This episode focuses on the topic of personality, which is under the Timbre section of our “Marriage as a Love Song” series. In this first part, we give an overview of the Enneagram personality typing system. We provide a brief description of each number on the Enneagram, and we talk about each number’s deadly sin.

013: The Timbre of Marriage—Personality, Part 01

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Truly Equal is a marriage podcast created by Kyle and Christi Playford. Our goal is to talk about marriage from a fresh perspective. We tell stories about our lives, talk about how marriage is like a love song, and give practical solutions to the problems we've encountered.

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Background

Kyle and I are both millennials and we're trying to figure out who we are. Personality tests can often help us with that. A lot of marriage books approach the topic from a gendered perspective (i.e. men act this way and women act that way). This approach wasn't helpful for us because we didn't fit those stereotypical gendered roles. Our hope is that coming at marriage from the perspective of spiritual gifts, personality, and context will help broaden this discussion and help people feel more included.

Growing up, Kyle and I were both taught that God designed men to be leaders and women to be submissive. Kyle was often forced into a leadership role. Many times he didn't want the leadership role, and didn't feel qualified for it. This created a lot of inner conflict within himself. For me, it was the exact opposite. I was told to submit, be a good helper, and serve others. However, those are not the strong suits of my personality or my spiritual gifts. This would cause me to ask, "Am I a good woman? Is something wrong with me?" Once we realized there was an egalitarian way of doing marriage it freed us a lot. Now we look at marriage from the perspective of spiritual gifts and personality, which helps us identify what our strengths and weaknesses. We ask, "Who is best suited/qualified for each task?"

 

An Overview of the Enneagram

We've been on a search for a great personality typing system, and the best one we've found so far is called the Enneagram. It's a numbered system where each person has one of the nine numbers as their personality type. It's helpful to think of each personality type as a spectrum of one color. For example, the color red might correspond with the number one. However each person who has the personality type of the one will be unique; just like there are an unlimited variety of the shades and hues of the color red. So for part one of our personality series, we thought it would be helpful to go through the basics of each number. The book we've found to be the most helpful on this topic is The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile. All of our definitions for each personality type are taken from their book. But before we dive into each personality type, we must remember that God made everyone with their own unique personality. Ian and Suzanne said it best in this quote from their book:

"For the record, no personality type is better or worse than another, each has it's own strengths and weaknesses, and none is gender-biased."

So without future ado, here is an overview of the nine personality types on the Enneagram:

 
 
 
Type One: The Perfectionist
Ethical, dedicated and reliable, they are motivated by a desire to live the right way, improve the world, and avoid fault and blame. Deadly Sin: anger
Type Two: The Helper
Warm, caring and giving, they are motivated by a need to be loved and needed, and to avoid acknowledging their own needs. Deadly Sin: pride
Type Three: The Performer
Success-oriented, image-conscious and wired for productivity, they are motivated by a need to be (or appear to be) successful and to avoid failure. Deadly Sin: deceit
Type Four: The Romantic
Creative, sensitive and moody, they are motivated by a need to be understood, experience their oversized feelings and avoid being ordinary. Deadly Sin: envy
Type Five: The Investigator
Analytical, detached and private, they are motivated by a need to gain knowledge, conserve energy and avoid relying on others. Deadly Sin: avarice
Type Six: The Loyalist
Committed, practical and witty, they are worst-case-scenario thinkers who are motivated by fear and the need for security. Deadly Sin: fear
Type Seven: The Enthusiast
Fun, spontaneous and adventurous, they are motivated by a need to be happy, to plan stimulating experiences and to avoid pain. Deadly Sin: gluttony
Type Eight: The Challenger
Commanding, intense and confrontational, they are motivated by a need to be strong and avoid feeling weak or vulnerable. Deadly Sin: lust
Type Nine: The Peacemaker
Pleasant, laid back and accommodating, they are motivated by a need to keep the peace, merge with others and avoid conflict. Deadly Sin: sloth

 

Additional Resources

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery — A book by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

The Road Back to You: Discover Your Enneagram — A quiz to help you figure out your Enneagram number

Typology — A podcast by Ian Morgan Cron on the Enneagram

The Enneagram (Episode 37) — An episode on The Liturgists Podcast about the Enneagram

The Enneagram Institute — A website dedicated to the Enneagram


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