Photo: Corbin Gurkin
You love your fiancé for the strong, independent, sexy man that he is. But don't forget that this same adult man you love was raised, shaped and formed within in his family system. Though he hasn't lived under the same roof as his parents and siblings in years, those formative years as the oldest, middle, baby or only child impacts who he is and how he relates to you...
Marrying an oldest?
He got his parent's motherlode of attention — until his siblings showed up, that is. So he's got a strong core sense of self and is likely to be responsible, reliable, well-behaved and more on the careful, conservative or conventional side.
Marrying a middle child?
He can be cooperative, flexible and understanding. He's got great social skills, learned from a childhood of navigating and negotiating within his family structure. He's highly concerned with fairness; since he wasn't the golden-boy oldest nor the cute youngest, he had to figure out a way to get heard and stand out.
Marrying the baby of the family?
He's a charmer, a fun-lover. As the baby, he was made to feel special and entitled. Sure, that can be seen as a bit obnoxious, but it also gave him a strong sense of place in the world, emotional security, and a creative attitude toward life.
Marrying an only child?
He's verbal and mature, resourceful, creative and confident. What he missed out on, though, was the rough-and-tumble of living together, day-to-day. For you, who spent your childhood roughhousing with your siblings, it's second nature to share everything, have conflicts, make up and still love each other. For him, the concept of fighting and loving each other through it may have to be more of a learned behavior.
How can birth order play out in your marriage? Two firstborns will have to contend with a power struggle, both being accustomed to being #1. Two babies of the family may have a ball together, but a tougher time getting the nuts-and-bolts of daily life accomplished. A middle child, married to anyone, will be more sensitive to and value fairness in the relationship.
How about you? How does your birth order shape you, and how does it affect your relationship?
Allison Moir-Smith, MA, is a bridal counselor, creator of How Brides-To-Be REALLY Feel videos, and author of Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the "Happiest" Time of Her Life.