Birth order is one factor, an important factor, in determining
the nature of a marriage. It can help determine whether the
relationship will be difficult or harmonious, whether the
couple can work together, whether they can communicate with
each other and to what extent and how they will make decisions.

There are twenty-five types of marriage according to birth
order. Following is a thumbnail sketch of each of these

Only/Only - Two only children usually get along with
each other but often live in separate worlds together. At
home each may each do his/her own activities while leaving
the other alone. They do not pressure each other.In
communicating they tend to put their own content into each
others' words,and to expect each other to understand what
they say without having to spell it out. This may lead to
frustration but not usually conflict. If they come from
harmonious homes they can have a very good relationship.

Only/First - If you are an only child male, you can
make this a good relationship by understanding that the first
born is often vague about what she feels, wants or needs. By
paying close attention to her nonverbal communication, you
can orient yourself to her. Unless you pay attention to
nonverbal cues, this could be a difficult relationship for
you. You will be trying to satisfy her as you imagine she
wants rather than knowing her. . If you are a female only,
your relationship with a first born is likely to be
compatible. He will tend to rely on you for direction.

Only/Second - This is the most common marital
relationship with a fairly high rate of success. As an only
you find the second born's punctuality, reliability, loyalty
and perfectionism satisfying. You may have to get used to
constructive criticism which a second born may give. Instead
of getting compliments, you'll get suggestions for
improvement. Also, since second borns typically do not
express emotion freely you may feel disconnected.

Only/Third - You may be able to connect with the
third born emotionally because they tend to be empathetic,
sympathetic and caring. This relationship may be uncomfortable
for you if your partner is given to unpredictable behavior,
as many third borns are. They may also be insistent on
correcting personal faults of your's such as smoking,
working late or not being sympathetic enough with the
children. You may provoke jealousy in the third born when
you relate to others of the opposite sex.

Only/Fourth - This relationship is great in the
friendship/courtship stage. The fourth born is attentive,
supportive, caring and understanding.Fourth borns can be
exceedingly charming. After marriage the relationship can
continue to be good unless the fourth born harbors anger
from the past.In that case, you could be entering an abusive

First/Only - This is a compatible relationship if you
are male. You will probably enjoy your partner's expressions
of feeling, her clarity about what she wants and her allowing
you to do what you want. On the other hand, if you are female
you could find the only to be exasperating. You would
probably not get heard, or be misinterpreted by him. He would
do thing she thought would please you, but which do not fit
what you want. In this case, professional counseling may
help you to have a good relationship. However, this
relationship does not usually have overt conflict but rather
inner pain in both.

First/First - This is a relationship which seems to
rarely happen. First borns tend to walk away from each other
due to inability to connect. If they were to be married to
each other, they would tend to seek good feelings from other
people rather than each other. However, this relationship
would not have abuse or conflict, but rather a feeling of
boredom, of obligation toward each other, and of being out
of touch with each other.

First/Second - This relationship seems to be rare
because first borns tend to find second borns to be scary.
In relationship, the first born tends to be at the mercy of
the second born psychologically. You may feel the need to be
cautious around the second born for fear of offending
him/her, which would keep you from relating in depth.
However, because of the scariness of the second born, he/she
may appear attractive to you. If you are female, you are
more likely than a male first born to be compatible with a
second born.

First/Third - This relationship can be good if you
can enjoy being challenged emotionally. You would probably
discover the third born having the upper hand psychologically.
If the third born harbors anger from the past you could find
yourself at the brunt of it. If you exert emotional force in
the relationship you will probably find your partner getting

First/Fourth - The quality of this relationship
depends on whether your fourth born partner carries anger.
Your partner has the upper hand in this relationship, being
able to manipulate you. You may be at a loss in communicating
with this person, never knowing what the reaction will be.
You may be tempted to use emotional force in the relationship
but the result could be retaliation in an unexpected form.
However, this relationship does not tend to be abusive.

Second/Only - This is the most common marital
relationship. It starts with a mutual attraction, with the
second born being attracted to the only's free expression
of emotion (which may become irritating in marriage),
talkativeness (onlies like to give all the details) and the
only's desire to organize. This relationship is usually
compatible. Unless there are other issues which cause
problems, these relationships tend to endure.

