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Birth Order Affects Marriage Success

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Birth Order Effects

Did you know that birth order can affect your chances of having a successful marriage? There are particular birth order traits worth exploring. If you are the first-born child in your family, it may not be a good match for you to marry another first-born child. As the old saying goes, you can choose your friends (and who you marry), but you can’t choose your family. You certainly can't choose your birth order, but some characteristics are evident in the first-born child and marrying another first-born child may be a problem.

There is a wealth of information about personalities versus birth order. The most successful marriages are between the oldest sisters of brothers marrying the youngest brother of sisters. This makes a lot of sense when you think about it. The oldest sister has always taken care of her brothers, and the youngest brother has been taken care of by his sisters. It seems to me that the sister gets the short end of the stick, but I guess it works for her.

Of course, I never considered this concept. My husband and I are both firstborn children. Psychologists say that this combination is like “two sheep butting heads for territorial rights and that it is a bad match.” We do quite well as we have enormous trust in each other in almost all matters. That could be because we each had a previous failed marriage.

Kevin Leman, a family counselor and author of “The Birth Order Book”, states that the two oldest tend to be bossy, and they are the movers and shakers, the perfectionists of the world. This certainly can cause a stress effect in the marriage. I don't think that is me!

I think I may have had a few of those attitudes when I was younger, but I’m not too interested in moving and shaking the world around me anymore. I think in my particular case it would have been a bad match if my husband and I had married young. However, we are both remarried and have the same value systems, with good communication, which goes a long way toward compatibility.

Babies of Family or Only Child

The babies in the family tend to be the playful ones, who always got away with murder. According to Leman, they are often laid back and manipulative. He or she may be the last one to leave so the parents, which tends to create a dependency (with those traits spilling over into their marriage) as the parents are entering the empty nest syndrome. This certainly doesn't benefit the youngest child.

If you are an only child, then what do you do? Don’t marry another only child as they have the highest divorce rate. They are used to being the center of attention, and that can’t happen if they marry another only child. In general they do well in life as they matured more quickly without siblings. They may be very successful in life, but relationships may be another story.

Wedding Couple


Oldest Child - The Guinea Pigs

Basically our parents practiced on the first born, or the only child as they were the guinea pigs, and the parents were new at child rearing. When there is dysfunction in the home the oldest typically takes the biggest hit, as they are the closest emotionally to any of the dysfunction in the family. So, there is a lot of subjective consideration in this train of thought. Nothing is just black and white.

They are typically successful in life if they are raised in a healthy family environment. They sometimes take some responsibiIty for their younger siblings.

I always said I grew up with my oldest son, since I was only 19 when he was born after one year of marriage.

The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman



Middle Children

According to studies the best chance for a lasting marriage is for those that come from the middle of the pack. The middle child often struggles with identity issues, as they can’t be the first or the last. They are often the peacekeepers, and they typically fade into the woodwork when there are a lot of siblings.

In terms of marriage, they often get along well as they can let things roll off their back more easily. You are strengthening the probable success of a marriage when you marry the middle child. If two middle children marry they can usually roll with the flow, but sometimes they are secretive about how they really feel, which can cause problems.

Middle children sometimes work hard to surpass the success of their older siblings. The strength of the family unit and the amount of communication is paramount to predict the success of any child, middle or youngest. If you're the baby, the youngest child, you could end up being rebellious or you may want to surpass the success of the older children.

How Birth Order can Shape Your Personality

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To Summarize

Sometimes problems come up later in life, for instance, the older sister may seek more equality in the marriage. Birth order certainly is not a deal-breaker before marriage, but it is worth discussing before marriage. A marriage counselor can be very helpful if you aren't making progress on your own.

The birth order is something to think about, and you probably fit into one of those roles I briefly described. There are certainly a lot of one-parent homes, and a lot of dysfunctional homes, illness with parents or children, which are all factors that can affect the generalization for the average family.

My personal philosophy is to have good open communication, as you need to be friends. This may last for only a few months but hopefully will move into a deeper loving relationship. Friendship can strengthen a marriage to last a long time.



This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Robert Sacchi on December 29, 2019:

Thank you,

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 29, 2019:

Robert, The date is interesting but I agree that it is not something to base decisions on. Thanks for this comment.

