Is it harder for older sisters to get married? Yes, I think it is. Birth order does matter; older children just have different pressures and experiences than their younger siblings, and this can influence their love lives. Especially this holiday season I’ve seen more Google searches that lead older sisters to my article “My Younger Sister is Getting Married, and I’m Still Single” that I wrote two and a half years ago; now it is time to follow up that piece. What has happened with my love life? What have I learned since then?
Life updates: My love life has blossomed since I wrote that article, and I am now married to a wonderful man named Stephen (you can see wedding photos here: Our Silly Engagement Photos ). I marvel that people are still reading that article I wrote to help me cope and enjoy my younger sister’s wedding! My younger sister is still ahead of me by becoming a mother to a wonderful little guy and having another one on the way. I had to practice what I wrote again when my younger brother got engaged before me too, but I still got married before him, so I wasn’t the last child in our family to get married. Some lessons I’ve realized about how to help love grow include learning to relax, trusting God’s timing, and being willing to risk love.
Learning to Relax
I’ve learned that I’ve been pretty uptight for a lot of my life and sometimes not very fun and that is partly why I was single for so long! People who can relax and laugh at their failures around the opposite sex put off a welcoming presence that others want to be around. From my experience and from seeing other oldest daughters, there tends to be some fear of failing or having to be perfect. Since they don’t have a sister who learned how to date in front of them, they have to figure it out. Sometimes we older sisters take the challenge, but sometimes, like myself, dating seemed too scary, so I put it off until I was thirty. My younger sister was way more relaxed and the guys flocked to her. I thought she was just lucky for a long time, but relaxing and being welcoming had something to her success as well.
Learning to let down came to me through facing into my fears that made me tense and afraid. How did I start learning how to do that? It took years of learning to let love in—from God and from family and friends who showed me they cared about me even if I wasn’t perfect. Then I met Stephen, and he has liked and loved me even when I fail or get afraid again. Setting the record straight that I was worth being loved and pursued by a man had to come from God helping me get the lie out of my heart that I was not good enough. Guys flock to confidence, and insecurity pushes them far away. I wasn’t completely confident, but I learned to fake it until I made it and to know that pretty good was fine.
My husband’s patience and easy-going personality is a helpful contrast to my more structured and easily afraid tendencies; learning how to think differently from living life with a more relaxed person has helped so much. He hugs me, reassures me that I’m fine, and it sticking!
Trusting God’s Timing and Don’t Judge
God knew who I needed to marry; I wish I had met Stephen earlier, but when God had me meet him four years ago, my attitudes were not healthy enough yet to try, so I wrote him off as a “boring suburbanite” and so the whole journey took longer. (If you want to read more of the story, check it out here: Our Engagement Story). When I look back at the thread-thin connections of where Stephen and my paths crossed, it amazes me that we are together. Having judged Stephen, thought he wasn’t good enough for me, and then realizing that he was way above my league, taught me humility. Us, more type-A responsible older sisters sometimes judge people too quickly. Younger sisters tend to be more relaxed and open, and that attitude really helps with building a love connection. No one is perfect, so we have to settle in some areas about what we want; however, we should hold out for our top desires in a mate.
Being Willing to Risk Love
When guys were always flocking to my younger sister, it is easy to start believing that there is something was wrong with me, and that made it even harder to risk love. I had to lay down feeling rejected, and just try putting myself out in the dating world. Online dating helped me learn how to read “guy signals.” I had been so afraid before, I could hardly tell if a guy was just wanting to be friends or if he liked me. On online dating, if a guy is talking to you, that clearly means he is at least a little attracted to you. Getting clear signals and just practicing helped me grown in confidence with dating. Then I let myself relax and just try, and then when I reconnected with Stephen I knew how to show him I liked him, and it worked! We dated ten months, were engaged ten months, and now have been married for six months, and he gets better and better! I am so thankful I chose to risk letting love into my life. Life is mush messier now—I am having more of my stubborn and icky edges knocked off by Stephen, but it is so worth it.
Writing the article “My Younger Sister is Getting Married, and I’m Still Single” helped me process what I had been feeling and just enjoy my sister’s wedding, and I’m so thankful it has helped other older sisters wrestling with similar situations. Trusting God to guide me exactly where He wants me has been a challenge, but following Him lead me to Stephen and the life I’ve always wanted. Have hope—if you are asking God for a husband, let down, relax, try dating, and see what happens. Exciting times await in 2017.
(Wedding photo by Ryn Manby Photography.)