Enneagram and Faith: Has marriage hindered your development?

It’s said that in marriage, opposites attract. 

I used to think that meant people were different in everything- one likes sports, the other likes art, one like parties, the other likes quiet, etc, etc. But lately I’ve been wondering if it has more to do with personality than interests. 

We tend to like to be around people who complement us. People with whom we have enough in common to understand one another, but also people who approach things differently enough to enrich our perspective. This might be true in marriage more than any other relationships.

I’ve been married 15 years now. Long enough to have learned some things, not long enough to have learned it all. I think a lesson I have been learning lately could be relevant to more than just me, so I’m going to share it today. It relates to enneagram, and how marriage effects the development of our centers.

I’ve written here before that enneagram places personality types in three different centers: the gut (our body and instincts), heart (our emotions and relationships), and head (our thinking and reason). Good decisions involve all three centers to some extent, but we each have a tendency to default to one or two above the other(s). 

One key to growth is realizing which center is our default, and consciously stretching the muscles of the other centers in order to find more balance.

I think marriage can inhibit us from developing our weaker centers.

My husband has strong head and gut centers. One of the reasons I love to travel with him is because he’s so good at it. He’s not thrown when things don’t go as planned. He is able to think through a way out, and he has the confidence to ask for or demand what’s needed in the situation. 

In that same situation, my heart center reigns, with my head center close behind, but circling in fear more than in reason. So I let him take the lead. It’s one of his gifts, after all, so why not let him use it?

Marriages often develop roles over time: one person does the dishes, the other mows the lawn, one does the bills, the other cleans the bathroom. I think, if we’re not careful, we develop personality roles, too. Though I do believe in marriage two become one, I don’t think that means we are meant to give up our personhood.

Two individuals moving towards health and wholeness make for a much stronger team.

After all these years with my husband, I am realizing I have an under-developed gut center. I’ve used his strength as an excuse not to find my own. When he is around, I don’t need to stretch that muscle, so I don’t. Ironically, he wishes I would. In fact, it drives him crazy that I don’t have more confidence. The very thing I default to him to take care of is the very thing he wishes I would take more time to develop. He loves me, and he sees how much more balance I would find if I could pull from my gut center when it was needed.

Ignatius saw that there were three ways to come to a decision. One is to prayerfully consider the pros and cons of each option (head center). Another is to notice the feelings we have as it relates to each option (heart center). The last is to notice how we already know what option to move towards, and to simply do it (gut center). All three of those practices are helpful, especially when done in awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence in each. 

Knowing that my default is feelings, I need to consciously employ my pro-con list and impulsive side a little more often, and not just count on my husband to do so. I was made to have all three centers available to me. As I learn to access them, I will become stronger, and so will my marriage.

Have you noticed this in your own marriage? What are your ideas for not allowing your partners strengths to halt your own development?


*Since this post is focused on marriage, I am doing another giveaway! This time, of a couples enneagram coaching session. I will help you each understand your types, and think through how your types affects how you relate to one another and how you grow, individually and together. This can be done in person or on Skype if you are not local.

There are 3 ways to enter: 1. Comment on this post. 2. Share this post on social media. 3. Share my enneagram coaching page on social media. You can enter in any or all of the ways. Each way gives you one more chance to win. If you share on social media, make sure to tag @everydayawe on Twitter or Instagram or https://www.facebook.com/everydayawe on Facebook.

This give away closes September 3, 2015. Winner will be chosen at random, and notified by email or social media, depending on how the entry was made.

Good luck!


Wonder: Marriage on Mission

I admire the heart of Jennifer Upton. She writes because of the way her words can help others. When I had the pleasure of meeting her in person this fall, she shined bright with the love of Christ. I hope her words shine that light to you today.


My heart has trained my eyes to appreciate marriage through the lens of covenant and the sweet love sometimes tasting of bitter that is ordained to pour from within its fountain. As I began reading with reverence the covenant story of Joseph and Mary I knew if given the opportunity I must share them as One. For me to posture my telling any other way would be for my once shattered heart to separate, to place a wedge between what God so artfully knit together.


Marriage through the view of my lens is the closest reflection of Christ and His church and this marriage serves as stunning example. Joseph and Mary were a “Yes Couple” choosing to be infected by a Holy Loving God rather than medicating their souls with self; to be a reflection of and live in response to His purpose.


They heard from the Lord as they sought to live out his will and responded by arising and embarking upon sacred journey. They brought forth in the giving of birth. They marveled being filled with wonder and astonishment in their presenting of wrapped joy. They stayed when it was time to stay and returned when it was time to return.


