the why behind the what- enneagram types in marriage

Did you know that understanding you and your partner’s enneagram personality type can drastically improve communication, unmet expectations, and conflict resolution in your marriage?? I know that James and I are not the only couple that can grow in these areas! But the problem is, the enneagram personality types can be very confusing! And once you think you’ve figured out the basics and want to explore more, it only becomes more overwhelming. For instance, it’s difficult trying to wrap your head around sub-types, wings, stereotypes, mistypes, integration points, disintegration points … are you overwhelmed yet??

Understanding you and your partner’s enneagram type can drastically improve communication, unmet expectations, and conflict resolution in your marriage.

I’m sure you’re thinking… is it even worth the headache?

Probably not – but I do think it’s possible to unpack these personality types in a simple way – headache free. I’m confident this new series will help you to make sense of the endless supply of enneagram information on the internet and best apply it in your marriage. I guess you could say I’m offering you an enneagram Tylenol. :)

a burgess barrier

Here’s the truth – I know my enneagram and it has helped me to understand my expectations, frustrations, and shortcomings as a wife. In simple terms I’m a two, so I am a helper and a giver. The thing is, though, all of this comes from my desire to feel needed, loved, and appreciated. (C’mon, don’t pretend you don’t want to be all these things.)

But J? I have no idea what number he is. I keep going back and forth, back and forth, trying to determine which type he is and understand his motivations and needs and mindset. But I’m honestly stuck. Is a 7? Is he a 9? In order to really have an answer to this question, he is going to have to tell me. It is not something I can identify just by the way he acts.

The thing about the enneagram that many people do not understand is that types are determined by motivations not behaviors. It’s true! Each type can actually engage in the exact same behavior, but their reason for doing could be totally different.

Each type can actually engage in the exact same behavior, but their reason for doing could be totally different.

In this new series, we will explore each enneagram type in different marriage scenarios!

enneagram types in marriage


Remember – every type can do chores and help around the house. It is not the behavior that we need to focus on, rather the why behind the what!

Type one- the perfectionist

Just by the title, it is easy to recognize that type ones want things to be done…. well, perfectly. When it comes to helping around the house, type ones will want everything to be in its “right” place. Chores and cleaning will be done thoroughly and correctly and it will most likely be scheduled and clearly organized. A type one spouse will feel pressure to keep the house organized, and they will probably expect their spouse to do the same.

Type two- the helper

Type twos at their core just want to be appreciated – and who doesn’t appreciate a helpful spouse? When completing a chore or helping around the house, twos jump on the opportunity to be seen and feel needed. Twos will view such tasks as acts of love towards their partner. It will also give them a chance to create a warm and welcoming space for their guests – in hopes their efforts are noticed and appreciated of course!

Type three- the performer

Threes love to-do lists and being able to complete every task in the most efficient way. When it comes to helping around the house, threes will want to prove to their spouse (and everyone else) that they can most definitely take on their share of chores and maintain a clean and tidy house. For threes, achieving an ideal living environment is one way for others to perceive them as impressive, respectable, and successful.

Type four- the individualist

Type fours are known for being sensitive, more reserved, and very self-aware. They care deeply about expressing themselves, being surrounded by beauty, and maintaining certain moods. So when it comes to helping around the house, fours are going to pursue minimalism – from decor to clutter and messes, less is better. This can create a sense of calmness and also allow fours to express their uniqueness with a few simple focal points in each room. When there are less distractions, fours and their spouses and guests can truly enjoy the beauty of a room.

Type five- the thinker

Type fives are curious, observant, resourceful, and full of insight. If they are looking for something, fives will want to know exactly where to find it. Fives truly like to be very aware of their environment. If clean and tidy means they can experience less surprise, more control, and easier access to resources, then a five will be sure to maintain such a home.

Type six- the loyalist

A type six is going to work hard and respond especially well to any guidance about how to help around the house. Also sixes are more prone to overthink about “worst scenarios” or things they can’t control, so they may be motivated to keep their home clean to ensure that nobody can hurt themselves tripping over something that is out of place. Perhaps helping around the house can also serve as a distraction for big decisions in their life or things that seem out of their control.

Type seven- the enthusiast

Type sevens are optimistic and enthusiastic- always looking for a good time. This can even be expected when it comes to helping around the house. While chores may not be the way they would like to spend their time, sevens are known for being hard workers and making their work more enjoyable. One big motivation to helping with such tasks could be so they can then have the freedom to enjoy what they actually want to do. Plus, all their favorite activities will be easier to find and access if everything is in its place!

Type eight- the challenger

Type eights like control. They are great at making decisions and being straight to the point. And they typically think they are capable of being the best or getting things done better than anyone else. So, if you are married to an eight, see your partner’s confidence as a strength and use it for good! Eights will perform best when they can control what chores and house maintenance look like. And who knows- you might have the best-kept house in the neighborhood!

Type nine- the peacemaker

As the name suggests, nines love creating peace for themselves and others. They do do not like relational tension or conflict. So when it comes to helping around the house, nines will often give up their own agenda for the agenda of their spouse, doing what needs to be done without trying to fight it. They say “yes” a lot for the sake of peace. They also desire stability and consistency, which is harder to find in a messy house and long list of overdue chores.

Understanding why people do what they do is so important in relationships. In marriage, looking past your spouse’s behavior and instead trying to see their motivation can decrease unnecessary conflict and unmet expectations.

And sometimes, it doesn’t really matter why they did it, just be thankful that the house is clean :)

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