When a Mister Steals Your Sister @everlypleasant at @YLCFIf someone had told me on September 25, 2011, that I looked like I had just lost my best friend, it wouldn’t have been true. But that’s the way I had thought of it in the weeks and months leading up to her wedding. When I was younger, the idea of my older sister getting married and moving out seemed like…well, the worst idea ever.

We are two years apart, and as extremely similar and extremely different as only sisters can be.  I knew that whenever she moved out, I’d have my own room for the first time in my life, but the thought of life without her around seemed not just terrible, but simply impossible. We had always been close, she had always been there for me; I couldn’t imagine life without her.

When she was eighteen, she and my (now) brother-in-law started dating. When she was twenty, he got down on one knee in our stable and asked her to be his wife. Later that year, after all of my agonizing anticipation, the day finally arrived. I waited outside the double doors of the church, sniffling away emotions and cold symptoms. The Maid Of Honor bouquet felt heavy in my sweaty hands. Relatives scurried past us and into their seats. Walking down the aisle, I wondered, “Am I running? Am I taking a painfully long time?” I haven’t watched the video to find out.

I’m almost certain I cried more than anyone else in the church, but the thing is — it wasn’t because I was sad. Yes, there was the pain that comes with waving good-bye to a good chapter in one’s life. Seeing her become someone’s wife reminded me that I’d never see her as a child again. Seeing my father place her hand in her husband’s hand…well, to describe it will only make me cry again! It was difficult, yes, but not at all like I had anticipated. There was no envy or resentment in my tears. There was very little sadness. Really, it was tears of awe that God had brought these two people together to make their time on earth that much richer.

During the wedding planning phase, I struggled with the idea a lot. I hated to think that the wedding was getting closer every day, while my sister seemed to love reminding everyone of the fact! I found myself dreading the wedding and avoiding conversations about the future. Really, my attitude was very un-Christ-like at times. It was an attitude of, “What’s in it for me?” Little did I know.

Because of this selfish attitude, I know I missed a lot of moments that could have drawn my sister and me even closer. I found myself thinking it was better for us to drift apart now rather than be torn apart when she married. But can I tell you an insider’s secret? Marriage is about unification, not separation.

I know that when someone close to you gets married, especially when you yourself are single, it can be hard to imagine it will do anything but damage your relationship. It can seem like your sister or friend is choosing a guy over you and the rest of the world. In a way, that’s true. She’s making a covenant to her husband, “forsaking all others.” But when a sister marries, she is really unifying two families. She is changing into a new role, for sure, but a girl who is deeply connected to her family could never fling off her past roles in one day.

When you truly love someone, you want what is best for them... @everlypleasant on @YLCFI used to tease my sister by singing the words of the showtune, “God help the mister, who gets between me and my sister!” But I’ve learned that sisters are sisters no matter what happens. I’ve also learned that when you truly love someone, you want what is best for them, even if it leaves you a little lonelier. I’ve learned that sometimes life is not about me. And I’ve survived.

On top of all that, I gained a brother-in-law, something God never owed me. And not just a brother-in-law, but a man of God who is lots of fun and an amazing cook! A man who looked across the table at me while I ate a grilled cheese sandwich and told me that the right guy will wait for me, no matter how long it takes. A man who continually prayed for me when I went through a difficult season. A man who makes me delicious lattes even though I don’t know how to order them and sends an extra cup of whipped cream along with them!

“What’s in it for me?” you ask.  More than I ever hoped for.

And? I didn’t lose my best friend: I just got to celebrate one of the happiest days of her life.

41 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness, your article was so helpful to me! My younger sister is dating the most incredible guy and I have been feeling all of these emotions and more. My sister and I are so close and I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster and know that I’ve hurt her with how I’ve reacted to it all. Your words captured everything that I am feeling and have given me a new direction and way to think. Thank you for your encouragement and honesty and pointing us all back to our Father and just how good He is!

  2. Thank you so much for writing this. I thought i was the only girl getting so much affected by my sister’s marriage. You have penned down my feeling in a beautiful way. I am really thankful to you for this amazing article.

