At Home with an Enneagram 8 and an Enneagram 7

So how does an #enneagram eight and a seven (w a strong 6-wing) deal with #stayathome? Differently.

Once upon a time, we were in a “young marrieds” class at our church. There was a personality assessment distributed and after the results were tabulated, there was discussion about how different personality types function together as a couple. The instructor went around the room, asking each couple what their personality types were and then expounded about how their types work together in relationship. I don’t recall which assessment we were given. I don’t recall what our types were. I do recall, however, what happened when it was our turn to share.

After we told him (and the class) what our types were, the instructor just looked at us. An uncomfortable silence followed. Then he said something like, “Those two types, in combination, are the most difficult.” Well, now THAT was encouraging! But seriously, who doesn’t like a challenge?

Through the years, it is sometimes painfully obvious that we rub each other the wrong way. Little things can become monumental and neither of us could really understand how that happened. However, we love one another and promised “for better or for worse” so we thrilled during “the better” and took “the worse” in stride.

It really wasn’t until we started reading about Enneagram that we truly began to understand one another. We had always accepted each other’s strengths and weaknesses, but Enneagram gave us a language to talk about our relationship in a completely objective manner. Our understanding grew. Crazy! Married more than 30 years, and we began to have insights into one another and into our relationship that were, to us, revolutionary.

After the #stayathome orders were issued, it was almost like being in a laboratory observing each other as our unique personalities attempted to cope with our “new normal” while under the stress of the unknown.

How does #stayathome impact the eight? Well, he isn’t in control of the pandemic. He can’t control when stores open, what their lines are like, or how the supply chain is managed. Don’t get me wrong – he would like to control all that and more. There was the initial frustration and anger typical of an eight-not-in-control-of-the-world, but that’s exhausting – even for the eight. So what is he doing? He’s busy building a looooooong set of outdoor steps. The qualities the eight admires – strength, decision-making, control – are all essential as he muscles 14′ 6×6’s into what will become a 50+ foot long, 35+ foot high set of stairs.

Left on his own, the eight would build steps straight up the hill. And that would certainly get the job done. But he married a seven. And the seven has to make everything as enjoyable as possible. So her imagination kicked in and contributed a graceful set of curves to the steps. She has also envisioned plantings that will create a magical garden. (Truthfully, the seven would really like to build a Hobbit House on the slope, but sometimes her imagination does need to be reined in. Maybe.)

What about the seven? How is she coping with #stayathome? She is sewing face masks as part of the #millionmaskchallenge. She also is determined to create a fun adventure in her own backyard – not the easiest adventure to create since the household consists of two retired people, one of whom is building steps. But true to her nature, she is determined to have and share fun.

What about our plans to road trip across America? After the initial disappointment of being confined to “home”, we realized we are extremely fortunate to be healthy. No complaining here. The travel will come soon enough and when it does, we will be even more prepared. In the meantime. the eight is building steps. A lot of steps. And along the way, the seven is manufacturing fun. (“I have an idea!!!” ” 💡)

To that instructor in the long-ago class for young marrieds: “Listen, we’ve been at this for over 30 years and have a greater appreciation for one another than ever before. We aren’t incompatible. We are both strong personalities that can actually complement one another. We are better together.”