Let's face it, the early years of having kids can be hard on a relationship. Not to mention just how stressful the first year is adjusting to having twins, dealing with a crazy lack of sleep, fluctuating hormones, financial strains, and no time for self-care... This all adds up to a rough patch in a relationship. Some couples have a hard time dealing with stress together and they end up bickering, fighting, or drifting apart from each other. 

 

You don't have to throw in the towel on your relationship though. A rough patch doesn't mean it's over. It's normal for relationships to have ups and downs like a roller-coaster. That's why wedding vows often mention "through good times and bad".


If you both are willing to work through the hard times then it's worth taking steps to remember why you're together and find ways to enjoy each other. Here are 9 ways to strengthen your relationship:

 

1) Every day say 1 thing you each appreciate about the other. This will help get you both thinking about the good things and remembering why you’re in this together instead of focusing on all the stress. 

2) Hug for a minute a day. It’s easy to rush out the door or get home and have so much to do around the house that you and your partner forget to even hug or kiss. You may even go days (or longer) without! Did you know that hugging for a full minute can actually decrease your stress and improve your health? Hugging your partner for a full minute or until both of your bodies start to relax will not only help you feel connected, but will help you deal with the stress from the day. Take it from Harvard Health Publishing from March 2014 where they found decreased blood pressure with hugging. 

Find it here: Harvard Health article

3) 10 minutes to talk and connect even in front of the kids. Set rules for the kids to not interrupt and show how important your partnership is. This is great modeling for your kids to see how healthy communication between partners looks. So, they benefit and you and your partner all benefit. It’s a win-win-win!

4) Family walk or exercise together. It’s hard to find time for self-care let alone time for hobbies or activities with your partner, so why not do something as a family that you all can enjoy? Get out of the house together. This is different than going to a restaurant or movie because you will find more quiet space to start talking and connecting. 

5) Date night! I know, I know… You’ve heard this one several times before. If it were that easy, we all would be doing it. But even when it feels nearly impossible to leave the house without the kids, those are the times that we need it the most. Yes, it can be hard to find a trusty babysitter or to pay for a night out. You may have real barriers to making it happen, but there is always a way to problem solve. The important part is having some time for the two of you as a couple to look at each other and try to talk about anything that isn't parenting. If you come up empty with subjects to talk about then try a new activity together like painting, riding bikes, book club… You two need to feel like a couple (not just parents). 

6) Surprises! Ok, so this one may not be for everyone because some people truly have a bad reaction to surprises. Ultimately, it’s nice to be reminded that your partner is thinking of you with affection. This can be done in so many different ways like an unexpected love note, flowers, cooking a favorite meal or take out after a long day, bringing unexpected chocolate- who doesn't love a treat after a hectic day? It shows the other person that you are important and special to them. 

7) Do a hobby together. Think back to your dating days…. Was there something you both enjoyed doing together? Can you do that again? Even if you two never really had activities in common, you can think of some ideas together of things that you both would like to try. 

8) Show affection. It may sound too simple to achieve anything, but it really can make a difference in how connected a couple feels when they have been too busy to touch. Imagine now how you would feel if you two regularly hold hands, cuddle on the couch, kiss… It doesn’t have to be romantic and it doesn’t have to be all about sex. Look at the ways you both enjoy physical touch and add more of that into your daily routine. 

9) Travel or camp together. Yes! This really can be done. Ok, so it is stressful trying to prepare, pack and get going as a family. It may feel worse before it feels better. But once you've left on that trip it feels like a big relief to be away from the everyday work and be able to connect and enjoy time together. Plus you will inevitably have new experiences together and create lasting memories- even if it’s just to laugh about it later on and appreciate that you two got through a crazy trip!

 

As you can see, these are all great ways to strengthen your relationship even if you don’t have twins. Moving, a new career, or anything else that adds stress in the family can also be an opportunity to strengthen your relationship. 

 

Brought to you by fellow twin mom & maternal mental health specialist Lindsey Lowrance at Exploring Inner Peace. Lindsey is passionate about helping twin moms Go from Drained & Distracted to Powerful & Fulfilled! For more information & resources on surviving & thriving the twin life go to: www.exploringinnerpeace.com www.facebook.com/exploringinnerpeace 

© Lindsey Lowrance 2019- This article MAY be shared or reprinted as long as the information is unedited and the author bio, including contact information is printed along with the tips.