Robert Sacchi on December 29, 2019:

It seems the data is interesting but not something to base individual decisions on.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 29, 2019:

Hi Robert, I do not really know if the second in line would step up and even though we can look at the most common behaviors not everyone is the same. Individuals sometimes do not fall into the assumed behaviors, which could be due to parenting styles. Thanks so much for commenting.

Robert Sacchi on December 28, 2019:

Interesting article. It does seem to lend itself to many corollaries. Does the first born leave the pack or is unable to take charge? This would seem to let it fall to the next in line to fill in the breach.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 02, 2013:

Divs, I am glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you so much for your comments.

Divs001 from Bangalore,India on April 01, 2013:

Pamela, this is really an interesting hub. In India people used to rely on astrology to find the best match. But never thought of the possibility that birth order has an effect on the marriage success.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 25, 2013:

Chris, I really enjoyed doing the research and writing this article. I am glad you enjoyed it also. I appreciate your comments.

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on February 25, 2013:

This is a fascinating concept, and a terrific hub, Pamela. It's an interesting aspect of compatibility that people should consider !

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2012:

Louis, Welcome to Hubpages. I will look for your new hub. My husband are both the oldest but we have a good relationship, but I can see where conflict can arise when both are the oldest. Thanks so much for your comments.

Louisa Rogers from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico on November 13, 2012:

Thanks so much for this! I love exploring the concept of birth order, and in my work as a leadership trainer/coach, I often see birth order as an issue in workplace dynamics. My dad was an oldest, my mother was the youngest-- worked for them. I'm married to the youngest of two, and by all accounts everyone doted on him. I'm a middle out of five, but I never "faded." My husband and I are very compatible: I just wrote a hub about our strategies for success, but it may not be posted yet. I'm a newbie here, one month old, getting the ropes down. Voted up. Thanks.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 10, 2012:

teachermum, Thank you so much for your comments.

Catherine from United Kingdom on June 10, 2012:

Really interesting article, I enjoyed reading! Voted up.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 02, 2012:

ucenna, Thank you so much for your comments.

uchenna on February 01, 2012:

am so much interested about who to marry not until i came across the birth order teaching.ithas really shape my life so greatlly thanks.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 29, 2011:

Treasuresofheaven, This is a topic that makes you think about yourself and others. Thanks for your comments.

Sima Ballinger from Michigan on January 28, 2011:

I have always been interested in the Birthing Order. Years ago I read a book on birthing order. I really like the way you layed this hub out. Very enjoyable read.

Guess me and my husband are in safe territory (both middle); he represents kinda of a first child, since there is a seven year age gap between he and his older bro. It had me think about many of my married friends.

Great writer and presentation.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 21, 2011:

Susan, I think this holds true in most families. Thanks for your comments.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on January 21, 2011:

Very interesting hub. It is true about the child in the family that is the baby. My youngest son is very manipulative and lazy lol. Really enjoyed reading this hub.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 16, 2011:

profsear, Thank you for your comment.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 01, 2010:

Loves to Read, I thought this was an interesting book but I can't vouch for the truth although some of it seems very logical. Thanks for your comment.

Loves To Read on September 01, 2010:

This is a very interesting study Pam and would take a fair bit of time to sit and take it all in. Working out the family order and testing the theory. As usual you have put in a lot of work to add yet another great hub to your list.

Love and Hugs

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 21, 2010:

Nancy, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you for your comment.

nancy_30 from Georgia on July 20, 2010:

Thanks for sharing this very interesting information. This is something I've never thought about before.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 18, 2010:

Steele, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. I appreciate your comments.

susan beck from drexel hill,pa on July 18, 2010:

I enjoyed your hub and believe there is much to this theory. As a soon-to-be-divorcee, I can support the notion firsthand that an only child should not marry an oldest child. Some of our problems could likely be traced to this factor as easily as any other. Thanks for an interesting an informative hub.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 13, 2010:

Support Med. Thanks for your comments.

Support Med. from Michigan on July 12, 2010:

This really is interesting. All I'll say is I'm middle and I guess good things come to those who wait, or it's destined for later in life. It's definitely something to think about. Voted-up/rated.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 11, 2010:

Amber, My mother and father were the same. At least you know why now! Thanks for your comment.

