What Is The Enneagram and How Do I Use It?

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Have You Heard About the Enneagram?

Have you seen all the hype about the Enneagram online?! If you’re on social media, you already know there are both pros AND cons to living in an age where information is so quickly and easily accessible. One of the many benefits to this rise of virtual conversation is the beautiful outpouring of counselors and therapists sharing SO MUCH helpful insider content on their platforms. {Anybody else have an algorithm that fills their Instagram feed with expert relationship tips… or is that just me?!🤣}

Finding your enneagram type is a journey! | The Dating Divas
Finding the best enneagram test is important for your growth journey

As someone who’s been mildly {okay, fine… obsessively} intrigued by this curious circular personality typing system for most of my marriage, I am SO excited to share with you exactly how this tool works and how transformative it can be, especially for couples in a committed relationship!

Table of Contents
  1. Have You Heard About the Enneagram?
  2. The Basics of the Enneagram
    1. What Is So Different About the Enneagram?
  3. Why the Enneagram is a Tool You Should Use
  4. Enneagram Type 1: Moral Perfectionist
  5. Enneagram Type 2: Supportive Helper
  6. Enneagram Type 3: Successful Achiever
  7. Enneagram Type 4: Romantic Individualist
  8. Enneagram Type 5: Thoughtful Investigator
  9. Enneagram Type 6: Questioning Loyalist
  10. Enneagram Type 7: Entertaining Enthusiast
  11. Enneagram Type 8: Protective Challenger
  12. Enneagram Type 9: Peaceful Mediator
    1. What These Enneagram Numbers Tell Us
  13. How the Enneagram Can Transform Your Marriage
  14. The Best Free Enneagram Test
    1. Conclusion + Resources

The Basics of the Enneagram

The Enneagram is a century old personality typing system understood by many experts to be a model of the human psyche.

Before we get too far, you may be wondering what on earth a personality typing system even is. Truity.com, one of our favorite sites to visit, has defined this for us!

Personality typing is a system of categorizing people according to their tendencies to think and act in particular ways. Personality typing attempts to find the broadest, most important ways in which people are different, and make sense of these differences by sorting people into meaningful groups.

Now, for those who attended any type of pre-marital course or relationship counseling, you were likely guided through a popular marriage tool like The Five Love Languages, an inventory system like the FOCCUS questionnaire, or even another personality typing test like Myers-Briggs.

While these systems have certainly earned their place in the offices of esteemed counselors, therapists, and psychologists, there are also many professionals who feel the Enneagram might be one of the best growth tools available!

What Is So Different About the Enneagram?

The Enneagram offers you an opportunity to intimately understand the way you impact others dynamically in a relationship as well as bring wellness and balance to your own life.” – Christa Hardin, CEO & Founder of E + M

I had the honor of interviewing a leading voice on this topic, and I think you’re going to love what she had to say as much as I did! Though Christa is one of the FUNNEST people you’ll meet {she IS an Enneagram 7, after all!}, she also has an impressive amount of experience and education under her belt. With over two decades of working with couples face to face in her counseling practice and multiple degrees relating to Psychology, Christa is TOTALLY our expert.

Unlike a lot of the other {personality} assessments out there, the enneagram encompasses so many LAYERS of growth for people so that when they have time to dig in farther, they are able to.
When I see myself in these various levels of health and not just the basic level, I get to see that I am still in growth and in process. That is the mindset we love and that is the mindset that would be very hard to accomplish from, let’s say, a Myers Briggs perspective or some of the other inventories I’ve studied from my Psychologist days.

Why the Enneagram is a Tool You Should Use

One of the reasons the Enneagram has such devoted enthusiasts is because unlike many other personality typing systems, it is not a “test-and-done” type of situation. In fact, if you want to dig in and reap the full benefits of this growth tool, your learning experience will look a lot more like a journey than a destination.

The Enneagram is unique because you are able to take your findings at the basic level or you can press in to take a deeper look at yourself. As Christa is quick to speak of often, it’s all about knowing where we “glow” and knowing where our “shadows” are. Those of us who are able to do this deep work to learn our innate strengths and weaknesses individually as a spouse and also together as a couple are the ones gaining the most beneficial transformation from this tool.

Researching your enneagram type is a great way to grow your marriage! | The Dating Divas
Using the enneagram as a tool for personal growth will transform marriage

The most important defining feature of the Enneagram is that it dives deeper than personality traits. Both the Enneagram test and its results are meant to address not behavior but the ROOT behind it. This means if you desire to find which of the 9 numbers you identify with, you have to answer questions based on what DRIVES your decisions. The Enneagram both requires and teaches us to search for our motivations in acting the way we do.

