Thursday, March 15, 2012

Marriage and Multiples: The Little Moments

Marriage and Multiples. There’s a topic that isn’t often discussed at marriage conferences and in marriage books. Sean and I have been to 4 or 5 marriage conferences since we got married, and we’ve read several marriage books between the two of us. There really isn’t much in there that focuses specifically on couples with multiple kids the same age. Hmm…we must be a niche market. J

Today we’ve managed to reach as many years of marriage as we have kids. It’s our 4th anniversary!

I remember what we did for our last anniversary. The kids were still in the NICU. We took the evening off from sitting in the hospital, used a Groupon that I bought prior to getting pregnant, and had some of the worst pizza ever. Then we hit the sale on Lean Cuisine meals at Price Chopper.

It was an interesting period of transition from being just a couple to having a big family. Even though we didn’t have our kids home yet, we still spent the majority of the evening talking about them. Back then, I didn’t think too much about the two of us going grocery shopping together, or jumping in the car on a whim to get milk shakes from Sonic at 11pm at night.

Now we have to be far more intentional about connecting with each other.

Divorce rates are high in our culture, and it is no surprise to hear about another celebrity couple breaking up or seeing a moving van outside of a neighbor's house. Sadly, divorce rates among Christian couples are high as well. I wish it was different, but the idea of giving up when life gets hard has permeated everywhere.

So this is the scenario: Boy meets Girl. Boy falls for Girl. Boy marries Girl….and then they pop out a set of multiples. Studies show that their chances of divorce are now 2-3 times higher than that of the average married couple.

Uh. Oh.

So where am I going with this cheery post on what is supposed to be a day of focusing on how happy we are to be married?

                          And no, we aren’t getting a divorce.

Sean and I have been through the wringer this year. It’s been tough. Really, really tough.  There have been times that one or both of us have wanted to walk out the front door and one time, one of us actually did. I’ve sat on the couch and wailed that I didn’t want to be a mom anymore. Sean has stood in the kitchen and felt utter failure.  The stress on our marriage has been incredible.

As I told a friend, having multiples has been the worst thing that has ever happened to our marriage and also the best thing that has ever happened to our marriage.

A marriage is a lot for two people to carry, and when you fill each person’s arms with a baby, well, there isn’t much left over for the marriage part.

That’s why we are fighting.  A lot.

And it’s not all bad. Yeah, we fight with each other, but we also fight for each other.  And we are blessed enough to have people in our lives who are helping us fight for our marriage as well.

We certainly don’t have it all figured out. But we have learned a few things over the last year.

One thing is that it’s the little moments that go a long way toward holding a marriage together.

The babies make a LOT of noise and requite a LOT of attention. There is no downtime with four infants in the house. The logistics and costs associated with hiring a babysitter and dinner out are cost prohibitive, and honestly we are just too tired most of the time to get all gussied up to leave the house.

So, we have taken to having little date moments at home. A couple of times, we’ve had cheesecake, wine, and a movie after they’ve gone to bed. Being curled up together on the couch reminds me of when we were dating and would watch Alias episode after Alias episode on DVD. (Btw, if I wasn’t married, I think I would be an awesome CIA agent! Yeah, it’s amazing what TV can convince us of, right?)

We’ve also had a mid-afternoon hot chocolate and popcorn break during the kids’ nap. The first time we did that, it was so weird! Sean looked at me and said, “Well, this is strange. The kids are asleep, and we aren’t!” It’s nice to have a little more energy than we did during the first three months they were home.

We are also big fans of free Redbox codes! A free Redbox code automatically means, “Date Night at Home!” If you sign up at, they will send you a free code once a month for a rental of your choice. Dish up a bowl of ice cream with that, and it’s a perfect evening together.

Yeah, we have to work a lot harder now that we have four roving kids who have definitely found their vocal cords. But our marriage is worth it. If we aren’t strong as a couple, then our family won’t be strong as a unit.

In many ways, we are a better, stronger couple because of our quadruplets.