Second/First - This can be a good relationship if
both come from happy backgrounds. However, you would
probably not find the average first born to be interesting
enough. It would appear to you that the first born is unable
to respond to you, especially to your humor. It might be
difficult to connect with this person. However, know that
in about one/third of families the oldest child is an only
child psychologically. You would be drawn to this person.

Second/Second - This is a compatible relationship in
which the perfectionistic tendencies of both partners are
reinforced by the other. The relationship would have a
lasting quality to it. This relationship usually would not
challenge you emotionally. In fact, this relationship tends
to minimize emotions. Perhaps that's a plus!

Second/Third - This relationship can be good if you
enjoy the spontaneity of the third born. Even though you are
perfectionistic, if you do not require this of your partner
you will probably get along well. You will find that the
third born has the upper hand psychologically, so you want
to be sure he/she is not carrying anger from childhood or
previous relationships. You could find the third born
challenging your sense of discipline, your emphasis on the
rational rather than emotional and your attention to detail.

Second/Fourth - This relationship can be good if the
fourth born is free of anger. You would share on the rational
level, and the fourth born could make life enjoyable for you.
However, if the fourth born carries anger, this could be a
miserable relationship for you. Your partner would have the
upper hand over you psychologically, leaving you feeling
helpless. Even when difficult, this relationship does not
usually become abusive.

Third/Only - This is a fairly common marital
relationship. You would find it easy to please this person,
and you would like the emotional expression in response to
what you do. However, your spontaneity may wear on your
partner who may want life to be predictable, orderly and
consistent. In conflict, you may be unable to get through
to this person the way you wish- you may think you understand
your partner, but on a gut level you do not.

Third/First - You may be attracted to the first born
who seems to have long range dreams. You may wish to help
achieve those dreams, only to find the first born does not
pursue them with the vigor that you would like. Your
suggestions, ideas and plans do not turn the first born on
after awhile. However, the first born usually reacts passively
rather than aggressively,and you might like a more active
response. This relationship does not usually have much overt

Third/Second - The quality of this relationship
depends on the quality of the upbringing of both. Your humor,
easy going ways, and acceptance of less than perfection
tends to stress out the second born. Your tendency to
communicate the bottom line rather than give details is
unsatisfying to a second born partner. Also, you have the
upper hand psychologically in this relationship. If there is
marital discord, the second born tends to have the worst of

Third/Third - This appears to be the most compatible
of relationships. Two third borns work to please each other,
understand each other and overlook each others'
idiosyncrasies. If there are difficulties, they are usually
caused by one or the other bringing children into the
relationship. In defending his or her children a third born
may attack the other emotionally. Third born couples who have
children together tend to overprotect their children.

Third/Fourth - This can be a good relationship in
which the fourth born is stimulating to you. In this
relationship, you may experience the fourth born as having
the upper hand psychologically. You may find yourself
working hard to please this person, and being surprised
by the unpredictable responses you get. The fourth born
can be an exciting person to you. However, a fourth born
carrying anger would be very difficult in a relationship.

Fourth/Only - This can be a good relationship if you
realize that you do not understand onlies. This can be a
relationship of discovery as you learn how the only child
mind works. However, if you enter into the relationship
thinking that you understand the only as well as you
understand other birth orders, you may find yourself getting
angry at this person who seems so unreasonable to you.

Fourth/First - This can be a good relationship if you
are willing to take leadership. The first born is out of
touch with his/her own feelings, thoughts, and wants. If you
accept this, then you can help provide direction for the
relationship. If you are offended, thinking the first born
is being evasive, you will have a difficult time in the

Fourth/Second - In this relationship, you have the
upper hand psychologically. This can be a good relationship
if you recognize the second born need for harmony, antipathy
to anger and need for structure based on defined rules. The
drawback for you may be that the second born does not
understand how your mind works.

Fourth/Third - This can be a good relationship if you
recognize the third born need to feel safe. You need to
contribute to the feeling of security by being open, honest
and trustworthy. Manipulating the third born can be
threatening to him/her. If you are open, a third born will
usually be caring, empathetic and supportive.

Fourth/Fourth - This is a compatible relationship,
involving two people who resonate with each other. If both
are open with each other, they can relate well. There is a
need to continue relating when things get difficult in order
to overcome the fourth born tendency to withdraw rather than
engage when there is trouble.

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