Amber Allen on July 11, 2010:

Hi Pamela

I really enjoyed reading this hub and all the comments it produced. Both I and my husband are first born and we both think the other is the stubbornest person we know!


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 08, 2010:

Lisa, You may be right about the adaptability of middle children. I think the traits have a lot to do with the way we are raised also. Thanks for your comments.

Lisa HW from Massachusetts on July 08, 2010:

I'm a divorced middle child. (LOL) I've always been really aware, though, of how the fact that I was married to a first-born/only son played a role in the marriage.

Maybe when you're a middle child you're a little more ready to dump the "established roles/places" set in childhood, and, instead, take on an "equal place" as an adult; but I've noticed that a lot of first-borns seem to have reason/need to hang onto that "Number 1" place they seem to have been accustomed to. (Based on my experience with first-borns - and no offense to first-borns I've never dealt with - I think first-borns ought to all marry each other. LOL

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 08, 2010:

I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comment.

Neha J from Delhi on July 07, 2010:

Interesting hub

Thanks for the information

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 07, 2010:

dawnM, Thank you for your comments.

Dawn Michael from THOUSAND OAKS on July 06, 2010:

interesting hub on birth order, I had no idea about the high divorce rate in only child to only child but it does make sense.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 06, 2010:

Habee, Not everyone has agreed with all of it because I think there are so many variables in life.I just wrote about the research as I thought it was fun to think about. Thanks for your comment.

Holle Abee from Georgia on July 05, 2010:

Interesting ideas, though I don't agree with all of them. Thumbs up!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 05, 2010:

Peggy, It's been almost 3 years and they are still madly in love. She is a precious daughter-in-law. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2010:

Forgot to mention...great photo of your son and daughter-in-law! Hope they have many happy years together!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 05, 2010:

Expand, I'm glad you enjoyed the article and thank you for the comments.

Denise, I think I read the book along time ago or one similar so I thought it would be an interesting topicv for a hub. Thank you so much for your comments.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on July 05, 2010:

Great Hub, Pamela. I read that book, by Leman, when I was writing a psych paper in my undergrad class on birth order. It is a very interersting topic. Well done.

ExpandYourMind from Midwest USA on July 04, 2010:

Very interesting, Pamela99. I'm a middle child, so there's hope for me, yet :)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 04, 2010:

Peggy, You're right that they are not always a meter of success. Different people are raised differently and certainly not all only children all spoiled rotten, but the results of the testing I think is more generalizations. Glad you picked the right guy. Thanks for your comments.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 04, 2010:

My husband is an only child and I am a first born one. We will be married 40 years this those meters of success are not always 100% accurate. However they are interesting!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 03, 2010:

Gals, I am glad that you enjoyed the hub and you both have great marriages without knowing these interesting facts.:) Thanks for your comments.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on July 03, 2010:

I was fascinated. I am a first born with a younger brother and my husband is the youngest with an older bbrother and sister. We work together very well I'm happy to say. I never thought about birth order in connection with marriage. Wonderful hub.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 03, 2010:

Janny, Thanks so much for your comments.

JannyC on July 02, 2010:

Well this is something that makes you go hmmm. Got me thinking now. Enjoyed this hub.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2010:

Lorie, Sounds like you did it right. Thanks for your comments.

Audry, It sounds like you did it right the first time. Thank you for your comments.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on July 02, 2010:

That must be so! I am an oldest and I married a youngest and it has worked for 35+ years...yeah me!! I guess then my middle boy Pat has a definite chance at it...only have to find him that girl first. Great hub, Pamela!

Laurel Rogers from Bishop, Ca on July 02, 2010:

Hi Pamela-I'm an only who married the youngest of seven. We're a grand pair and just celebrated our 21st anniversary. Give and take!

Great hub!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2010:

Sheila, I think you are right. At the very least it is something to discuss. Thanks for your comments.

sheila b. on July 02, 2010:

I enjoyed your hub and reading all of the comments, too. Though there are always variables, it's a good starting point for a couple who want to understand each other.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2010:

GPAGE, I think there is something to consider if you have 23 typical first born people. I am glad the hub gave you some things to consider. Thanks for your comment.

