I’m a Triplet Now…

My husband’s twin brother is visiting us right now (they recently had a birthday), so I’ve been thinking a lot about how him being a twin and me being an only child affects us.

My hubby likes to always have me right next to him, with some point of physical contact. I guess having his brother beside him in the womb for 9 months got him used to that. He actually, really loves to share, and he naturally thinks of others; when he buys himself a shirt, he also gets one for his brother and stashes it away until the next time they see each other. Sometimes he doesn’t speak in complete sentences. Why should he? His twin knows what he’s thinking. As an only child, I’m just about the complete opposite. I like my space, my food, and my purchases to be all mine. And I don’t speak in half sentences; instead, I often say nothing at all. 

These sorts of statements are often heard in our house:

“Come closer. You seem far away.”                         

“Honey, please give me some more room. I can’t turn over!”

“Here, try some of mine.”                                         “

No, you can’t have any of my ice cream.”

“Tell me what’s on your mind.”                                 

“Wait, what are you talking about?”

Now that I’m married to a twin, I’m sort of an honorary triplet. I’ve gained a brother, learned lots about sibling relationships, and gotten much better at sharing along the way.

I’m wondering what it’s like for other birth order combinations… How do a firstborn and a middle child interact, for example? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments!

 

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A New Way to Listen

A few weeks back I wrote about one of my anchors, my best friend, and how she helped me learn to communicate. See my earlier posts “The Anchor” and “Ms. Streisand was Right” for more details. Now I want to say a little something about another key relationship in my life- the one I have with my husband. This will be the first of many posts about him, I’m sure.

Before I got married, I figured I had developed into a pretty great communicator. I was like, “I’m sweet! I got this!” But a few weeks in I was like, “Wait a minute! Men are different! Communicating with them is hard! We fight more!” So I had to reassess and learn to share my side of things in a way that didn’t damage the relationship.

More importantly, I had to learn to listen to him. At first, when he would tell me that I had hurt his feelings, I would freak out, get defensive, take excessive blame. I would shut down and stop talking. Further down the line I realized that the only emotion I associated with men was anger, and I couldn’t deal with him expressing any of the others. I had to learn to face his disappointment, sadness, and insecurity head on, eyes open, and try to understand without judgment.

The first few times it was hard not to feel like my world was coming unmoored. I wanted him to always be strong, to always be the rock and allow me to be the emotional one. Our relationship got a whole lot better, however, when I just let him be vulnerable. Vulnerability can be excruciating, right? Seeing it in others and showing it in yourself- both are hard.

I guess what I’m saying is that from my bestie I learned to talk, but from my husband I have learned a new way to listen. I think I have more compassion for people because of it. I know all you great communicators out there are going, “Hello, obvious!” I’m just sayin’, some people like me just don’t get it right away. Slowly but surely, it’s getting easier to give myself  and my spouse permission to be vulnerable. Work in progress, of course. Always.