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)
When in Balance
When understanding and accepting of their differences, the Loyalist (6) and the Enthusiast (7) can make a charming, successful and balancing couple. Both types are future-oriented, verbal and enjoy entertaining each other with colorful stories and lively debate. Their habit of attention points in opposite ways and when self-aware, they use this difference as an asset. The unbridled enthusiasm of the Enthusiast (7) and the cautious discernment of the Loyalist (6) balance each other with the Enthusiast (7)’s eyes looking up at the stars and the Loyalist (6)’s feet planted firmly on the ground.
The Loyalist (6) brings a cautious, methodical approach to life. They carefully plan and analyze potential future outcomes always with an eye for danger and pitfalls. They model commitment, discipline, reliability, loyalty, duty, realistic thinking and danger awareness. The Enthusiast (7) may come to rely on these traits and may feel even more emboldened to try new things with their Loyalist (6) at their side.
The Enthusiast (7) offers enthusiasm, expansive thinking, high spirits, a positive outlook, adventure and a constant source of new ideas. They can be decisive and action-oriented. As they aren’t encumbered by a fear of failure, they model resilience and boldness, traits which are refreshing for the Loyalist (6) to witness.
This couple genuinely enjoys each other’s company. They find their differences as points of intrigue and balance and offer steady, loyal support to each other. Their affection towards each other is observable, and this can be a sweet, charming and successful match.
The Downward Spiral
The radically different habits of attention of these two types can become a weakness is lower states of self-awareness. When unaccepting of their different worldviews, this couple starts to polarize, and the downward spiral is triggered.
Loyalist (6)s are focused on security and seek a safe, predictable future. Anxiety is often part of their daily experience and to reduce their anxiety, they take proactive steps to eliminate or minimize perceived threats to their security. They seek to keep their feet firmly grounded on the earth and their eyes scanning for what could go wrong.
Enthusiast (7)s look at the world differently. Their focus goes to 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 triggers stress in the Loyalist (6) , making them ratchet up their caution and concern about what could go wrong. The downward spiral gains momentum as the Enthusiast (7) sees their Loyalist (6) as negative, fearful and overly cautious. And in turn the Loyalist (6) seems their Enthusiast (7) as avoidant, escapist and dangerously unrealistic. Each polarizes further into their corner, triggering the other even more. Both may begin to double a happy future with the other.
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. Risk and limitations are both unavoidable aspects of life. Developing a balanced relationship to risk and limitation by both partners helps this relationship.
The Kundalini Yoga connection:
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.
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.
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.