The Tender Marine (excerpt from The Nine Keys)

  This is an excerpt from “The Nine Keys”

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.”

8:9 The Theory

8:9 When In Balance

This is a pairing that can be extremely balancing, inspiring and healing for one another. The Leader (8) shows the Peacemaker (9) how to behave with confidence and assertion, and the Peacemaker (9) shows the Leader (8) how to behave with acceptance, accommodation and receptivity to create a soothing, harmonious environment. Together, this pair can have a very supportive, satisfying and fulfilling relationship.


Leader (8)s bring directness, leadership, decisiveness and a bold “take charge” mentality to the dynamic. They can be brash, fierce and confident with big energy and a powerful life force. The more easygoing Peacemaker (9)s admire and are fascinated by these traits, finding the Leader (8) magnetic, attractive and alluring. They appreciate 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.


When these two types are aligned with goals and appreciative of their differences, they can be a dynamic, effective pair: a powerful mast and a durable sail.


8:9 The Downward Spiral

Under stress with tightening defenses, this couple polarizes. The Leader (8) seeks resolution by adopting a strategy of direct confrontation. The Peacemaker (9) heads in the other direction, adopting an avoidant strategy of stonewalling and shutting down. These opposite strategies prompt a more intense reaction in the other, and the downward spiral is triggered.


The Leader (8)s almost can’t relax until they understand where they stand so it can be hard to de-escalate a conflict with a Peacemaker (9) in retreat. As the Leader (8) becomes more direct and more aggressive, the Peacemaker (9) shuts down, stonewalls and numbs out even more to avoid conflict. The Leader (8) may interpret this withdrawal as rejection, triggering more anger and more intensity. The downward spiral gains momentum as the Leader (8)’s aggression prompts more withdrawal from the Peacemaker (9). The environment can get heated with verbal aggression, anger and threats.


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. The depth and power of a Peacemaker (9)’s stubbornness are often miscalculated so the conflicts can continue in a simmering state with no path to resolution on the horizon. Eventually the Leader (8) may turn away in disgust, but at this point contempt has entered the picture.

Without a mechanism to break the momentum, the downward spiral may continue until a line is crossed, and the relationship ends.


8:9 The Lighthouse 

Different stress responses trigger the downward spiral in this couple so learning to be energetically still under stress is important. Both Leader (8)s and Peacemaker (9)s are powerful people.  When they move in opposite directions, they stubbornly polarize. To break the momentum, both types need to strengthen their nervous system to allow for this stillness.


8:9 The Kundalini Yoga Connection

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.



Do you want to improve your relationship?

To learn more about the Leader (8) and Peacemaker (9) dynamic, personal testimonials of this type combination from both perspectives, relationship keys for success as well as Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations for each type, download “The Nine Keys: A Guide Book to Unlock Your Relationships Using Kundalini Yoga and the Enneagram” here.


Download Your Free Ebook “3-Minute Meditations for Each Enneagram Type"

Get your guide to the 9 Enneagram types with a different Kundalini Yoga meditation for each type. These meditations are designed to relax your habit of attention and build self awareness - starting in as little as 3 minutes a day.