Prasetio, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. When are you going to tell us about this prospective bride? Just kidding. Thanks for your comments.

cosette, It is interesting to look at your family now and see the effects. My baby brother was spoiled and his marriage did not go well. Thanks for your comments.

cosette on July 02, 2010:

fascinating. i am a middle child, but the youngest daughter, so i relate to being the peacekeeper and being mellow BUT i was also spoiled by my father as i was the baby girl. my oldest brother was spoiled by my mom and got away with murder. well, not literally ;)

his life partner is an only child and their relationship is a very strong solid one. wow, so many factors beyond personality to consider. rating UP this hub.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on July 02, 2010:

Good perspective about marriage. As you know I am on the way, my friend. But I learn much from this hub. It open my eyes more and more. Thanks Pamela, I'll bookmark this one. Two thumbs up for you.

Prasetio :-)

GPAGE from California on July 02, 2010:

pamela...this is really interesting! Both of my longest relationships we have been "firstborns." There is and was always a struggle even after so many years. Especially when we are trying to still "move and shake!" I'm wondering about this have made me think! which is a good thing! Great article....thank you! G

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2010:

Nellieanna, I think you take this research with a grain of salt. Older children do tend to be a bit more independent I think as they have had more responsibility with the younger siblings. Thanks for your comment.

Dutchess, I would say in your case it worked! Middle children are suppose to be better at relationships but as I said there are many considerations when choosing a partner. The information did come from scientific research but sometimes I don't always trust that either. Thanks so much for your comment.

Sandy, I guess that just goes to show that different families handle things differently which of course makes the study irrelevant. I appreciate your comments.

peacefulparadox, As I understood the research I read an only child would be good with a middle child but my mother was an only child and my father a first born and they were married 57 years until he passed away. The main thing is not to marry another only child or one that was too spoiled and babied. Thanks for your comment.

peacefulparadox on July 02, 2010:

If one is an "only child", would he/she be considered first born or last born?

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin, USA on July 02, 2010:

Nice information. I read about these statics all the time. I suppose in more cases they are true. But not in my family.

The middle child in my family is immature, irresponsible and had a failed marriage. He also got away with everything.

The baby of the family was treated most harshly in the family, parents were extremely strict, had to grow up fast. Has been married to the same person since she was 19. He was also was the baby of the family and didn't get away with murder.

Duchess OBlunt on July 02, 2010:

This one made me rethink a lot of relationships. It might actually be a factor but I agree with Nellieanna. I wouldn't want to put this out there as a blanket guideline. It certainly is an interesting aspect that I never thought of before.

Me and Mine are both the second child. He is 2 or 4 and I am 2 of 5. Wonder what that says? We've been together almost 35 years.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on July 02, 2010:

Interesting, though I have some very strong reservations about blanket guidelines or prediction factors. Thanks for sharing the information, Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2010:

Carolina, I think that is pretty typical. Of course, I say that without knowing the details. I would have guessed you were a first born. Thanks for your comments.

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on July 02, 2010:

I was a first born, and my parents certainly learned a lot between the time I was born and my youngest brother was born-- no doubt about it!!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2010:

Geegee, Thank you for your comment.

Darlene, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. My mother did have a miscarriage but it was after I was born. I should have known you were the spoiled one girlfriend! Thanks so much for your comment.

bayoulady, It think you and your sister being closer together in age are pretty normal to have a closer relationship. Thanks for your comments.

bayoulady from Northern Louisiana,USA on July 01, 2010:

I'm the oldest of my siblings. Daddy always jokingly said I was their practice baby, that they got better with the next, quite an improvement with the third, and had it perfected by the (4th)last kid!

However, it is the second child and me that have hung around in our adult years the most ,living near our parents while the youngest two were gad-abouts. I've always thought it might be birth order.

super hub...rated up!

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on July 01, 2010:

Pamela, what a fun hub, I love this and it is so true, eventhough you don't fit the first child, maybe your Mom never told you about a miscarriage, have you ever thought about that. That generation never discussed such matters, I am the youngest and I was and still am a brat...Thumb up my dear pamela

geegee77 from The Lone Star State!! on July 01, 2010:

Very interesting hub:)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2010:

K9keystrokes, I felt like I wanted to do some more research in this area as it is very interesting. Thanks so much for your comments.

