The Tender Marine

Photocredit:  Josh Christophersen

Sydney, Peacemaker (9) in a 2-year relationship with Richard, Leader (8)

“I value Richard’s strength and decisiveness, and the fact that we share great conversation, a sense of humor and much laughter together. He is fiercely and uncompromisingly principled, and I can count on him to do the right thing. He came from a very painful childhood in which even his basic survival was threatened, but he came out not only strong and independent, but also surprisingly tender at times. His tenderness is made all the more sweet because it is occasional and not smothering. He is a rock to lean on, as long as I don’t become clingy, and offers total acceptance of who I am. He was a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps and can be trusted to take charge and to persevere until he succeeds. His drive to succeed is so great that all those under his leadership–in the military, in his family or professionally– end up benefiting, and everyone loves him for it.


I find his decisiveness and innate authoritativeness very attractive and fascinating, and as someone who can be accommodating and indecisive, it is a relief to be with someone who knows and says what he wants. He is straightforward about his wants or when he has a problem so I don’t have to guess what he means.  


Sexually, the combination of his forthrightness and strong desires with my drive to please and be receptive is an endlessly repeating positive loop. This dynamic has created the most physically satisfying relationship either of us has ever had.


I appreciate that he is happy to be with me and expresses it. He has said repeatedly that I am “so easy to be with” and that I make him feel wonderful. Before our relationship, he was in a  25-year marriage with someone with whom he had a more difficult dynamic. He has expressed that he is delighted to be with someone who doesn’t make demands, who doesn’t compete with him and who is kind to him.  I think he has always had so much conflict in his family of origin and previous relationship that my easygoing acceptance is a new experience for him.


Like all relationships, we’ve had our challenges.  He is so fiercely self-protective that he sometimes has difficulty trusting me– despite our  2-year history of me being trustworthy to him. He manages his anger, but he does still get angry, and it takes the form of shutting himself off and ending a conversation abruptly so that he will not lose his temper.


Trying to control him in any way backfires.  I am actually grateful for this because I have now met my match – a person I cannot manipulate. It forces me to be responsible for meeting my own needs and standing on my own two feet.  I learned this because early in our relationship I was guilty of some passive-aggressive behavior. However my passive aggressive reactions only either confused him, caused him to shut himself off or he missed it completely and did what he wanted to do. The bottom line was that the passive aggressive strategy was so pointless, I stopped doing it.


I’ve also had to learn he expresses love in his own way and on his own timetable. Richard does not gush, he is not effusive and his expressions of love and tenderness are not plentiful. But when they do occur, they touch me deeply because I imagine that for him, loving me feels like giving away a piece of his heart, and it must be terrifying to fear that I might not treat that piece of his heart with care. His expressions of love or tenderness are spontaneous and heartfelt but do not occur often, and the same expression usually does not occur twice. This means that if he says something like “I wish we had met when we were younger, we would have been great parents together,” “You are such a gentle soul, I love that,” or if he reveals anything private about his feelings or his past, I should remain calm, savor the moment, not make a big deal out of it, and hold it close to my heart because he is not likely to say or do the same thing any time in the near future.


I imagine that many women might not be satisfied with his sporadic expressions of love; also many of them would not even recognize that allowing your girlfriend to sit at your bedside in the hospital or trusting her to communicate with your kids in an emergency situation could be acts of love, but I know him well enough now to know that they are tremendous expressions of love, tenderness and trust. I treasure these gifts because I know how difficult it is for him to be helpless and rely on someone else.


I’ve also learned that trying to pull expressions of love out of him is never a good idea. If he feels like anyone is attempting to control him in any way, he will do the opposite thing just to make sure he remains in charge. I file his expressions of love away in my mind, and if find myself in need of reassurance, I reach into my own mind and touch those, rather than trying to get him to perform on command.


Overall, I’m very satisfied in my relationship.  I never before in my life have felt so totally accepted by another human being as I feel with Richard.”

The Theory


This is a pairing that can be extremely balancing, inspiring and healing for one another.