Below explains in depth each of the 9 points on the Enneagram circle. We each have one number we identify MOST with. My favorite part about this circular system is that it clearly shows the ways we are all connected amidst our differences and identifies the way we interact with others depending on our health or stress levels. Let’s read about each from the great wisdom of our friends at Truity!

Enneagram Type 1:
Moral Perfectionist

“Enneagram Type Ones like to do things correctly and to high standards. They are typically sticklers for rules, and pay close attention to detail. Ones also avoid making mistakes. To others, their actions appear perfectionistic, responsible and exacting.

Ones are typically sticklers for rules and details, and get frustrated when things don’t live up to their very high standards – at work, in relationships or in their day-to-day lives.

Deepest Fear: 

Ones fear being “bad people,” morally flawed, or otherwise seen as imperfect. They cope with this fear by being rigidly disciplined and very hard on themselves (and often, those around them, too).

Core Motivation: 

Ones strive to be good and honorable – and to live a life with purpose. They seek the best and most correct way to do things.”

Enneagram Type 2:
Supportive Helper

“Twos are defined by their desire to belong and to be loved by others. They are helpful, nurturing and caring towards others. They are eager to involve themselves in others’ lives. Twos rarely say no when others ask them for help, and want to prove value to others by always being there for them.

Deepest Fear: 

Twos fear being alone and unloved, and cope with this fear by taking care of others and making themselves central to other people’s lives.

Core Motivation: 

Enneagram Twos want to feel loved and appreciated, which motivates them to express love toward others in their words and actions.”

Enneagram Type 3:
Successful Achiever

“Threes are defined by their desire to be significant and to distinguish themselves through achievements. To others, Threes appear confident, ambitious and goal-oriented. They are unsure of their innate self-worth, and look for validation through their accomplishments.

Threes are typically very image-focused. It is important to them that others see them as successful.

Deepest Fear: 

Threes fear being insignificant or a failure. To cope with this fear, they look for ways to win in life, reassuring themselves that they are valuable.

Core Motivation: 

Type Threes are motivated by a need for attention and admiration. They strive to be successful and significant to avoid feeling worthless.”

Enneagram Type 4:
Romantic Individualist

“Fours are defined by their sense of being special and different from other people. They are often creative, and present a unique, distinctive persona to the people around them.

Fours experience a deep conflict in that they long to connect with others, but they feel that because they are so unusual, very few people are able to truly see them as they are.

Deepest Fear: 

Fours fear that they are flawed and are missing out on some basic aspect of happiness that other people have access to. To cope with this fear, they amplify what is different and special about themselves, looking for the niche in which they can truly be appreciated.

Core Motivations: 

Fours are motivated by their desire to express their individuality and to be unique. They do this through creative endeavors and by over identifying with the aspects of their personality that they view as lacking or deficient.”

Enneagram Type 5:
Thoughtful Investigator

“Enneagram Fives are defined by their desire to conserve their energy and to avoid being drained by engagement with the outside world. They focus on being knowledgeable and competent so that they can be as self-sufficient as possible.

Fives enjoy deepening their understanding of the world, expanding their intellect, while minimizing their physical and relationship needs.

Deepest Fear: 

Fives fear being overwhelmed by their own needs and the needs of others. To cope with this fear, they withdraw from relationships and maintain a minimalist lifestyle. Fives often focus on the intellectual as an escape from the demands of the world.

Core Motivations: 

Fives are motivated by a desire to be competent and possess a strong understanding of their environment. This motivation drives them to a nearly constant state of learning and knowledge accumulation.”

Enneagram Type 6:
Questioning Loyalist

“Sixes are defined by their desire for safety and security. They seek to anticipate and avoid risk, and to ally themselves with trustworthy authority figures and institutions.

Sixes are alert and vigilant, always thinking several steps ahead to anticipate and prepare for what could go wrong.

Deepest Fear: 

Sixes fear being unprepared and unable to defend themselves from danger. To cope with this fear, they attempt to be prepared for every possible turn of events.

Core Motivation: 

This type is motivated by their need for safety and security. They seek support and reassurance from other people, and are extremely loyal to people and groups that they trust.”

Enneagram Type 7:
Entertaining Enthusiast

“Sevens are defined by their desire to experience everything life has to offer while avoiding pain and boredom. They appear to others to be lively, fun-loving and hedonistic.

Sevens are often very busy people who bounce from one activity to another in their quest to squeeze every possible bit of enjoyment out of life.

Deepest Fear: 

Sevens fear getting stuck in a rut and missing out on the good life. They cope with this fear by constantly seeking out exciting, novel, and fun experiences.

Core Motivations: 

More than anything, Sevens want to avoid feeling bored, sad or uninspired.”