Cheeky Girl, Thank you for your comments.

Cassandra Mantis from UK and Nerujenia on July 01, 2010:

Some really useful and fascinating information here. I am an only child, so I better watch out! Heh! Great hub! Gonna bookmark this!

India Arnold from Northern, California on July 01, 2010:

My parents are the two 'youngest' who married young. If any example speaks to the proof in not having the 2-youngest children marry one another, my parents do. They managed 13 years out of shear stubourness, but these two were destined for divorce. They were too young (her 17 and him 18) to marry to begin with and then it was just a simple case of babies making babies. I think you hit on a huge topic here Pamela! Good hub, makes me want to read more...

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2010:

50 Caliber, I'm so glad you enjoyed the hub. It does give you something to think about I really appreciate your comments.

50 Caliber from Arizona on July 01, 2010:

Pamela, interesting to say the very least, you've written well a subject I had to read twice as it sparked thoughts of relatives, friends that I know well enough to know their birth order as well as myself. Me? I had a go at one and it failed, she was a first and I a middle. I wonder what it says about the birth order and her sleeping around, if there is a study that shows these tendencies as related to birth order? I relate her tendency to my being gone for the majority of the 8 years I served in the Marines, as I'm guilty as well. My next ended in a car wreck but a middle x two. I'll never know, but for nine years we were close friends as well as the R rated part :) I'm sure she would have had reservations about my current life style but I don't know that I would have wanted to do it under other circumstances as it would have been a different plane of reality I suppose. I do feel that there was evidence toward the laid back life of us both and she was quite patient with PTSD, very accepting. I'll have to study on the number of folks I know and their histories to call on the opinion, but it would be a small group study. Still interesting line of thought for the hammock :) thanks 50

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2010:

Anginwu, I agree that children or young adults in love are not going to be to open to the suggestion that the birth order won't work for them. It is something to think about however. Thanks for your comments.

drbj, I know birth order has been studied for many years as it was brought to my attention when my children were young. I appreciate your information and would probably enjoy Adler's work. Thanks for your comments.

Hello, I don't think there is anything that can assure a healthy marriage anymore but it is something to consider depending on your circumstances. Thanks for your comments.

Rev Lady, It is interesting and I always appreciate your comments. Thanks for stopping by. God Bless you.

RevLady from Lantana, Florida on July 01, 2010:

I have always found birth order psychology interesting. Stimulating read. Thank you Pam.

Forever His,

Hello, hello, from London, UK on July 01, 2010:

Very well written hub but I hate to say that to my mind I can't see any rules would make sure you would have good marriage. I can see all the points in it and it could have been sometimes a factor and I do agree that first born are more domineering than the following children.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on July 01, 2010:

Pamela - I have always been fascinated by birth order and learning where people fit into the birth constellation. Birth order affects more than marriage; it affects the formation of the individual's personality.

Alfred Adler, the Austrian psychologist, is credited with being the first to identify the importance of birth order in the 1920s.

If you would like to know more about the subject, you might like to read "Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler."

anglnwu on July 01, 2010:

Pamela, I enjoyed this hub very much. I agree with the observations. I'm a middle child and am used to being just one of them. I need to keep your advice in hand when my kids get old enough to marry--i'm checking out the birth order before i give them the ok. Of course, that's easier said than done. When you're in love, you're in love--birth order (say what?):)) Rated awesome!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2010:

POP, I'm glad to hear you did it right. Thanks for your comments.

breakfastpop on July 01, 2010:

I have always found this concept very interesting. I'm the baby of my family and my husband is the one and only child. it works!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2010:

Tom, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2010:

Billy, I appreciate your comments.

Tom Whitworth from Moundsville, WV on July 01, 2010:


Good hub. You have presented some interesting and thought provoking concepts here. It seems there is a great body of study behind these concepts.

I do think there is room for individual differences within the studies. It's most likely a statistical differentiation.

billyaustindillon on July 01, 2010:

Very interesting - I am first born in my family - I guess it is a good thing my wife was second born in hers. Very interesting on the only child and baby. That is very true when I think of people I have met over the years. Another very interesting hub Pamela.

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