Place a clear bowl or jar in a prominent place where both of you can see it and deposit in it your suggestions. Keep pads of paper and pencils or pens handy. The husband should use one color of paper; the wife another. When the husband wants to tell his wife something, he writes a suggestion on his pad and drops it into the bowl.
And when the wife wants to give hubby a suggestion, she does the same. Some spouses--particularly men--think the suggestion bowl is too much of a crutch, but I talk them into trying it anyway because, the fact is, some of us simply can't look our mate in the eye and tell him or her what is on our mind. Some other tips to keep the middle-child marriage healthy include:. According to birth order studies, middle children and last borns rank right up there as potentially successful pairings for marriage.
The middle child, typically strong in negotiating and compromising, pairs up well with a socially outgoing baby of the family. And somewhat paradoxically, this kind of marriage has a high probability for good communication--sharing feelings and rolling with the punches. Yes, I know I said earlier that middle children tend to clam up and not share emotions, but the plus factor here is that middle children are not as threatened by babies of the family as they might be by meticulous exacting first borns.
So, the odds--and remember, all of these birth order pairing observations go by the odds--are good for decent communication. Here are some tips for making a fairly good blend even better:. I have already touched on how last borns can get into financial trouble in a marriage. They have a big problem with answering the metaphorical question, "Who is running the asylum?
Two last borns must put their heads together and decide who will pay the bills, who will do the shopping, who will cook and clean up, who will take charge of the social calendar, who cleans house, and who is point guard on disciplining the kids. Notice I said "point guard" for discipline, which suggests that Mom and Dad are a team, but that one of them may have to take the lead while the other one is backup. If last borns don't get a grip and make firm decisions on these practical matters, they can arrive in big-time trouble fast.
Babies of the family have a tendency to forget or assume their spouse was going to do what needed doing.
I thought you were going to! Last borns have a built-in tendency to pass the buck and blame to someone else, and who is handier than one's spouse? But if your spouse is last born, guess who's catching the buck and throwing it right back in your face? A counseling device I often use with couples is to sit them in chairs facing each other with their knees practically touching. Then they hold hands and talk about their problems. They have one rule: While one person speaks, the other cannot interrupt; and before replying, the one who has been listening has to "feed back" to the speaker's satisfaction everything that the speaker said.
Yes, this is a ponderous way to have a discussion. But it does wonders for helping spouses learn how to hear each other and understand what each other is saying. That last question might open up the door for practicing more active listening, as long as you avoid being defensive. And that brings us to the next tip:.
Now that I've touched on the so-called "best" and the statistically "not so hot" birth-order combinations for marriage, have I left you encouraged or discouraged? Maybe you're a bit puzzled because you're supposed to have a dandy marriage but things aren't going that well. Maybe you're indignant because you aren't considered a good match and you get along just fine, thank you!
So what does Leman know about anything? All of these discussions of which birth-order combinations make strong or weak marriages follow the same principle that I have been repeating and will continue to repeat throughout this book: When talking about birth order, all general statements are indicators, not rules. In other words, all these general guidelines are arrows, pointing in a certain direction, but that hardly means that the fate of your marriage has been decided by your birth orders.
And they aren't an excuse for saying, "Well, it's hopeless. We're both first borns and that means we're doomed to divorce. I know plenty of marriages where two first borns get along very nicely.
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My own first-born sister, Sally, is an example. She married first-born, Wes, a meticulous perfectionist who is a dentist. You would think that by now Sally and Wes would have picked each other to pieces, but not so.
How Your Birth Order Affects Your Romantic Relationships
They have built a great marriage around a common faith in God, a sense of balance, and plenty of hard work, and they have three super kids to show for it. So the good news remains the same. Birth order is never a final determinant of anything, only an indicator of problems and tensions that you may discover or create for yourselves. No matter what your birth order and that of your spouse, what counts is how you use your particular strengths and how you modify or deal with your particular weaknesses. There is no big mystery in making your marriage work, but it is always difficult.
Knowing birth-order characteristics of you and your mate is just one step toward learning how to get along and have a happy life together. Another important step is understanding each other's life-style. In the next chapter we'll talk about what happens when a man and a woman try to build a home and family by putting their individual really unique life-styles together. Do I find fault with what my mate wears, says, or does? When was the last time I gave my mate a special present for absolutely no particular reason except to say, "I love you"?
Speaking of "I love you," when was the last time I said those three little wonderful words to my mate? What is the one thing I know my mate would love to have me do? Am I planning to do it this week?
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Do we worship together? Or are we like too many couples who seem to have decided that God is like the Edsel, obsolete? Do I take the time to find out what my mate is really interested in? Do I take the time to understand the "ins and outs" of his or her favorite pastime or activity? Excerpt from "Chapter Eleven: Published by Fleming H. Revell, a division of Baker Book House Co.
Best-selling author, psychologist, humorist, and radio and television personality Kevin Leman believes your personality tendencies, your business savvy, your perspective on parenting, and your choice in a marriage partner are largely determined by birth order -- by whether you are the oldest, only, middle or youngest child. Buy the book by clicking here. The Christian Broadcasting Network. Stop "improving" on things your spouse does or says. To a perfectionist, this may be a real trick, but bite your tongue and do it anyway.
