The Enneagram in Marriage

Personal

The Relationship of a Type Two and Type Nine

Marriage is one of the most important relationships you will have in your lifetime. And just like all other relationships a person might experience, knowing and understanding your Enneagram type can impact the success of the relationship in a much more rewarding way.

Hi, I’m Alicia, a Two wing Three. I’ve been married to my husband Matt, who is a Nine wing One, for 23 amazing years. 

One of the questions we get asked most often is… 

What is the secret to a happy and successful marriage?

You can read about our Top Ten Secrets to a happy and successful marriage on my Instagram here

As a Certified Enneagram Life Coach, I highly recommend that my clients not only learn their own Enneagram type, but also their partner’s type. 

In this blog, I’m excited to share how learning our Enneagram types had a profound and incredible effect on our marriage.

We decided to do this ‘interview style’ so that you can see the perspective on marriage from two different enneagram types. 

(Alicia) Type Two, what are your favorite things about Matt (Type Nine)?   

What I love most about Matt is that he is patient, kind and brings harmony and peace to our home. He is loyal and very committed to our family above all. He shows me love by helping with the things I do not enjoy, like dishes and laundry, plus loves doing the manly things I need like killing spiders and building stuff. He is as obsessed as I am about making special memories with our family of five and he never misses anything important that is going on in our three kid’s lives. 

Matt is extremely creative, smart and is the greatest problem-solver I know, other than my Dad. When he writes me a card or letter, he expresses how grateful he is that I have made a wonderful life for him and our family. That makes my Two heart so happy knowing the impact I’ve had on him. We have a passionate, undeniable physical chemistry that has never gone away in our many years of being together.

(Matt) Type Nine, what are your favorite things about Alicia (Type Two)? 

The thing I love most about Alicia is her desire to please me and make me feel loved. She goes above and beyond to let me know how much she loves me with her words and physical affection. I always know that I am first to her. No matter how busy she might be with work or the kids, if I asked her on a date or want to spend time with her, she will make it happen no matter what.  

She has a lot of energy and comes alive when hosting friends over for a party or in the way that she enjoys the all little wonderful things in life. Because of her social outgoingness and ability to become friends with almost anyone, we have had a lot of really great people in our lives and a lot of fun going on different adventures. 

She’s very determined to have our marriage succeed and always pushes us to get reconnected if we get disconnected in hard or busy season. Her focus is always to keep us feeling “in love” and keep our marriage progressing. Plus, she’s the most the trustworthy person in the world.

What are the strengths of your pairing (Type Two and Type Nine)? 

From Matt: We both have the same nurturing values in our parenting styles and our both committed to having a successful marriage. We both enjoy peaceful quality time together at the end of a long work day. We love the quality time of curling up on the couch and watching our favorite shows together  

From Alicia: We love being around people and are generous with our time and service to others. We both want peace and stability for others as well as ourselves. We are both very committed and loyal, and we try to give all five of the Love Languages to each other (Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Gifts). 

What are the weaknesses of your pairing? 

From Matt: As a Nine, I’m uncomfortable in confrontation or highly stressful situations or disruptions of peace. I need alone time when I’m upset or overwhelmed, whereas she wants to be together and talk it out or express her emotions. 

My lack of desire to talk things out and work through them immediately is exact opposite of what she needs as a Two. This sometimes makes her feel unwanted or unloved by me. I feel bad about this and it’s something I’m working on. In times of stress, I just want everyone to be happy and calm down. But her ways of dealing with stress can be loud and outward which is tougher on me because I’m opposite. I internalize and want to be alone and get quiet. 

From Alicia: Until I started learning more about the enneagram and understanding Matt is a Nine, I used to judge his non-reactions or lack of emotion towards things and people. It used to really bother me. Understanding Nines better now helps me know he is who he is for a reason and isn’t necessarily choosing to be ‘distant’ in tough conversations or unexpressive. It used to hurt me when he didn’t understand my emotional need to express things at the time I felt them. I wanted to be understood and needed. He’s not a person who ‘needs’ someone so that was a struggle for me until I understood the difference between a Two and Nine. 

How we help heal each other’s childhood wounds well?

Matt: Alicia values our relationship over everything else which is the security I needed. As a child, I was greatly affected by my parent’s choices and them divorcing when I was in middle school. Their choices to not make their marriage healthy, affected our family breaking up which was extremely hard for me. Alicia values our marriage and family above everything else, so it provides that security that was missing in my youth.  

Alicia: Matt creates harmony and presence in our environment which is something that was missing in my childhood. I grew up in a home affected greatly by my Dad’s alcoholism, and the fear and absence that causes. Also, my mom was 16 years old when she gave birth to me and didn’t have a normal, nurturing parental relationship in her own childhood. My youth was in the 80’s and like a lot of kids, I was a latchkey kid whose parents worked outside the home and were gone often. I needed the stability and display of ‘present love’ that was missing in my youth.  

How has your pairing made you grow?

Matt: We have become more like each other over the years. I’m more compassionate and aware of how other’s feel based on watching her do that so well. I used to think people think like me, but just choose to make things harder. Finally understanding Alicia in so much more depth, has helped me understand other people so much better too… including my kids, my parents, friends or people I work with.  

Alicia: The grace he gives me when I sometimes don’t deserve it, has helped me learn to not be as hard on myself as I can be. Because of his consistent, unconditional love for me, it helped me believe I’m worthy of such great love. This was hard to for me to believe before. And because he doesn’t need much from me, it is a relationship where I don’t have to think he only loves me because of what I offer (which is something a lot of Twos struggles with, especially in friendships).

What parts of the Enneagram have helped your relationship the most? 

Matt: Understanding each other’s faults and fears better has helped us tremendously. We don’t take our differences so personally anymore. Knowing she’s a Two has helped  because I know why she’s upset or disappointed or what’s motivating her. It’s helped me learn not to assume the worst, like some people can do in a marriage. Having a deeper understanding that we think and process so differently is freeing. Before learning about our types, I didn’t know why she doesn’t need or fear that same things that I do. Now, I know her mind and understand her more, what matters to her most because she’s a Two and how she comes from the heart on almost everything. 

It was hard for me to understand that not everyone’s main goal is peace and quiet (LOL). As a Two, Alicia’s main goal is to feel loved and needed. It all just makes more sense now. 

Alicia: Learning my enneagram type and understanding myself so much more has helped me be a better wife to Matt. It’s also helped me appreciate some qualities he has as a Nine that I used to resent him for before understanding why and how he is the way he is. His type has a strong need for peace and avoids conflict at almost all costs. For me, I always felt conflict is not scary and is necessary to get through the problem and out the other side. That is where I find peace and security. That even hard stuff can’t break us. So now that I understand that he has a strong need to avoid conflict has helped me know it’s not because he doesn’t love me and want to fight for our relationship to grow. It’s just that I have to approach challenging times in a way where he is comfortable in engaging and talking about it to get through whatever challenge we are facing. 

Becoming educated in all things enneagram has improved all my relationships so much on all levels (as a wife, as a mom, as a daughter and as a friend). Learning all enneagram types has made me a better parent in more ways that I can describe. But I’ll save that for my May blog on Motherhood and parenting. 

If you loved this post, check out: Using the Enneagram to Create More Meaningful Relatioships and Enneagram and Love Languages .

Until next time, XO!

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Alicia Larkey, Enneagram Life Coach | Site design by Jessica Gingrich