  3. LAROCHELLE K says:

    Thank you for your article.

    I am the single older sister and my younger sister got married about a month ago.

    I read through all the comments and can honestly relate to every single one of the feelings that everyone has experienced.

    Before and after my sisters wedding there was a lot of feelings that I struggled with.

    I had prayed about all of this for a very long time and I accidentally came across this article today, this was just what I needed.

    I was feeling terrible because I felt like I was the only one that felt this way.

    After reading this article I feel much better and I will from now on trust the process and trust God.

    Thank you once again fornthe article

  4. My younger sister got engaged today. We are in our 40s! She was there to support me when I married 15 years ago, plus supported me through raising two kids. I always saw her as younger, and me wiser – only because I’m a few years older and have a family, so I thought.

    My sister is an amazing woman. She is way more fun than I. Ever since I found out her boyfriend was going to propose this week, I got weird. I got possessive. All of a sudden she is spending time with his family over Christmas. I hang on every text from her. I’m terrible. I don’t want to let her go, yet I am happy for her. I struggled today when I got her call. I felt like i didn’t seem genuinely happy for her after she shared her proposal. I’ve questioned myself all week long why the heck won’t this feeling go away!

    I googled the subject and found your article! Thank you for it. Now I know how she could’ve felt 15 years ago, and the reasons why I feel like this now. She’s an adult who is beginning her own lineage. I have to embrace this as she did for me. Your article really helped me see why this is so hard, and a graceful way of dealing with this.

    Thank you!

    Ginny R

  5. Adlien David says:

    This Acticle really helped me process through this season of my sister getting married. I struggled to deal with the change in our relationship but your perspective was challenging. Thank you

  6. This has helped me SO much, my sister is getting married in 2 weeks , it will be a civil wedding which I won’t attend since we’re not in the same country now, but she already has a date for the religious wedding which will be held in our country of birth and asked me to be her maid of honor. I have dealt with depression for two years now and my sister has always been my whole world, when I found out she was getting married I just felt sad, there wouldn’t be any more “you and me against everything” it would be more like “you and me -and Chris- against everything?” I needed to read something like this, I really needed it, thank you so much for sharing your experience. By the way, my sister is 22 and I really related to a lot of things you said, again thank you.

    1. Beverly,

      Thank you so much for your comment. It means a lot to me that you took the time to share. I am so thankful that this post resonated with you. It was a difficult post to write, but I am glad it has blessed others. You are being so brave to “let your sister go.” The world will tell you that you are both adults and no attachment can be as strong as “all that,” and you must be very dramatic, but I know how hard it can be. Sisters can and should have a very special relationship, and letting that relationship change drastically can be painful. Give this over to God. He knows exactly what to do with your broken heart. Give your sister and her husband to the Lord in prayer. Ask him to bless them and their marriage. And continue to have an open heart toward your sister. It sounds like you mean a lot to her. I am so glad you are able to stand with her as her Maid of Honor when she has her religious wedding. What a blessing! Most of all, remember that God has a great plan for YOU and never stops writing your story, never forgets the ending He dreamed up before time began.

      Best wishes,
      Caroline

  7. Emma boyd says:

    My sister got engaged tonight and I was really upset about it . She is 12 years older than me and has always been my best friend. My brother in laws parents flew in last night and I met them today. Sure, they are great people but I feel like I’m losing my sister. I want her to be happy! But I can’t seem to get over the fact things won’t ever be the same again. People try to tell me “oh but wait till your an aunt or oh your gainging a bigger family!” But the truth is I don’t want any of those things I just want my sister! When she came back from getting engaged we suprised her with her finances parents at our house. We all took pictures but I t was very awkward for me and I knew she could tell I was upset. I didn’t smile hardly at all. I feel bad about it. She came and tucked me in to bed and say with me but we just talked about future plans. I told her congratulate toons and she said” can you say it like you mean it??” I tried again and she giggled but then I just cried and cried. I don’t know what to do! A lot of my best friends are smashing I should be happy for her and I’m being ridiculous and that they would be happy. But I feel like they don’t understand. Maybe I am being stupid. What should I do?

