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Birth order is defined as "the totality of your family's influence on your own personality."
I was browsing through books that I might want to read for fun this summer and found a couple related to birth order and how it can affect your marriage and relationships. A few years ago, I heard something about this topic and which birth order matches have the most success, so I thought I'd check a couple of books out and learn more about the topic. This last week I read The Birth Order Connection by Dr. Kevin Leman and this next week I will be reading The Birth Order Book of Love. Even though I've already found my spouse and don't plan on using these books to help me find the best match for me, I learned a lot about birth order and how to make different relationships work.
There is a huge difference in personality between a youngest child and an oldest child in a family, not only because they are unique individuals, but because they have different experiences within the same family. I can tell you from personal experience that my younger siblings didn't have to fight as hard as I did for some of the things that they wanted growing up. I can often be heard complaining that they had some privilege earlier in life than I did, that their curfews are different or that they should have to negotiate for things the same way that I did. The oldest child is usually the guinea pig and consequently may have more restrictions and less freedom. And the youngest child in comparison may seem to be able to get away with everything and also be a little spoiled.
My sister is the only one left at home now, so she gets away with nothing because my parent's full attention is on her. ;) hee hee
Spacing between siblings can have an affect on birth order personalities too. On Sunday, I was talking to Joe's family about birth order and told them that I couldn't decide what Joe's birth order really was. He's a middle child, but because of the gap between him and his older sisters and then he and his younger brother, he's in some ways the youngest and the oldest and maybe even an only to some extent. As I read about each position in the family, I could see bits of Joe in all of them, so I guess I'm just in trouble no matter what! ;)
I am a first born and the definition I found in the book fits me pretty perfectly. In The Birth Order Connection they talked about how different the bedroom of a first born and a last born will be and it made me giggle. My bedroom growing up was always pretty clean and organized. If there was (or is) clutter in my space, it was organized clutter and I knew exactly where everything was. My youngest sister moved into my room after I got married and now it looks the complete opposite. I walk in and feel so overwhelmed by the knick knacks, the chaos and the mess. If something in the house is ever lost like the phone, tape or a flashlight, we joke that it is probably somewhere in her "messy room". And even when her room is clean, it still feels like a disaster to me.
Something from the book that really stuck out to me is that while a first born might not be great at relaxing, they'll always know where things can be found. This is definitely the case in our relationship. I have the hardest time sitting and doing nothing, I always need to feel productive or have a project I'm working on. But like the book points out, I know where things are all the time, and when Joe can't remember where he's put keys or his wallet or his phone, I can tell him exactly where to look.
Because of our birth order, Joe might never completely understand why I have to clean up messes right before bed or schedule every hour of my time and I might not understand why he is so laid back and not in any rush to get things done like I think he should be. Understanding our birth order explains some of these quirks, why we are the way we are and how to make our relationship work better. I'm excited to read The Birth Order Book of Love and learn even more!
Where do you fall in your family?