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Understanding How Birth Order Impacts Your Marriage

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
June 24, 2022 6:00 am

Understanding How Birth Order Impacts Your Marriage

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 24, 2022 6:00 am

In this broadcast, Dr. Kevin Leman explains how birth order affects your relationships with your spouse, and offers advice on managing challenges in your marriage that stem from your placement in your family of origin.

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We come to marry outside of our birth order and that's a good thing because simply marrying outside your birth order increases the probability of success in American you're going to hear more from Dr. Kevin Lehman today on Focus on the Family, your host is focused president and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller. Every time Dr. Lehman's with this knocks it out of the park. His sense of humor. His stories is practical applications all make for a great conversation. He's known as the birth order guy and he has some strong insights on how the order in which you were born affect your personality is groundbreaking book the birth order really helps you better understand yourself and how birth order plays a role in who you are today were coming back to a program with Dr. Kevin Lehman about improving your marriage relationship. By knowing more about your birth order and your spouse's birth order. This was really fun and eye-opening it was and on previous programs. As we talked with Dr. Lehman about birth order and how it influences us as individuals and as parents. This is the first time we talked with him though about how that birth order affects the marriage relationship and Dr. Lehman is an internationally known psychologist radio and television personality, educator, speaker. He's written over 50 books on parenting, marriage and family living in were to pick up the conversation as he describes how he developed an interest in this concept well.

I was in the college classroom and I studied Ahmed Larry and psychologist.

Not that I expect anybody even know well for matter was, but he was he was a friend and a colleague of a guy named Sigmund Freud in Vienna and in public debate they found out they were very, very different people. For example, Freud would say you smoke cigarettes today because you were fixated at the oral stage of development on your mother's breast. Alfred Adler would say you smoke with your stupid I like them right off the bat, but I was sitting in a college classroom and my professor was talking about the firstborn child and he described the firstborn is organized doesn't like surprises reliable conscientious list maker and achiever is a right way to do things I said oh my goodness he just described my sister and then he went to the middle child opposite from the firstborn Hard to pin down plays offer would suburb up in the family mediator negotiator huge with loyalty and friendships and I thought oh my goodness just described my brother and that my brother was in a student like my older sister.

Okay, so he was the firstborn male. Let me point that out as well as the middle child support attributes yes and then he went to the baby and that was the clincher for me, attention getting fun-loving never met a stranger could sell dead rats for living well is one of my claims the same as I talk my way into Disney World now check this out. Not one tick, 29 don't tell Disney World hotline, won't I let's keep this a secret to Dante. Okay. Have you ever paid them back for that letter publicity) and that you really babies have the skill to sell dead rats were living in the business world. Your CEOs are your presidents, your accountants, your engineers are your firstborn children anything where technology pays off huge you're most likely to find the firstborn garage doors in the business world. Donald Trump, Steve Forbes, Bill Gates, Junior, and always a college dropout but the guy did pretty good middle child submittal children tend role differently than the rest of the flock babies charming could sell dead rats for living.

Like I said I got away with murder most likely to retain their pet name.

Her name might be Mary Lou, but everybody still called her Buffy you know so it's interesting to me how all these cops come out the same den and yet they're all unique mount today were having smaller families for lot of only children who are step cousins so to speak to the firstborn's there.

Everything we said the firstborn's are only put the word super in front of super conscientious super reliable super normal adult by age 7 insult lot of families like we we have five kids. We got an only child and that five how do you do that well is variables that affect birth order big age gap. For example setting around.

Let me ask you this question that that 8020 rule. Do you find that because some people say will that's not me I'm firstborn, but I act like a last point is, does that happen and how frequent is that happens all the time and the variables of birth order. You really have to understand the variables that you will grasp what were talking about today.

The variables are sex. Number 15 kids in the family.

One was a male there something special about one child in the family so that kid could be in the second, third, fourth and fifth position, and still have firstborn like qualities because it is his or her gender. Gender okay then you have age gaps five year age gap between same-sex kids. You would draw another line in the family so that's what splits off okay let let me ask about that.

So there's five kids in my family. I'm fifth born the last 106 years from my closest sister right there one year apart yes.

So what category within your firstborn son how you present, if not here John Fuller right boss. Well but are you the boss, you know, I know I got the title actually doing things the boss but you see what I'm saying. The gaps that slows things up.

Our youngest little Lauren is very creative and very detailed oriented, and she's the baby the family, but she's a functional only child. So again, only children to logarithms in their head at age 7 I mean they're advanced from the rest of us, but I would think.

Especially, you know my case I would say I'm average in those kind of discipline categories but on more extroverted.

