Our Enneagram Relationship content was co-developed with marital therapist-turned relationship coach Christa Hardin (MA)*.
Enneagram body types are motivated by a desire to be independent and self-sufficient. They are often very moral people who have a strong sense of right and wrong. There are three Enneagram body types: Eight, Nine and One.
Since body types want autonomy and seek control over their environment, you might think that they place a lower priority on relationships than other types. But the body types want to be loved as much as anyone else and will fiercely seek and defend the connection they feel with a significant other! These types can put up defenses quite quickly, however, so it's worth taking a moment to learn the deeper aspects of your body type as you begin the journey to love them more deeply.
ENNEAGRAM TYPE EIGHT
Our passionate Enneagram Eights long to be loved by a partner who isn’t intimidated by their energy and who is able to ‘fess up to deep love, no games. Their particular gift of bringing empowerment and protection to others is second only to their big dreams for their relationship with their partner and family. Your Eight will feel passionately loved by you if you commit to them as a lifelong partner who shows up for them in the same strong ways they show up for you – with sacrifice, strength, and enjoyment. If you are also willing to help them to express some of their more tumultuous energy when they are feeling extra passionate, they will be so grateful!
So what else do you need to know in order to love your Eight specifically?
To love your Eight, realize this first:
- Understand that Eights are prone to saying no in a discussion before saying yes, so let them digest what you say when you’re done talking. Don’t rush them.
- Eights are often sensitive to the world around them and they like order. As such, find out which ways of ordering make them feel safe and able to open up and relax.
- On the subject of order, stick to one focus in a discussion.
- Encourage workouts or even more than one workout a day if they have more energy than you/the family can handle.
- Understand they need time to rebuild trust when it has been broken. Work together to find what this will look like.
- Remember they need a partner who can help them to identify ways for energy and passion-release that are conducive to the relationship. This will take time.
Here are a few more tips to make your Eight feel safe and cared about:
- Don't gossip about the relationship.
- Talk about how much you love them and prioritize time with them.
- Let them know you share their passion about your love together even if you have less energy or different ways of exhibiting love than them.
- Communicate directly with them and do not over-talk. This is sometimes emotionally confusing for them and creates defensiveness.
- Verbally share appreciation for their strength and confidence but also allow them to know you are a safe place for them to be soft and vulnerable.
- Understand that they have strong opinions at first. They may scale these back over time if you give them time and space to think things over.
- Tell them if they’re coming on too strong or being too rigid for a compromise. Setting boundaries around your needs may draw them away at first but they will ultimately respect your agency and direct style of communicating your needs.
- Encourage them to get frequent fitness and self care in.
- Stand up for them when others are less than fair towards them. They do this for you and expect your loyalty in return.
ENNEAGRAM TYPE NINE
Our harmony-focused Enneagram Nines long to be loved by a partner who both knows how to have fun and who also sees their potential in the world and will help them to realize it. They have a particular gift of bringing peace to their family members and community. This is a beautiful gift, but your Nine also needs self care so they don’t burn out. Your Nine will feel supremely loved by you when you help them to stand up for themselves and their needs in the relationship, especially when you listen carefully to figure out what those needs are together!
So what else do you need to know in order to love your Nine specifically?
To love your Nine, realize this first:
- Be aware of their sensitivity and be extra kind when you have a conflict to address.
- Let them know that you love and respect them more when they assert their true opinions and feelings, but acknowledge that this is hard for your Nine to do.
- Understand they prioritize others ahead of themselves quite naturally.
- Encourage fitness every single day so they can remain awake to their own lives and in their often-tired bodies.
- Listen carefully to what they are saying as they deeply struggle with feeling unheard.
- Ask for forgiveness from old bygones. Nines tend to hold onto old wounds in fear of being disappointed again.
- They need personal time alone, at least a few hours a week.
- Encourage prioritized lists and healthy-and-fun rhythms and routines.
Here are a few more tips to make your Nine feel safe and cared about:
- Take breaks with them in between the hard work and stay positive as much as you can.
- Encourage them to have an hour or two each day, and a day on the weekend, to truly relax doing what they love for comfort.
- Don’t pressure them into making small decisions that they truly don’t care about.
- Help them to make the major decisions that need to be addressed by giving them time and options as needed.
- Apologize if you missed what they said and ask them to repeat it. Listen hard the second time or it will frustrate them further. If they mumble (which is very common for Nines) let them know you care enough to let them take their time in speaking.
- Be patient and don’t rush them in the mornings or during their routines, which makes them feel safe.
- Show them appreciation for their acts of service when they thoughtfully consider your needs.
- Encourage them to know that diverging opinions are normal and healthy in loving relationships. Otherwise, they may not speak up about their true feelings in fear of losing you.
- Tell them you appreciate their opinions. Compromise if you disagree.
- Encourage them to take care of themselves with physical fitness or bodywork (massage, stretching) daily.
ENNEAGRAM TYPE ONES
Enneagram Ones are improvement focused. They long to be loved by a partner who shares most if not all of their ideals for life, love, dreams, and the fun they so desire after the hard work is done each day. They have a particular gift of bettering the world, and this helps them to seek a spouse or partner who has a ton of inner potential so they can join in their multifaceted missions together.
Your One will feel oh-so-loved if you voluntarily commit to growing in your own potential and realizing your ideals. If you are also willing to power through your challenges and face each hurdle with hard work and grit – as well as help them through theirs as they also do their own work – they’ll hang on for dear life!
So what else do you need to know in order to love your One specifically?
To love your One, realize this first:
- They may have had more responsibility than was reasonable during childhood and they are often tired of pulling a great load single-handedly.
- They can be much harder on themselves than is healthy, realistic, or necessary at times.
- They need time to process and to cool down if they are overstimulated or overwhelmed with sensory details in the environment (noise, traffic, messes, etc).
- They can struggle with resentment if they forget that everyone has struggles, not just them.
- In their idealism, they can be envious of presumed perfection in life or relationships elsewhere.
- They forget perfection is a great goal but that life often falls short of perfection and their life is “really good” also.
- Since they often feel like they work harder than everyone else, they have to work against that circular negative thought spiral.
- They can judge others without knowing their full story and this rigidity can cause deep wounds in their partner, family, and community. They know this most times but it’s hard for them to stop doing what comes naturally in this way, so they need grace.
Here are a few more tips to make your One feel safe and cared about:
- Tell them they’re doing a good job and get specific about it.
- Share the work and responsibilities with them and let them know when you’re tired out from the long days you also bear.
- Talk them back up after the inner critic has torn them down.
- Be fair and considerate to them and others.
- Encourage them to pause before saying yes to things they don’t want to do. Remind them that it is impossible to do it all without adding too much stress, even though they feel guilty for saying no.
- Remind them that they can only go for the long haul with their health and fitness if they rest.
- Listen to them vent without trying to fix or manage the problem. But if they ask for ideas, offer them, since Ones can be thinking inhibited.
- Make plans in advance so they have something to look forward to but consult them on the plans first so you can compromise together.
- Bring them relaxation and play after the hard work and projects.
Click here to find the Enneagram and Marriage Glow Pairing Guides for every possible type combination so you can find tips for loving your Eight, Nine or One body type with each of the individual types!