We're officially into February, so what else are we going to talk about?
In this episode, Kim shares her top 8 tips for using the Enneagram as a couple.
Full show notes are available on the Christian Enneagram Coaching website.
Mentioned in today's episode:
- Christa of Enneagram & Marriage: Podcast & Instagram
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00:00:09 Hi, you're listening to the Christian Enneagram podcast. I'm Kim Eddy, your host and self-proclaimed Enneagram BFF. Every week I stop by with some Enneagram encouragement, motivation, and inspiration, and sometimes a special guest. Here, we ask the big questions about the Enneagram when it comes to your faith, we get to know ourselves a little better, and we grow in empathy for others. I hope you enjoy today's episode. And I'm just so excited you're here. So let's get into it.
00:00:41 Hello, my friend. I am so excited to be here with you. I'm Kim. I am your host of the Christian Enneagram Podcast, and I have missed you. It's been a few weeks since I've been in your feed and been able to share a little bit about the Enneagram with you. So I'm excited to go there today. I'm also, if we're being kind of honest, I'm really excited that January is over. Does anybody else share that sentiment with me? I saw a tweet and I wish I could remember who it was that said, "Hey, let's declare January the last month of 2020 and leave it all behind." Because it has been so long!
00:01:19 If that's how you feel, I know that February 1st, which is when I am recording, this is just a date on the calendar; it's quite arbitrary, but let's say this is a new beginning. We are in a new month, and it's new! So let's, let's hope that it's shiny. So anyway, it's February, I'm excited to be here. It's also Valentine's month, and while we won't devote every episode to relationships in February, because the whole world will be doing that, I did want to cover just a little bit now.
00:01:55 Small caveat, if you do want to hear more about relationships, when it comes to the Enneagram, do let me know. I have quite a few friends who are kind of, I collaborate with on Instagram and know them and get to work with them sometimes who understand the Enneagram and also counsel or teach on relationships. It would be so fun to have them on. Let me know if that's something you're interested, hit me up on email@example.com.
00:02:28 And one more caveat: I do, if you have been hanging out with me for a while, then you might know that I myself am no longer in a relationship. That is not my story. I am single. And so please take this with a little grain of salt. I do coach, occasionally, inside relationships, and I do have thoughts on it. And if you take it from someone who, maybe, could have put some of this in place, then, then take that advice or warning, I suppose you might consider it. So caveats are done. Let's get into some of my biggest points of advice when it comes to using the Enneagram inside your long-term, committed relationships, okay?
00:03:16 I'm not going to say marriage; it could be that it could be a long-term dating thing. Someone, a life partner, someone who is your intimate partner, and this is becoming, or has already become in the case of marriage, a commitment, right? So Enneagram for couples, let's call it that. Let's call it that, whether you are married or not. So I have some bullet points that I want to go through; this is going to be kind of a short episode.
00:03:49 My first advice, point of advice for you, is don't type your partner. Do not type your partner. Do not tell them what Enneagram type they are. This is not going to be helpful. You might, depending on how long you've known them, and if they voiced some of their deepest motivations to you, or you've witnessed how they react, and stress or growth or whatever, you probably have some good ideas. And you might be right; like, there's only nine types to choose from, you know. I didn't do the math. What percentage is that? It's a little less than 10% is your chance of being right.
00:04:27 And that jumps exponentially as you know them deeper and on a deeper level, but do not type your partner. I implore you, do not tell them what type they are. If they ask, give them options and let them know the good things or the difficult things, or the uncomfortable things that seem like they might be this type, but please don't label them.
00:04:52 That is my first point. And the second part of that point is don't stereotype them. If they know what their type is, don't put them in a box. Don't say, "Oh, that's such a two thing" or, "Oh, your, your eight is showing." Be careful. Nothing is worse than your part-- Well, I shouldn't say nothing. There's not a whole lot that's worse than your own partner, who you love and trust, putting you in a personality box. So please be gentle and careful with their heart as you move into any groundwork as a couple.
00:05:29 Number two, go at their pace as far as the relationship is concerned, right? So when you are in a committed relationship, there is you, the individual, them, the individual, and the "Venn diagram" where you meet, which is the relationship union. So as far as that overlap, that intersection, and the Venn diagram, go at the slowest person's pace. If you're listening to this podcast and you are the only one who listens to this podcast in your committed relationship, then they're probably the slow one, I'm just going to be honest. Go at their pace as far as the relationship is concerned. You, the part of you that is in individual from them, do your Enneagram work! Jump into it! Like, go head-first! But as far as the relationship is concerned, you need to go at the same pace. I hope that that makes sense. So that's number two.
00:06:29 Number three is hold their type softly. They might find that they're mistyped! Recognize that even if they're right about their type, it's only a part of them; it is not all of them. They are more than their tendencies, just as you are more than your tendencies. So hold it with an open hand.
00:06:53 And that leads me into number four. I didn't number these in my notes. Excuse me. Don't assume. So, number four, don't assume that they'll respond in those unhealthy tendencies. Don't put assumptions on their future behavior, especially negative or harmful future behavior, based on their Enneagram type. This is very important. Now, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't have boundaries based on patterns of behavior. That is in no way what I'm saying, but as far as the Enneagram work that you're doing together is concerned, don't assume that they will stay where they are in their level of health, in their stress reaction, in their coping mechanisms, and their tendencies. Don't make the assumption that they'll just stay stuck. Okay? Being hopeful doesn't mean that you're naive. We want to have boundaries where those are necessary, but don't make negative assumptions about them because of what you know about their Enneagram type or their alleged Enneagram type, depending on how much work they've done.