I like the people, but that's the influence of the sisters above okay were always affected by what's above us in the family, not what's beneath this, let me say publicly thank you, Kim and D for that and think twins twins break up the birth order. If you want to pray for Special prayer.

Pray for the kid that follows law twins because the twins whether their fraternal or identical get an awful lot of attention so people who say I guy get let people all of this is nonbiblical and where you're located, okay. The original title on the birth order book when it went to rebel publishers with rubber bands and cardboard was able had it coming and the publisher sent Kevin you cannot have a title like that. I said I like it's got a nice family flavor about Jacob and Esau in a bowl of porridge. I mean there's a lot of things where brothers or sisters are diametrically different person now that gives this kind of a good background let's dial it up now when those firstborn's mental Barnes and last Barnes get older and now they're going to marry somebody that we often talk about how opposites attract. I think in our marriage counseling here similar what you experience Kevin you see that that 8020 rule usually applies. About 80% of us are attracted to people who are different from us talk about that magnetism and talk about how birth order plays into that attraction. Well, let's start with if both of us were the same. There be little use for one of us okay. Some opposites may have that thought opposites do attract.

I mean as a baby the family. I can tell you I married Mrs. Abington C.

Mrs. Abington of course is my name for my firstborn wife who loves restaurants with four and five forks is a right way to do things. She was color-coordinated at birth, I believe, but you know I can still remember as a young husband to be standing at that IL as she walked down the flower strewn aisle. We spent $29 for flowers on her wedding.

It was a big affair, and I remember looking at her little Daisy. She had to this day.

She hates daisies, but I didn't realize that underneath that bouquet was a rulebook and firstborn's tend to be the rule makers. Firstborn's are good.

It's spotting flaws. That's why they're good engineers and good accountants, astronauts, and outer space of the first 2321 firstborn to only children not on middle or baby insight so here I am baby the famine I knew nothing about birth are at that point very very little. I didn't realize that what happens in marriage is it when two people marry is not to its at least six how do you get that man because you marry your in-laws and we do reap the benefit of what happened in that family will you pay for it so it's not only your bride are your grooms birth order. But what kind of family did they come out of was your critical eye parent. There now.

We talked about age gaps. Gender we didn't mention physical handicaps or mental handicaps, but that's part of the variables, but a critical eye and that means a person who can spot a flawed 50 paces in the marriage. You got trouble because there can be a flawed picker that person is going to feel like their love women in particular who thrive on affection need to know that their husband has their back every moment of their life okay and many of us as men who aren't great wordsmiths but were great critics can take the spirit of a woman and just level with just a word or a look that was a majority of the relational component isn't. It is described that and it most men I wrote a book called smart women know when to say no and a contrast the controlling mail and the pleasing female is a very neurotic relationship like a moth to flame these people find each other out so there's opposites that attract that aren't good healthy marriages because one person does all the controlling and the other is beaten over the head like a baby seal. Let me ask you this. Some people are listening, thinking okay this sounds good. This sounds psychological and I get it.

Where is God in this whole thing. Why did he design us like this, there's only so many emotions that we can feel there's only so many attributes that we have.

There's only so many positions in birth order that you can be any puts that altogether. And then you're attracted to your spouse and yet in most marriages. You have to learn to be selfless is it fair to say that if you put Christ at the center of your relationship you can smooth out some of those rough edges well that's what you hear all over the Christian kingdom just put Christ at the center of your life. The problem is if you married woman who came out of a very dysfunctional family who didn't have a loving father number one she's got all kinds of issues with God because those are take a lot of sandpaper. She is even see God is a loving father. She sees him as the critical eyed person. She runs on guilt. Now I know I'm stepping on some toes when I say these words. Believe me, but we tend to in the kingdom of God come up with these little platitudes and so yes you want to rely on God for all things if anything is going to overcome this great dysfunction in the family is the love of Jesus Christ in one's life.

What I've learned is it takes people sometimes decades to get to that point when they really understand that the sin I want to commit next week. You know what Jim and John.

It's Artie forgiven. She got Jesus came to this earth to put an end to religion to put an end to religion start a religion you know it's all about a relationship. So yeah, I mean, I can tell you Idaho people make it without God in marriage.

If that's the question I know people do, but I don't how they do it because there's times when you're you have this intimate union with this person read one at either UPS and to a far-off land or kill him and Kevin. Let's get practical. Let's talk about those combinations and put some meat on the bounds of what we've talked about talk about to firstborn Sue Mary. Is that typical what percentage of the population with that represent not typical. We tend to nonspeaking generality agenda marry outside of our birth order and that's a good thing because simply marrying outside your birth order increases the probability of success in marriage so opposites attract really doubt I yeah now when you have firstborn's and firstborn's together. They spend a lifetime. It seems like shooting on each other. You should do this you should do that though the great improvers okay they see something it's out of place and immediately go over and straighten up. So what are some tools that you would recommend that they could do it better. Well, the division of labor is really important.