Enneagram Type 8:
Protective Challenger

“Eights are defined by their desire to be powerful and to avoid any vulnerability. They present a confident, assertive, and decisive image to others. Eights can be argumentative and intimidating; it is important to them to stand up for what they believe in and to protect those who are weaker than themselves.

Deepest Fear: 

Eights fear being vulnerable and powerless more than anything, and cope with this fear by always being strong and in control.

Core Motivations: 

Eights are motivated by their desire to be independent and in control. They resist appearing or feeling weak and reject any authority that restricts them.”

Enneagram Type 9:
Peaceful Mediator

“Nines are defined by their desire to maintain a sense of inner peace and harmony. They desire to avoid conflict or other emotional disturbances. They are typically agreeable, calm, and easy to be around.

Nines rarely rock the boat, but they can be stubborn. While they typically go with the flow, they dislike being controlled and will respond with passive resistance if pushed too far.

Deepest Fear: 

Nines fear being too needy and thus pushing people away. They cope with this fear by submitting to the desires and agendas of the people around them. Aka: They choose to be agreeable in order to be included.

Core Motivations: 

Nines are motivated by their need for peace and harmony in their environment. They strongly desire to avoid conflict and deal with unpleasant emotions.”

What These Enneagram Numbers Tell Us

You may have noticed a key component to the Enneagram as you read the description for each number above. Each number on the spectrum is driven by some sort of motivation – often fear of something like: failure, imperfection, unworthiness, and more. This fear and motivation guides the way we act {personality}, the way we behave in a relationship {love languages, etc.}, and the way we communicate {due to our core beliefs about ourselves & what information we deem important}. The Enneagram is consistent with research that explains this simple paradigm: who we are is a combination of both nature and nurture.

How the Enneagram Can Transform Your Marriage

Being aware of what we bring to the altar with our marriage is so important for discovering the deep, fulfilling connection we crave with our spouse. And in turn, allowing them to know what we bring to the table {and vice versa!} creates a hopeful empathy for each other! Our perspectives of each other become softened with grace. Our marriages can flourish as we learn to lean into each other’s strengths {glow!} and assist each other where we may be weak {shadows!}.

Because of all we’ve shared, you likely will not be surprised to hear that we believe Enneagram compatibility is available for ANY and EVERY number combination! You absolutely can learn to support and work WITH any Enneagram type you’re married to. It simply takes work and understanding of both yourself and your partner. {Which is required in any healthy marriage relationship anyway!} So dig in and start learning!

Use a free enneagram test to discover your type | The Dating Divas
The enneagram is used as a tool to strengthen you and your marriage

The Best Free Enneagram Test

If you’re looking to get started with your enneagram journey, we highly recommend using this Free Enneagram Test from Truity! This is one of the only free Enneagram tests out there that still utilizes showing your results in a Pie Chart. The reason we love this format is because it is probable that your test does not perfectly reflect your number the first time you take it. You will want to note your highest ranking numbers and begin researching them one by one to find which one you relate to on the deepest level.

Personally, it took me nearly two years before I finally discovered and admitted that I am an Enneagram 3! Often the number that offends you the most could be the number you actually see yourself most in. 😉

This Enneagram journey requires work, self-reflection, and some brutal honesty as you look in the mirror, but what you will learn along the way will benefit every single relationship you maintain over your lifetime. As Christa so quotably mentioned, comfort does not equal connection. But after helping couples use the Enneagram to better navigate their relationships, she can also attest that the success stories are WELL worth performing this uncomfortable, resistance work in yourself.

Conclusion + Resources

Ready to get your Enneagram “glow” on?
Check out these resources for each stage in the journey!

Beginner resources:

  • Instagram! Brittany on IG as Enneagram Explained is a great follow for the basics.
  • Books! The Road Back to You by Suzanne Stabile overviews it all.
  • Workbooks! Christa at E+M has some amazing freebies on her website.

dig deep resources:

  • Podcasts! Christa runs an insightful podcast featuring guest episodes.
  • Reflection! Suzanne Stabile co-authored a 30-day devotional for each number.
  • Marriage Work! Christa has a tool specifically for each number in marriage.

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I am a 5'2" girl living in my 6'2" husband's world and loving EVERY second of it! I am the proud dog mom to our beautiful Corgi Australian Shepherd mix, Kobe. (Lovingly named by my hubs after his favorite LA Lakers Basketball legend Kobe Bryant.) I am an Enneagram 3 with equal wings 2 and 4 who dreams to be the vibrant intersection where right brain meets the left. I am an introverted extrovert...or was it extroverted introvert?! I live for good music, challenging books, ALL forms of the glorious and ever-versatile potato, any DIY project that requires a big-girl power tool, binge marathons of The Office, every home renovation show that exists on a streaming service, and moments in time that are filled by nothing but loud, lawless laughter.

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