They quickly learned that Covenant was about life on mission relying not on acts of emotion, but the given message of God; to bring him glory in their going in preparation of the coming- the coming of our Savior.


“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous {virtuous, moral, good, just, blameless, upright, honorable, honest, respectable, decent} man and did not want to expose {embarrass, make vulnerable, damage, leave without protection} her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly." (Matthew 1:19 emphasis added)


The opposite of expose is to cover and Joseph who lay with felt abandonment believing his wife engaged in adultery ensuing in unborn life chose the path of honorable covering. He held within him the heart cry to cloak her and the unborn child in an offering of grace. He deemed Mary as valuable offering special consideration for her well-being choosing to respond to carried love rather than the hurt he bore. Though he was drawn into unrest no demand for justice could be heard crying out in his midnight hour.


“But as he considered {looked attentively at} these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21 emphasis added)


His fears justified with proof seeming evident but in truth his wife was chosen, set apart and innocent of humiliating accusation. This is a story of more, of seeing beyond swollen eyes and shattered lens. The surface no matter how vivid must be splintered and pulled away to see beauty contained within immeasurable depths, to hear angelic song and heavenly command. Their marriage would warrant seeing through fresh lens- the lens of Holy and set apart.


“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24-25)


This is an exquisite portrait of leading your Covenant Love in a way that builds her up and honors her while glorifying The Father. Mary supported alongside not blindly but in response to her spoken commitment to God “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Between them they carefully transported the extraordinary name of Jesus.


A man that builds with his hands possesses vision and Joseph was a builder. With divine guidance Joseph was able to see past what lie before him, to trust the Master Carpenter. A woman that prays possesses the sacred art of communion, the drawing near and Mary was a woman who prayed. The mission beheld as One was fulfilled calling for the embracing of sacrificial living every stride and limp step and stumble along their path.


They beheld what we very much yearn for- the audible sound and felt touch of Jesus. Lungs filled with the voice of God crying out “Savior!” The quantity of years spent together before “death did they part” is a God sized mystery, but I trust the time in which they shared to be enough.


This advent story is a testament of the unquenched, the going for the coming arrival of our Holy and Beloved promise. In the going of Joseph and Mary, the choosing to live marriage on mission, to say yes to a greater purpose outside of self, the light of revelation was birthed.


Their example speaks straight to the heart of my own restored covenant, the core of which we now are, the vein through which we now bleed, the lens through which we now see. I can only pray that my marriage would shadow the journey of their going in order for Christ to come.


About Today's Guest Blogger: Jennifer Upton

Many say I travel too deep, but I say one can never travel deep enough. Lover of all things turquoise & iced soy lattes. Covenant love to Tony, momma to Austin. The desire to write stories lived won’t remove its grip from me. Without understanding the purpose I keep going. I keep trusting. I blog at Spiritual Glasses and tweet at @SpiritlGlasses.


Wonder: Rediscover the Christmas Story is an Advent series designed to help us pause and reflect on how amazing the stories of Jesus’ birth really are. To break through the cluttered busyness of the season and touch our hearts with the awe of what God has done. Let’s make this a season of wonder and worship, marveling together at our great God.

Unmet Expectations

My husband and I have loved being marriage mentors. Our old church had a program in which people who've been married for awhile paired with engaged couples. We met regularly in the months before the wedding and had intentional conversations to help them be prepared.

We found that it blessed us as much, if not more, than it blessed them. These conversations helped us think about what was important in marriage, too.

That's why I was excited to write a guest post today for Jane Caroline for her Marriage 101 Series. Her wedding is coming soon, and is looking for advice for herself and others who are about to embark on the marriage ride. Here's a snippet of what I had to say.

Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in someone else’s house?

I’m going to invite you to do just that. You are a fly on the wall of my kitchen, four years ago.

I am at the stove, stirring something in a pot. My toddler runs in and attaches himself to my leg. I look down, and tell him to go play in the other room. He doesn’t budge. He is much more interested in what Mommy is doing on the hot stove.

My body begins to get tense. I yell to another room.

“I need your help, honey.” No answer, so I raise my voice higher.

“What are you doing? I need your help in here.” Still no answer. So I shout his name. He comes into the room.

“Where were you?”

He looks surprised, “Downstairs, paying a bill.”

I roll my eyes. My voice becomes terse...

Read the rest on Jane Caroline.