    1. Emma,

      Thanks for writing! I don’t think you’re being stupid at all. These are totally normal, completely understandable feelings. Things ARE changing forever and it’s okay if that makes you said. Of course, you cannot be selfish and expect to keep your sister all to yourself forever, but you can feel sad to say goodbye to the season you are leaving. You are both growing up, just 12 years apart, and that always includes lots of changes. I still feel sad thinking about my childhood sometimes and how simple it was and how we all lived together and were happy. I hate that my brother lives so far away and I miss the relationship I used to have with my married sister, but we have a great, new kind of relationship now. You will grow and change and learn and things will be okay, but that doesn’t mean you are stupid for being a little upset right now. It’s all very new and it’s okay to be sad for now. Try to be brave and to be happy for your sister and let her know that even if you’re sad, you’re not mad! You can do it!

  8. KatherineJ says:

    Hi Everly
    This is a very moving post. I was searching on the Internet for help regarding when an older sister is in a serious relationship and I came across your blog. My sister and I are 8 years apart, but we are really close. She and her boyfriend seem like the real deal. I’ve been having a tough time coping with the jealousy and hard emotions. Even though I am still sad, your post helped me. It put the whole situation into a perspective that I’ve never thought about. I should be focusing more on the joy of a new chapter in our lives instead of the ending of the other. I’m pretty positive that they will get married and I want to do my part right. Do you have any advice that can help me prepare for this? I feel the need to be mature and strong, but I’m afraid that I’m pulling away too much.

    1. Katherine,

      Please forgive me for taking so long to respond. This is a touchy time for you and your sister and her boyfriend. I totally relate to your desire to “pull away” and keep a distance. In a sense, this can be wise. When two people decide to marry, they really must “leave and cleave” to an extent. That *does* change sibling relationship. But it doesn’t need to make you and your sister “less close.” What I mean is, you will be moving into a new, adult relationship with each other. She will be a different person, because her main person will be her husband, but you are still an important part of her life. The time will come when she needs sister time again, and that’s something a husband simply cannot offer!

      My advice would be to be honest with your sister, that you would use kind words (this is a lot of change for her too, I’d imagine!) and work to keep your relationship strong no matter what phase you enter together, or apart. Also, try to get to know her boyfriend. There’s a good chance he has the making of a new friend for you.

      Best wishes,
      Everly

      1. Katherine J says:

        Thank you for your kind words, Everly. I can’t begin to tell you how much of a help you’ve been to me. I’ve really appreciated your kind advice. I will take your advice to heart right away.
        I hope you had a pleasant Christmas and will have a blessed New Year.

  9. I can relate to every single word in this post. My sister will get married in less than a year. And I don’t know how to deal with this news. I get sad and angry when ever I think of it. I mean she is literally choosing a guy over a family who has been there for her throughout life.
    I feel like I should just start drifting off from her now to avoid any pain that I’m bound to feel later.

    1. Dishi,

      I am so sorry. I am sorry that your sister is making such a hurtful choice. I pray that, since commenting, you have heard some good news. I pray that your sister prioritizes precious family relationship and, if they choose to marry, you and your brother-in-law develop a friendship. Losing a sister to marriage can be so painful, but it can be such a good thing.

      Best wishes,
      Everly

    2. A sister in Christ says:

      So sorry to hear of this, Dishi. I have been through that… it hurts. Family is sooo important and should still matter a LOT even when a person gets married. Praying for you and your family. Stay true to God, most of all. He is always there for you even when your sister is not.

  10. I watched my little sister get married this weekend, and as her single older sister I am finding this extremely difficult, as finding someone to marry is something I really want. Your words, “when you truly love someone, you want what is best for them, even if it leaves you a little lonelier” really struck my heart. They are so true, and I am so thankful to have read them this morning. I am so very happy for my little sister, and over the moon excited for the new brother I have gained. I know I will struggle for awhile, and I will miss my sister terribly, but to know that she has found a Godly young man is something that I am so thankful for. Your post was was Godsend this morning, thank you!

