I've been reading a book about the relationships between brothers and sisters and how they effect your life. For the past few decades, most psychological studies have focused on the parental role being the most influential to our general make-up. This book argues that siblings influence our personality, our friendships, and even our marriages to an equal degree.
There are several factors here that I thought we quite interesting. Research suggests that if you have a sibling that is within 18 months of you, that the two of you hold a powerful connection. Because you were each involved in the same childhood and adolescent experiences, it is probable that the two of you make up one perfect person. For example, if one of you is shy, the other would take responsibility to compensate, and therefore subconsciously be outgoing. If one of you is academic, the other would naturally explore other areas of interest. If one of you is laid back, the other becomes more aggressive. There is a leader, and a follower. An introvert and an extrovert. A type A and type B person. The two of you together would possess all the qualities of one perfect individual.
I look at my sister and I who are only 14 months apart, and I can see where part of this theory would hold true. But, on the other hand I can see holes as well. We are both responsible, friendly, and time conscious people. Although, while I am an aggressive person, she is more passive. She enjoys being with people, I don't mind being alone. She is a forgiver, I am a fighter. She is sensitive, I tend to be more unemotional.
This book also suggest that you chose a mate not based upon your parents, but upon your interaction with your siblings closest in age to you. For example, Sharon, and Erik are alike in many ways. I chose someone to marry that reminds me of my sister in the fact that he tends to be passive, laid back, outgoing, detailed, and forgiving. He generally lets me get my way, and so does she. (at least they let me think I'm in charge.) If I had a negative experience with my sibling, this theory suggest that I would have married someone opposite of her.
I am the oldest of the four children of our family, so according to this book, I have control issues. Ya think? I always want a say in what my siblings are doing. I always want to offer my advice, and share my "wise and experienced" opinion. I feel responsible for them. I celebrate their victories, and I share their pain.
One more interesting factor here is the relationships between siblings in regards to their parents. Research shows that after the death of the parents, siblings experience a natural separation. This theory says that parents are the common bond between siblings, and once they are gone, the relationships between us suffers.
After I read the first three chapters of this book, I called my brother who is ten years younger than me and told him I loved him, I called my sister who is one year younger than me and told her that I wanted to be intentional about having a relationship outside of our parents, and I called my sister who is six years younger than me and was deliberate about her filling me in on the teenage years I missed because I was away at college.
It has been a very enlightening book. I am trying to read this book with Holy Spirit being my filter. I understand that there are some things that don't apply to my family because we are each believers and have a personal relationship with Jesus.
All in all, I am blessed to have my siblings in my life. There is no one who makes me laugh like the three of them. There is no one who can frustrate me more than the three of them. There is no one who loves me as much as the three of them. I love sharing my life, my memories, and my experiences with them. We are tight. Sometimes too tight, because none of us hold back with negative comments...but we are the same with compliments. Sharonie, Banana, and Richie Rich...we are weird, and I love it!!!