel a lot more capable and in control but it takes awhile to adjust! My husband and I also worked out who did what tasks (like, he made bottles for the morning feeding and cleaned bottles at night) while I took care of the ones during the day and that helped.
It's very, very common. The first 6 months are the toughest. It does get better but in the heat of the moment try not to lose your cool. I know sometimes that is easier said than done but hold your tongue. Remember y'all got married for a reason. One thing we learned through our Catholic marriage prep class is that you love your spouse but will not always be IN love with your partner and that's normal. Many men go through a weird stage once a baby (or two) are born. Even if you already have kids. Once they are old enough for him to play with his attitude will change.