Many couples (women especially) have dreams about being blessed with twins. The birth of twins is one of those monumental life experiences that although becoming more common today than ever before – has a profound affect on nearly every single aspect of one’s life. Truth is, having one child is difficult enough. Having two at the same time can cause you to question everything that you ever thought to be true.
While women are dreaming about dressing two tiny infants in matching clothing – they are rarely if ever thinking about the time, effort, money, energy, and lifestyle changes that will occur due to the birth of twins. And since these changes affect the parents most directly, it is often the marital relationship that suffers most profoundly after the twins are born. Don’t be misled, twins are still a blessing. Twins are special in every single way. But the birth of twins can put a huge strain on a relationship, especially in the very beginning.
This article will help you to understand how having twins affects a marriage. According to a Married with Multiples, most marital relationships experience a great deal of strain in the first 12 months after a twin birth. The reasons are simple. Time. Twins, especially young twins take up a lot of time and energy. Two baths, two feedings, two diapers to change and two babies to nurse and care for on a 24/7 basis can cause parents to have little time or energy left over for one another. When you have two babies to tend to, the end of the day rarely leaves mom and dad with the inclination for intimacy or talking because they are so completely wiped out that they just want to close their eyes and rest before the next round of care begins. This lack of time for one another – which is often common in singleton births on a reduced scale – can cause a rift in the relationship that most couples aren’t prepared for. Obviously, having children changes the priorities of the adult parents. (At least it should) And as the babies become the priority, the connection between the couple often suffers.
Another huge impact that twins have on a marriage is financial suffering. Formula, diapers, clothes for multiple children, daycare etc. is expensive when you are trying to keep two kids outfitted for life. Add some medical bills to the mix – and you can create a recipe for financial disaster. We all know that raising one child is expensive, but having two children to raise through infancy and babyhood is outrageous. Sadly, the financial impact of twins is not something that dissipates as soon as the little ones are out of diapers. For the remainder of your life, you will be trying to figure out how to send two kids to summer camp, to pay for two children to play travel ball and how to save for two college tuitions at exactly the same time. And this can cause stress in the relationship for obvious reasons. Financial concerns are often the number one problem that married people with twins or multiple births face.
Remember that two-bedroom house you purchased as a starter home? Just like that, your two bedrooms becomes one bedroom too small. And yes, it’s true that twins can share a room. But having two babies (or two children) in a home built for one can cause some storage and space issues. Many parents upon the news of having multiples run out and purchase a bigger home, which only adds to the financial pressures already presented. Truth is, children don’t need a large home to survive – but living in cramped quarters can test the marriage in more ways than one.
If you already had a child, and then got pregnant with twins – there is a good chance your vehicle will suddenly not be big enough to hold the family. Two car seats take up quite a bit of space. Add yet another major financial impact that will eventually affect the marriage.
Sex after twins can also be a bit tricky. The sheer fact that you have two children running around the home, and that you are literally wiped out from twin-induced fatigue can mean that your sex life will simmer on the back burner for a while. Plus, let’s face it! Deal with two kids all day long and all the bickering that ensues, and you pretty much have a built in form of birth control.
Another issue that arises from having twins between couples is the epic saga of ‘who does more?’ One parent will likely spend more time with the dynamic duo than the other will. Very often, because childcare is so expensive for twin babies, one parent decides to stay home from work which means that they are primarily responsible for the care of the twins. This parent very often feels overwhelmed and a tad resentful that they are the ones stuck with changing 16 diapers per day while the other parent is having grown up lunch meetings at work. This can cause quite a bit of friction in a relationship.
According to a report by Reuter’s health, parents of twins have a slightly higher risk of divorce than singleton parents. The report found that even financially stable, and well-adjusted adults who have twins endure so much emotional and financial stress from the birth that a happy marriage can be difficult. At the same time, parents of twins feel a completely unique bond with their co-parent, that parents of twins are 22 times more likely to enroll in couples counseling and parenting classes than their singleton parent counterparts.
Twins, just like the birth of any child – is a special occurrence within a marriage. The bottom line is that few people are ever truly prepared for just how much work, time and money it takes to raise a child – let alone raise a set of twins. The biggest factor in making sure that the twin birth strengthens rather than hampers the relationship, is to make sure that both parents are actively involved in the care of the twins from the beginning. Parents should also be proactive in making sure that they carve out a few hours of time per week for couple time so they don’t become so heavily inundated with the day to day to do list that accompanies twins that they forget to enjoy their children, or their partner.