    1. Oh Sara,
      I can imagine how difficult that would be. My older sister is still the only one of my siblings to marry, but I would not be at all surprised if one of my younger sisters (two of whom are just two and three years younger than I) married before me while I remain single. You seem to really love your sister and your brother-in-law and have a pure heart. God will take your desires for the happiness of your family and for your own happiness and weave them into his Good Plan. Praying for you this morning to have patience and courage and joy.

      Everly

  11. Hey, Everly. I just want to tell you that this article is really great. To be honest, I can totally feel what you feel, because I have always felt this way ever since I was a little kid, and this type of subject still haunts me. You got a point about the marriage thing: when your sibling gets married, you don’t lose your sibling; you gain one. Everly, most of the time, for some of us, it’s really hard to see it that way, since a lot of in laws, excluding yours, are selfish these days: they want everything to be theirs, and they try to stop you from seeing your family. As an aspiring Hollywood film producer, my film is almost as similar to you. If you want to hear about it, just ask me about it.

    Aaron

  12. Angie Murdock says:

    It’s a year later and your words practically jump off the screen just for me. My older sister by 3 years got married a week ago and I am finding it difficult to adjust. Here is a little bit of history and another reason I feel so lost. Our dear mom passed away 3 years ago and we had resolved from that point on we would be the only people we could really count on, so it was like “us” against he world. Well, to make a long story short she met someone & got married. I am very happy that she found someone who makes her happy but as I sit in my apartment all alone I just get so sad because we won’t do all the things that we loved so much anymore. She will now do those things with her new very best friend (her husband). It certainly feels like I’ve lost my best friend but I know that she’s still very much in my life. I know that it’s still so new but I miss her terribly. I’ve given myself this weekend to feel the sadness of her departure from the “sisterhood” and promised myself not to cry anymore after tomorrow. I was a little confused about my feelings but after reading your story I feel better in knowing I’m not a selfish brat for feeling this way as she’s an awesome human being & an amazing sister and friend. As for me, it’s time to find my own new and exciting adventures. Thank you so much for this website and sharing your story.

    1. Thank you so much, Angie. My sister is going to celebrate her second wedding anniversary this September and even just today I was feeling sorry for myself because SHE is married and I AM NOT. Haha. We always find something to pout about, yes? But the truth is, it can still be hard at times (as today was an example of.) I get lonely and miss her. I wish I had a man in my life like she has in hers. I get annoyed and jealous. But we are still close and I am loving seeing our adult relationship evolve. I hope that things look up for you, that you find it less tempting to be sad and easier to be busy and happy with your own agenda in the near future. Most of all, I hope that your relationship with your sister (and brother-in-law!) would bloom into a new flower that you can carry with you the rest of your life. I can’t imagine going through the loss of my mom and then having my sister marry and move out. That is understandably tough. Thank you for commenting. Email me if you ever need anything. [email protected]

      Love, Everly

  13. Everly! Thank you. I wanted to laugh and cry all the way through this post! My sister and I sing that song all the time. And my dearest do everything with tell everything too righthand lady is getting married in July and as our relationship is drastically changing there is also beauty and grace in it too. Like you said there are other – different moments we can share and grow closer in. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement! Blessing and HUGS!

  14. I too was on the opposite end…I was 23 when I got married, my sister was 13. She really, REALLY struggled with my getting married. It’s been almost 7 years now and she’s only just started to really “forgive” my husband for taking me away. Mind you, we live 10 minutes from each other lol

    1. Oh, I understand! My sister is still only ten minutes away and I miss here even so! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m glad your sister is growing and learning to forgive/understand. Thanks for commenting!

  15. Aww, loved reading this!!!
    “Marriage is about unification, not separation.” Amen to that… two families being joined together. A beautiful picture of how we should view it ๐Ÿ™‚

    “when you truly love someone, you want what is best for them, even if it leaves you a little lonelier”

    I agree with that. I truly do want the best for all of my siblings and I can’t wait to see who God brings into my younger brothers and sister’s lives!