We still screw up and hurt each other. We still get tired and cranky (mostly me. I get very cranky.) We still zonk out most nights when the kids go to sleep. But we do look for those moments that we can hang together and spend a few minutes on ourselves without having to leave home.


  1. Keeping the love "hot" and the anger "cool" is hard no matter how many kids you have... and no matter how many years of marriage. It is a spiritual battle - and it is a battle! Your greatest strength is the Lord... then being honest with supportive friends/family is good too! You are on the right track! :) Your authenticity is powerful - I will be praying! (Please pray for me too when you think of it!)

    1. Absolutely! The second we think we can do anything without God, that is the moment we will flounder. In the midst of the most stressful, hurt-filled moments, God is what holds a marriage together. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, and I will most certainly pray for you as well!

  2. I love this post, thank you for writing this. My husband and I are preparing ourselves, and our relationship, to welcome quads into our world soon. I know we'll be battling the exact same things and like you said, it will be so important that we fight *for* each other. I'll have to remember to do a similar post after the babies come home and encourage others who are in similar positions! The date moments at home sound like a fantastic idea, you guys keep it up!

    1. It is so hard to transition so quickly from two people to six, but it can be a blessing! Not everyday is pretty, but life, and marriage, can certainly be beautiful if you keep the focus on God and your partnership together. I'm praying for an easy, LONG pregnancy for you! Having quads is awesome! :)

      And definitely write that post after the babies come home. I'll probably need to read a reminder at that point!

  3. Love, love, love this post! Your honesty is inspiring. I have twins, and the first 2 years with the babies was so hard on or marriage. I finally feel, that in this third year, our marriage is getting back to normal again:). Thank you again!

    1. This year has been hard, but I love knowing that your third year was a little less difficult! I've been told that it does get easier on all fronts as time goes on. As much as I appreciate the growth from the hard times (mostly after the fact), I certainly won't turn down an easy period! :)

  4. I think of you all the time... I have 4 kids 5 and under and the youngest are 6 month old twins... many evenings when it is constant fussy, crying, chaos in our house I look at my husband and say... what about that sweet couple in town that has FOUR babies! We don't know how you do it... this post is perfect... tonight, pizza and march madness... thats our date night... though I'll probably be asleep by 9! haha! I keep telling myself everything is a phase and some day we will have every night free for dates and will miss the chaos and NOISE...but honestly just driving my car to a parking lot and taking a long nap sounds pretty good right now! :) Thanks for always posting "real" stuff... helps us all... even when we are only dealing with HALF what you go through!

    1. Oh my word! I tell myself the same thing, "someday, I'm going to miss the craziness!" I've already told my kids that they owe me grandchildren so that I can slow down and really enjoy every nuance of babyhood. :)

      Hey, four kids under five, including a set of twins, sounds hard to me! I think every one of us, whether we have singletons or multiples or a combination, have our own struggles and difficulties. It's always nice to connect to other women who understand that life can be a challenge.

      I hope your date night went well last night! My hubby brought me home a half Shamrock/half chocolate shake from McDonalds last night. LOVE those! And LOVE that he remembered exactly how I like them! Yay for the little things!! :)

    2. YEAH for awesome husbands!!! The other day we were talking about you (crazy about our word now talking over dinner about people we only know from blogs like they are our neighbor or something) "God only gives you what you can handle" We agreed that means God thinks you guys are mighty amazing people to bless you with 4 at once... He doesn't trust very many people that much! ;) Your kids are very very blessed!

  5. Finally commenting on this post since I always go back and read it in times of need and every time it makes me cry. This was the very first blog post Bob and I ever read from you and had us both in tears. I love this blog post. I know when a blog makes my husband cry, it must be a fantastic one.

    1. Thanks, Brianne! I took a long time to write it as I had to be okay (Sean too) with some vulnerability. But it's really close to my heart.

      This is the first part in a series. I've already written the 2nd part, and I hope to get that up in the next week or two. I would love to hear your thoughts on it once it goes up!


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