I'm a take care of this and you take care that I will report back in and trade notes. I was to limit my seminars where you were the first one women and I see all these hands go up. As I got a great suggestion for you have a wallpaper party and just invite your firstborn girlfriends to help you wallpaper room and here's my production by 11 o'clock in the morning, you have blood on the floor why because you have all these people who know exactly how I thought to be so your firstborn in your talk of your firstborn life okay now. A lot of times you might just say I listen this is what were going to do bingo. The hairs go up. I mean, the ears are back hey honey, I'd like to ask your opinion about something that I've really been struggling with now. The ears are open hearts open, you're on the right track.

So when you say put some meat on the bone here for us. Those are the kinds of things you learn to say to your bride or to your groom with her so many combinations Kevin we can cover them all that that let's go through a couple more talk about firstborn and middle born pretty good match. Why because middle children never had their way it anything.

No one ever said no middle child, honey. What do you think we should do. They were submerged by the firstborn Little Miss bossy little Miss Goody two shoes.

Mr. great student in school and emotional key. The baby the family that got away with murder.

So middle children will bit like going down the blood bank and find the universal donor is a go with about everything in a middle child is a good match for baby a middle child is a good match. A great match for either, and only or firstborn.

They add balance in a very natural way. They never had mom and dad in themselves.

They negotiated for everything ever had in life and are comfortable with.

So that's a good skill to bring into marriage, so hooray for the middle children.

They're the ones that keep peace right now, the peacemakers, they are let let's talk about the other, the oldest and the youngest well that's unnaturally good combination.

It really is firstborn and baby and only born and baby very good. I remember coming home from CBS television in New York and I said to Mrs. Abington.

I said you never said you like my spot or not. And she said oh you are good that that's what caused Bittner Sue, by the way, all your good so that just sets me up to say all right with the problem. Interest is the cool this is so embarrassing is like Jesus did. You have to blow your nose in your tie faces. People read your books they look up to your respective psychologist and there you are blowing your nose in front Harry Smith at CBS honey and I explained her I said the floor director was giving us the wrap okay.

I know Harry did not see that signal and so Harry went to ask a question that we are talking about birth order that day is a doctor. When we never got to your birth order what your birth order.

When the guys countdown with fingers.

You know I mean you got 10 seconds so I took my tie in thinking that I was blowing my nose and that this communicate that a baby the family would do anything for a cheap laugh about Mrs. Abington did not appreciate her husband's humor blessed her that way, but she straighten me up. Lots of times but I would tell you in reverse that a Saturday night dinner at our house starts on Thursday and I'm the one that helps lighten her up with things because she takes things way too seriously. Okay and she needs me to put it bluntly, and I think that's the message with the firstborn and the baby that we really need each other because the firstborn can be too perfectionistic. Remember perfection is slow suicide.

Is it possible for a child it's in the middle and mean Jean last born daughter, but she tends to have firstborn attributes of a bit of perfectionism is that typical it can happen all time. Once you get the large families again today at a large family is a family of four for Pete's sake, but you have those families that are 89 10 kids within the family. There's at least three subfamilies in all probability is the age grouping because of age grouping or the sex or some of those attributes. I think that's what made the birth order book so well over a million copies because everybody's got a birth order and everybody understands that all the cops came out of the den same Dan yet. They're very different. So let's also include some of the things we talked about firstborn Sue Mary and some things they can do intentionally to communicate better at talk to the other birth combos. How does last born in the middle child in a marriage. How do they communicate better. Well, last born's have to understand one thing that they're not the only person in the union and I'm here today.

That's what us babies are good at those times, I'm ashamed of how I think ashamed of how I act because it's so easy as a baby to think about only yourself center of the universe we practice what we call natural tithing and the Lehman family, which means if we see a need in someone's life. We can help meet that need. We do that, that's really good therapy for me just to give things to people without anything coming back and I think babies in particular have a harder time being a good husband or a good wife because they tend to be by their nature to self-centered and happy other people centered middle children are graded other people centered and that's why I mentioned earlier, middle children are tremendously loyal. They have friends outside of the family which is key outside of family usually if there's a kid that's ostracizing some way for the rest of the family are best guesses it's that middle child. So you learn to communicate like a youngest to a middle no one ever asked middle child. What you think. So you always want to be making sure that you're tapping into the feelings and ideas and concerns that your middle child, spouse has on the other hand, is a middle child. You have to understand this spouse needs a few fish thrown their weight like like you through a few fish to a seal in us little babies need strokes Kevin that is good advice.