The New Testament compares the tongue to the bit in a horse's mouth or the rudder of a huge ship see James 3: This vivid metaphor says it all. The bit and the rudder control everything, and the tongue can literally determine the direction of your marriage. Stop "shouldering" your mate. For first-born perfectionists, criticism is second nature. Once you quit trying to jump high, you can stop asking your mate to do so as well. Define roles carefully to avoid arguments over control.
In other words, decide who does what. One spouse can do the shopping while the other pays the bills and balances the checking account. Help each other with assigned tasks and try to be considerate and aware of the other's responsibilities. If one spouse does the shopping, the other should not complain about the high grocery bill. I counseled one couple where the perfectionist, critical husband complained incessantly until his wife told him, "Okay, you shop this week.
How Your Birth Order Affects Your Romantic Relationships | Thought Catalog
Get rid of the we've got-to-do-it-my-way attitude. The old cliche applies: There is more than one way to skin a cat and your way is not necessarily best. One of the best sentences any first-born perfectionist can learn to say to his or her first-born spouse is: Let's try it your way. Some practical suggestions for first borns married to middles include: Make it a point to have regular recaps and discuss feelings and what is happening.
Do not let your spouse toss you a bone by saying, "Everything's fine.
If you are a middle child...
Make your spouse feel special. Remember that the middle-child husband or wife very likely did not grow up feeling special, so anything you do--small gifts, love notes, saying sincere little things he or she likes to hear--will touch the heart and strengthen your marriage. While the following applies to every birth order, it's especially good for the first-born husband of the middle-child wife to remember: Every day women ask in one way or another, "Do you really love me? Work on drawing out your middle-child spouse. Keep in mind that as a first born your natural inclination is to give the answer, solve the problem.
Instead, back off and ask, "What do you think? Middle borns are not only more perceptive, but they like the problem-solving role and smoothing a way for everyone. First Born Plus Last Born Equals Bliss Usually According to one study of three thousand families, the odds for a happy marriage increase a great deal when the first born hooks up with the last born. How Mama Bear Reformed Cubby Bear It may be a good rule of thumb to say any combination of first born and last born has a better chance for marital success than do other combinations, but success doesn't follow automatically.
Don't let the last-born spouse take advantage of you. Sande was gentle-spirited but firm. She started expecting me to be a leader in our home and take an active role in meeting responsibilities. At times, she reminded me of my high school English teacher--the one in whose class I never goofed off because I knew better. I even learned that changing diapers is not off-limits for a psychologist with a doctor's degree, and when our children started to arrive, I did my share of diapers, giving baths, and other baby care.
In short, Mama Bear taught Papa Bear that parenthood isn't woman's work. First borns prone to faultfinding must back off. If you want to find your last-born spouse's flaws, you certainly can because they are all over the place. Accept all the flaws you can or make gentle suggestions on how to correct them. And if you're the last born, remember not to flaunt your flaws in your first-born spouse's face. If you're a baby, remember others need the spotlight too. Last borns are notorious carrot-seekers as in, "Look at me, I'm performing--toss me a carrot. Last borns must remember they are not a one-man team.
Because they have that first-born spouse who is probably keeping things organized and running smoothly, last borns may go off on their impetuous own now and then--to buy something, schedule something, or just do something without letting their spouse know. Middle Plus Middle Can Equal a Muddle As we have seen, two married middle children will probably not communicate well.
Some other tips to keep the middle-child marriage healthy include: Build up each other's self-esteem. Middle children often have a poor to only fair self-image, so let each other know you appreciate the other's strengths and abilities. Be sure to make sincere comments, not obvious pat-on-the-head remarks designed to flatter or manipulate. Provide plenty of space for outside friendships.
Remember that as middle children you both are probably big on having friends and social acquaintances. Encourage each other to make these kind of contacts, but only with the same sex. I know it's the '90s, but my files and the files of thousands of other counselors are full of examples of affairs that started because one spouse had a "special friend" of the opposite sex. Do special things for each other.
I've already mentioned this, but it bears repeating: Middle children usually don't grow up feeling very special because they are squeezed and ignored. You don't have to spend a lot of time or money. If it seems like the oldest is smarter than their younger siblings, recent studies show this is actually the case. As it starts with the eldest and declines through the birth-order, the youngest is dealt the short stick in that department. The smallest insult can become far more than intended, and the youngest can even go so far as to overreact to an imagined slight. Defensiveness becomes a reflex response to conflict instead of constructive communication.
As parents become less hands on in their childrearing, the rules are often slacked by the time the youngest comes around. While this can lead to greater creativity, it can also breed irresponsibility as the parents simply clean up after the child and help them out of trouble, instead of putting in the work to teach them better habits. For the youngest in the family, this means behaving as the baby of the family. Nothing terrifies me more than being so close to someone and then watching them become a stranger again.
Who you should marry based on your birth order
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