Amelia, Enthusiast (7) married in a 26-year relationship with Jan, Loyalist (6)
“My husband is hilarious and playful with a razor-sharp and millisecond-quick wit. I love that he makes me laugh almost every day and that he is a good and solid man. He is extremely loyal, dependable and thoughtful. He brings wisdom; I can come to him with a problem, and his insights are wonderful. He models hospitality and generosity, which are not effortless or easy for me. He helps keep me grounded and reigns me in when I start getting too scattered with my many activities and projects.
In our relationship, we enjoy verbal sparring and do it all the time! We have silly or clever things we came up with years ago that we still use with each other. I feel secure in the relationship because he is wonderfully loyal. I never have to worry about him being unfaithful to me- I know in my bones it isn’t in his character to cheat.
We’ve had to work on balancing his negative thinking and my unbridled enthusiasm. He is keenly aware of limitations and why things cannot be done whereas I’m more likely to believe all things are possible. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, I don’t like limitations, and I have a higher risk tolerance so we occasionally have uncomfortable moments… Every time I hand him the tax information for my fledgling business, which always shows losses, he freaks out a bit. This is despite the fact I’m using seed investment from an outside supporter.
His pessimistic side can seem extreme. He tends to catastrophize, so if our cat doesn’t act quite right one day, she must have feline AIDS. A mysterious bug bite leads to him strip and disinfect all bedding and the mattress with bed bug spray. Before I knew the Enneagram, I would be insensitive about his worrying, telling him he’s over-reacting and trying to talk him out of it or even expressing open disdain. Now that I understand that he can’t help where his attention goes, and his experience is different than mine, I just schedule the vet appointment or help wash linens and don’t say much. I try to be supportive because that’s what he needs most at these times.
I’ve had to adjust to some of his ways. He can have low self-esteem which at times triggers depression, a situation that is really hard on both of us. He doesn’t forgive easily and holds grudges a long time, and despite the fact it isn’t logical, he doesn’t fully trust me. In earlier years, this used to make me really sad, but I have learned it isn’t personal. Being in a relationship for such a long time is a great way to learn unconditional love. I love him irrespective of how much he is able to trust me.
One of our quirks as a couple is that we almost never have resolution to an argument. We rarely argue, but when we do, we never get to “I’m sorry”’ or “Oh, I can see your point of view.” We just eventually come to a stalemate and move on.
While we understand each other well, I do wish he felt that some of my new projects and ideas are valid. He can be dismissive of them without really being discerning that some are good ideas. And I wish he knew how sad it makes me when he takes it for granted that I’m resilient. He sometimes assumes he can be callous with me because, as he says, “You’ll get over it.”
Despite our normal relationship issues, my husband is precious to me. Ninety percent of our relationship is sweet, easy and life-giving. He is my greatest joy; I can’t wait to get home from work to see his face and ask how his day went. And that’s after more than a quarter-century of marriage! Through him I’ve learned we all have flaws that we’re trying to work out. It’s been a non-stop lesson in letting go of ego and loving without cause. With him I’ve found an amazing partner for this journey, and I’m extremely grateful he’s my husband. “
The Theory: Loyalist (6) with Enthusiast (7)
As Loyalist (6)s and Enthusiast (7)s are both part of the Head Center/Mental Triad in the Enneagram, they connect intellectually, and there can be a lot of mental stimulation between these two. Witty and humorous, they have a rich verbal connection and enjoy sparring, discussing, debating and entertaining each other. Both can be outrageous, with Enthusiast (7)s more positive and directly entertaining, and Loyalist (6)s reigning the story in and adding vivid detail.
Their differences, which are many, can be balancing. Enthusiast (7)s are idea generators and gain great pleasure in imagining new possibilities. Follow through and execution are rarely their strong points so they are grateful for their Loyalist (6)’s attention to practical details and implementation. Enthusiast (7)s show Loyalist (6)s another perspective on fear and limitation, helping them to become less paralyzed in their doubt and worry. Enthusiast (7)s offer expansive thinking, a sense of possibility, positive energy and an ability to be decisive. As they aren’t encumbered by a fear of failure, they are resilient and bold. This can be tempered, in a healthy way, by the Loyalist (6) more accurate discernment of the situation.