Let me let me ask you this.

So many young people are waiting to get married so we have more twentysomething singles and thirtysomething singles. They'll hear this to thankfully there listening to Focus on the Family and I'm grateful for that and how they apply that I would think of firstborn applying what they've heard in the in the broadcasts that could take a real technical approach and begin their search for spouse and that could be the topic of discussion is a lesson that is such a good question for all of you who are looking for Mr. or Mrs. right.

Listen to what this old man has to say this one I get right to the heart of the matter does this person love God. If a person really loves God if they really love God, they're going to do what the Bible tells him to do and are gonna be a good husband and good wife.

You're already on first base. Now does this person you're marrying have a temper, all yellow flag. Big time. Now why would I pick him temper because temper equals control and that's why said all you parents are listening yeah kids who when they lose they throw temper attachments that you better deal with that stuff right up straight right now quickly and so it really gets back to does he love God does she love God does this person have a temper, and what's the relationship like between this woman you're gonna Mary and her father when he was abusive will get ready for a long road a tough road and that marriage okay but understand you have to understand, yes, but if it's like making a cake. Jim and one of my books.

I talked about daddy, attention deficit disorder is like making a cake if you make a kind that much of a cake maker for sure. If you make a cake leave out one major ingredient I got news for the cake is going to fall. It's not can be good cake now again I'm stepping on toes here because of a lot of women and men who have grown up in home where the critical eye rained and were put down your discouraged one encouraged you were just hammered and in fact, in many cases you will at least verbally abuse but sometimes physically abused. Think of a kind husband you need to have want to pray for something pray for a husband that's near superhuman because he's got it come around and just love you. He's a guy that needs not ever demand anything from you and just accept you so that you have a chance at loving this has been that you fall in love with when you reach for imperfection and understand how broken you are and I need this man. I need this woman in my life. That's the point we have the intimate connection to realize that this person loves you when you have morning breath he could kill a cockroach at 4 1/2 feet or whether you have a habit that drives up the winding that's what's great about just being thoroughly married and thoroughly connected but isn't it nice to know that God loves you despite all of your frailties that you know somebody like that was cool about marriage. I think that this person loves me in an intimate level and I can connect and and then there's not the performance dress. I think on the kids were creating adults are not rearing kids, you really rearing adults and that's what you give responsibly kids. That's why, don't let them run over you, but your training that son of that daughter to be a good husband and wife. When this was so wonderful. We have to especially again, I would say to the Christian community. We have to celebrate our differences and understand how to deal with the noise and the pain of being different.

So, Dr. Kevin Lehman author the book birth order.

Grateful all my pleasure, thanks. It's always good to have Dr. Kevin Lehman here at Focus on the Family and it's really interesting to think about how your birth order in your family of origin can impact you as you interact as a couple. It's interesting and I know with Jean and me and she's number 5/6 kids while I'm number five out of five that she's that last daughter.

She's more like the middle child negotiator type.

Trying to be the peacemaker, and I think my spontaneity kind of drives her crazy and I learned early in our marriage that I can't just say hey let's go do this or do that because Jean needs time to plan it and that's where the birth order finds that for Jean and me that you know Focus on the Family cares about you and your marriage should we want your relationship with your spouse to be thriving along with your relationship with Christ and we have so many resources to help you in that. That's one reason we created the Focus on the Family marriage assessment. It's an online tool, it's a quick little quiz you can take maybe five, six minutes long and you'll get immediate results that help you have some insights on how your succeeding in your relationship and maybe an area or to the needs a little bit of work. I was love that little couple areas to work out with him and put in another great place to start is to get a copy of the birth order book by Dr. Kevin Lehman is packed with solid insight and wisdom like you heard today and in fact when you make a monthly pledge today of any amount will send you a copy of the birth order book as our way of saying thank you for helping us support families like your own and you can commit to that monthly pledge we get that one time gift donation goes a long way to so join our support team ministry with Focus on the Family today donating your copy of the birth order book when you're online link in the show notes for call one 800 K and the word family on behalf of Jim Daly in the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. I was convinced that nothing can change what was going on in our marriage and I want to try anymore but my commitment to God, help me try one more time. We went to a hope restored marriage intensive and it was life-changing. The counselors created the safest environment we can imagine, so that let us really talk much different course now I believe we received a miracle that week received your free consultation. Hope restored.com


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