00:08:06 Okay. So that's number four. Number five, invite them, invite your partner to participate, participate, but don't force them to. This is important! Like, we need to be ready to do some of the uncomfortable work that comes with the Enneagram and the exposing of some of the things that we might not want exposed. And so giving an invitation can be really helpful, but let's not force our partner to be a part of this growth work if they aren't ready to. This can be a great time for, if they aren't ready, this can be a great time for you to talk about what you're learning about yourself without making any assumptions about them or equating it to them in any way. But you can talk about your individual work, the part of the Venn diagram where you are separate from them and, and talk about what you're learning and how you're growing. And this can help them maybe get ready, but we don't want to coerce or manipulate them into, into doing Enneagram work. That is not a good idea. But give the, give the invitation and then allow them to make a choice of their own.
00:09:26 And goodness, what number are we at here in my notes? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. I have, I have a lot of notes, obviously. Number six, support them as they grow and give grace when they fall. Our patterns of behavior and our tendencies and our coping mechanisms, all came from really good reasons and are really deeply ingrained in us. And they can be really difficult to notice and interrupt. And if you've done Enneagram work of your own, then you know this to be true of you. And so hopefully you can empathize with what they're going through. If they are a different type than you, especially if they're in like a different stance or a different center of intelligence or a type, meaning a type that you don't have a lot of overlap with in, in some of these behaviors; if they're very different, then you might get frustrated and wonder, "why, well, why can't you just get past that? Like, this is not an issue for me. Why is it an issue for you?"
00:10:36 And grace is going to come into play in a big way as you recognize, "oh, they have valid reasons for what they're stuck in, just like I have valid reasons for what I'm stuck in. And I have to accept that. I don't need to understand why theirs are valid; I just have to give them the validity that they deserve." And that's where grace comes in. So support them as they grow, give grace when they fall.
00:11:05 And this leads us into number seven: reevaluate your boundaries pretty often, or at least regularly. Because grace doesn't mean allowing continued harm; that's not what I'm talking about. But reevaluate your boundaries often, adjusting them forward or back as needed for, for everyone's health and wellbeing in the relationship. And as they grow, you'll find, "Oh, well maybe this boundary is too hard or too far out now, and I can soften that boundary because they're safe in that area. Or they are proving that they are going to be thoughtful of how, of, of my harm or my, you know, my wellbeing in that area." Or maybe you find as they slip back into tendencies there, or there's areas where they continue to be stuck, that for their health, the relationship'shealth, and your health, there needs to be a boundary there. So reevaluate boundaries often, and be communicative of why they're necessary. And you can do that in a loving way.
00:12:15 And then number eight, I think it is have as much fun as you can. Enneagram work is uncomfortable and you know, it's almost like, excuse me, (I hope this is okay to say), it's almost like feeling naked in front of somebody, but on an emotional/mental level. And it can be quite disarming and just feels really weird, right? So have as much fun as you can! Say the hard things when you need to, but remember to affirm the person you love. You love them for a reason, and you can accept all of them and their quirks and the things you just don't understand because you have different motivations and still love them. Okay? So find the things that are fun; find the things that are affirming. Lean into that while continuing to view the things that you can both do to grow, that intersection of the Venn diagram that is your relationship.
00:13:27 Okay. That was a whirlwind. I did eight of those in 12 minutes. I hope that this was helpful for you. If you want to have this, this episode, these eight points in an easily digestible readable format, Mary, who works as a part of the CC team, turns this into a blog post that looks really nice. I am so grateful for her and she is making this into a blog post.
00:13:53 So you can find the link down to the show notes. You can listen to it right there on the page and read along as you, as you listen, or just read it in blogpost form. And also, since I shouted out Mary, I want to shout out Melinda, who makes these podcast episodes sound professional, because I tell you what, I am just sitting here in my bedroom-slash-office and talking into a microphone, and she somehow makes me sound like I know what I'm doing. So anyway, all of that to say, I am so grateful for the CEC team that I have here. Everything that you see coming from me as far as teaching or coaching is only possible because I have amazing people who help and work with me here.
00:14:45 I did want to say one more thing for those of you who are interested in some of my story and my experience and the healing that I've been through, through my divorce and the subsequent months that followed. I was able to have such an amazing conversation with Krista of Enneagram and marriage. She has an amazing podcast, which is, if you haven't listened to it yet, please go and listen to it. I'll put a link to it in the show notes and a link to her Instagram, just because, because I'm going to be on her podcast in the next few weeks. So be on the lookout for that. I'll let you know over on Instagram when that goes live. But just in case you are curious about my story when it comes to relationships and where I'm coming from.
00:15:37 And I'll, I guess that's it. I'm glad to be back from my break. I hope that your week is amazing. And please come hang out with me over on firstname.lastname@example.org, if you aren't yet. And let me know what you think of this episode, or if you have a podcast episode suggestion for something we can talk about in the future. And with that, I will see you next week. Bye, Friend.