Loyalist (6)s model commitment, loyalty, realistic thinking and danger awareness. Loyalist (6)s slow down the pace of decision-making, ensuring all angles are covered and dangers minimized. They have a thorough, methodical approach to life that helps to balance the impulsiveness of the Enthusiast (7). The Enthusiast (7) may come to rely on these traits of their Loyalist (6) and feel even more emboldened to try more new things with their Loyalist (6) at their side.
Together they have both strategic and tactical thinking combined. Both can see around the corner in their own way, the Enthusiast (7) to a bright possibility of success and the Loyalist (6) to all the potential pitfalls that must be avoided to ensure this success. The Enthusiast (7) provides stimulation and the Loyalist (6) offers regulation.
Challenges and Potential Issues
As in all pairings, the level of self-awareness has a lot to do with the success or failure of this couple. In average to lower levels of awareness, the fundamentally different worldviews of these two types become polarizing factors and can begin a downward spiral. Loyalist (6)s are concerned with issues of security and a predictable future. Anxiety is usually part of their daily experience, and to reduce their anxiety, they take proactive steps to eliminate and minimize anything that risks their security, including areas of health, profession, safety and romantic interest. They try to stay grounded in reality with an eye to what could go wrong.
In contrast, Enthusiast (7)s are interested in trying new things, exploring the unknown and keeping an upbeat, positive attitude. They believe all things are possible and are not particularly interested in hearing about problems or limitations with their ideas and plans. They can be impatient, impulsive and avoidant. This avoidance can trigger stress in the Loyalist (6), making them ratchet up their caution and concern about what could go wrong. Thus the downward spiral gains momentum as the Enthusiast (7) sees their Loyalist (6) as negative, fearful and overly cautious, and the Loyalist (6) sees their Enthusiast (7) as avoidant, escapist and dangerously unrealistic. Both begin to doubt a happy future with the other.
Issues can also arise around the area of commitment. Loyalist (6)s are looking for a partner to build a stable, predictable future. Enthusiast (7)s often experience commitment as limitation and enter into them reluctantly. Both may start to focus on what they feel are the negative qualities of the other. The Loyalist (6) questions the Enthusiast (7)’s reliability and suitability for a long-term stable relationship. The Enthusiast (7) feels the Loyalist (6) is too cautious and too pessimistic, bringing down the upbeat mood the Enthusiast (7) works hard to achieve. As the downward spiral gains momentum, the Loyalist (6) becomes distrustful and suspicious of the Enthusiast (7). The Enthusiast (7) starts to look for an escape door. If the couple can’t find a way to reconcile their different worldviews and expectations, the relationship splits apart.
The Kundalini Yoga connection:
The trigger for the downward spiral is anxiety, which both Enthusiast (7)s and Loyalist (6)s experience but react to differently. The Loyalist (6) tries to remove risk and the Enthusiast (7) tries to remove limitations. Thus, the break the momentum of the downward spiral, both partners needs to develop healthier coping mechanisms to manage their anxiety.
The Loyalist (6) typically has a more direct relationship with their anxiety and can sometimes be so anxious that they need a powerful physical practice to quiet their mind. Kundalini Yoga kriyas to bring them out of their head and into their body are beneficial. Kundalini Yoga meditations incorporating breathwork to lower anxiety and to develop trust are also helpful.
Enthusiast (7)s need to resist the urge to avoid the negative and they need to manage their tendency to be impatient and impulsive. Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations to build the nervous system help them tolerate negative emotions. Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations to lower anxiety help them slow down and clarify their thinking.
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 email@example.com. These type combinations are particularly helpful to the survey.
The book, The Nine Keys, will be out in 2018! This book contains 90 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.