  16. Sniffing away tears here. My best friend and practically sister lives a thousand miles away. I was just so excited for her when she started dating a guy from my church this year! I mean really, can it get any better than that? It means extra visits and lots of time together and all that…right? It’s been really hard though. I’m happy for her and I’m thrilled that she’s dating someone I already know and love, but it’s really really hard not being her bestest best friend anymore. It just is. Not to mention that initially I was dating her boyfriend’s brother, so we were gonna do this together. And now that that’s no longer so, it’s a painful reminder of what isn’t. But seasons change. They always do. And we’ll grow and change with them. It’s just hard transitioning into a new kind of friendship. I totally love your comment to Beth…I do recall praying for a man for my dear friend, and now….ahem. =D Thank you.

    1. Tanya,
      Oh yes, yes. How I relate!
      I had so many of those feelings. What you said, “it’s really, really hard not being her bestest best friend anymore. It just is.”
      That makes impeccable sense, Tanya. I know exactly what you’re going through.

      I recently wrote a rambling post about seasons on my personal blog ( http://everlypleasant.com/yesterday-today-and-tomorrow/ ) because life changes, even though they are GOOD can be so very difficult.

      Praying for you and passing the cyber-handkercheif. You’ll get through this and, I feel certain, look back someday and see the seeds of blessings you’re harvesting.

      Everly

      1. Everly,
        Have you been reading my mind? ๐Ÿ˜‰ yes yes to your blog post. And praise for God’s Grace that takes us through the seasons! Because yes, we will smile even more later. =)
        Tya

  17. Elisabeth says:

    Beautifully done, Everly — and right on!

    My *middle* sister got married first! And God turned what could have been painful into a celebration of His love and care for her. Plus! I have always wanted a brother close to my age, and now I do. :

  18. Oh this is true. Although for me it was more letting go if my big brother’s. I always felt like the special girl in my brothers lives and then there was someone else. Admittedly I was jealous of my sister in laws to be. It was hard to understand myself because as badly as I wanted my brothers to get married, just as badly I didn’t want them too. I prayed God would give them godly wives and then I found it so hard to cope with the fact my brothers were getting married. Around each of their weddings I broke down and cried. It seemed only natural to acknowledge that this was a hard, but wonderful time of life.

    My brothers have given me the sisters I never had. I have watched my brothers change and grow in the Lord all because a special girl loved them.

    Inwardly sometimes I might have thrown a tantrum at all the change, but today I feel so blessed by my brothers’ marriages.

    1. Beth,
      I can totally relate to this. Thank you for sharing.

      “Please bring her someone to marry.”
      “Wait, Lord! Don’t take her away from me! Waaah!” ๐Ÿ˜‰

      And I agree with your last statement especially. Thank you.

  19. It is truth in the post, to say “life is not about me”. It’s not. However, it’s hard when your younger siblings one by one get married off or start dating/courting. Wondering what’s wrong with you that you got “skipped” is selfish, and wondering why people are taking your siblings away is selfish It’s good to know I’m not alone in that feeling. God’s plans aren’t for you what they are for your sis!
    Thanks for your practical encouragement. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes, I imagine this is even *more* difficult than “losing” and older sibling to marriage. We have an older brother who is still single and for him to “give his little sister away” was trying. However, in God’s miraculous way, he gave my brother a great friend and wonderful companion through this union. Actually, my brother and my brother-in-law were friends before the dating part of the story ever happened. I hope that you have found friends in your sibling-in-laws or in-laws to be. May God bring you deep satisfaction in His intricate and hidden plans!

  20. This is a great post. I was the older one in my sibling situation. It’s been three and a half years since I got married and my brother is only just now starting to forgive my husband for “stealing” me away. Something I’ve tried to tell him is that he didn’t lose a sister, he gained a brother.
    Beautiful… simply beautiful. Thanks Everly!

  21. I love this article! What a blessing to have such a great brother-in-law. God is good.

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