Leader (8)s bring directness, leadership, decisiveness and a bold “take charge” mentality to the dynamic.  They can be brash and confident with big energy and a powerful life force. The more easygoing Peacemaker (9s) admire and are fascinated by these traits, finding the Leader (8) magnetic and alluring. They love being around the Leader (8)s spirit and vitality and can be energized by their Leader (8)s presence. The Peacemaker (9) enjoys having someone to look up to, and the Leader (8) enjoys the admiration.


Peacemaker (9)s bring calm, stability, acceptance and a soothing, healing manner to the dynamic.  They accept and appreciate the Leader (8) which gives the Leader (8) even more strength and encouragement to tackle life’s challenges. Their peaceful, quiet energy balances the brashness of the Leader (8), and they offer a secure home, a safe harbor, a tranquil sanctuary for the Leader (8) to retreat to after life’s daily battles.


Together they model behavior that is important for the other to learn. Peacemaker (9)s teach Leader (8)s to be judicious in their choice of battles and how to let some issues go.  Leader (8)s teach Peacemaker (9)s how to be direct, confident, decisive and assertive. This couple illustrates an active force and a receptive force working together and has an archetypal feeling about it. Their roles are clear and separate, one pushing things powerfully forward, the other allowing space to rejuvenate and relax.


Both types enjoy comfortable living and simplicity and seek a safe haven from life’s battlefields. When these two types are aligned with their talents and goals, they can be a dynamic, effective pair, a powerful mast and a durable sail.


Challenges and Potential Issues

Under stress, this couple has the potential to move in opposite energetic directions, and this polarization can cause conflict.  Leader (8)s push harder to know where they stand and to overcome opposition.  Peacemaker (9)s shut down, stonewall and numb out to avoid conflict. The Leader (8) may interpret this withdrawal as rejection, triggering more anger.  The downward spiral begins as the Leader (8)s aggression prompts more withdrawal and disengagement from the Peacemaker (9). This further fuels that anger of the Leader (8) who wants straight answers and direct confrontation. The environment can get heated with name calling, berating and threats.


Eventually the Leader (8) starts to lose interest in the Peacemaker (9), feeling obstructed instead of supported. The Peacemaker (9)’s lack of enthusiasm for the Leader (8)’s vision and drive feels like rejection and a no confidence vote.


From the Peacemaker (9)’s perspective, the Leader (8) has become too controlling, harsh and domineering.  What before felt like leadership now feels like dictatorship, and it triggers stubborn, passive aggression in the Peacemaker (9). The depth and power of Peacemaker (9)’s stubbornness is often miscalculated, and the Leader (8) is surprised to learn the Peacemaker (9) can’t be molded to the Leader (8)’s needs or pushed around.


Anger festers on both sides, the Leader (8) becoming openly harsh and hostile and the Peacemaker (9) withdrawing further and further. The Peacemaker (9) may engage to protect their children or others who they feel are bearing the brunt of the Leader (8)s wrath. If the downward spiral gains momentum, the relationship can deteriorate to a domestic battlefield characterized by neglect and verbal or even physical abuse.


The Kundalini Yoga Connection:  Different stress responses trigger the downward spiral in this couple so learning to be energetically still under stress is important. Both types need to strengthen their nervous system to allow for this stillness.

Leader (8)s need to learn to act, not react and to manage the intense energy of their anger response.  Their desire for direct confrontation triggers a response to shut down in the Peacemaker (9).  Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations to burn out anger and to slow the anger response are helpful.

Peacemaker (9)s need to resist the urge to withdraw in the face of stress and potential conflict. They need to stand their ground and voice their feelings instead of withdrawing and relying on stubborn, passive-aggressive behavior.  Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations to strengthen the aura, activate the throat (fifth) chakra and strengthen the core are beneficial.

For more information about Enneagram Type compatibility, please go to the Enneagram Institute’s Type Combinations.

If you know your Enneagram type and the type of your partner (or ex-partner), please consider participating in my relationship survey!  Message me at  These type combinations are particularly helpful to the survey.

The book, The Nine Keys, will be out in 2018! This book contains 81 testimonials similar to the one above along with four Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations.  To get on the pre-order listing, please email me at