We are excited to share with you stories of Enneagram and Marriage and today we are introducing you to Jessica and Michael Beans. This August, we are hosting Enneagram Conversations on the Enneagram and Marriage, so we thought what better way to prep for an outstanding conversation than to explore real life couples doing life with the Enneagram.
Meet Jessica and Michael. We met this couple in our pursuit of Enneagram products for the market, and instantly fell in love with their Enneagram Coffee line. They hosted an Enneagram Conversations with us on Affirmation, and shared a bit of their journey with the Enneagram in their own relationship, and we are excited to share their story with you.
Jessica: Enneagram 3w4 | Michael: Enneagram 9
How did you meet? We were both living in Cairo, Egypt while taking a year off of college. We were teachers at the same high school and got to know each other as friends for the year while living, working, and traveling together.
How Long Have You Been Married?
How did you learn about the Enneagram?
We were introduced to the Enneagram briefly in 2013 by a friend. Her therapist had used this tool with her and she had found so helpful she shared it with us and we started the typing process. However, it wasn’t until Sleeping at Last released their first Enneagram song “ONE” with the corresponding podcast, that we dove in deep. We both jumped in then soaking up every book, podcast, coffee conversation with friends about their type and its impact on their life and this is when we really started using the Enneagram in our marriage in a big way.
Jessica, what is your favorite aspect of Michael’s Enneagram Type?
Michael, as a 9, has a quiet confidence and consistent calm about him. Being a 9, he grounds me constantly. He is so incredibly affirming of me and others in our life and there is just an ease about him that makes it so easy to be around him. Another thing about his 9-ness is that he can get snarky and quietly feisty at times too, which is so funny to be around. He doesn’t take himself so seriously. He is so grounded in his beliefs and since he is able to see so many issues from every side, he offers such an empathetic and wholesome perspective. He is one of the most affirming and accepting people I know.
Michael, what is your favorite aspect of Jessica’s Enneagram Type?
My favorite thing about her type is her ability to organize and direct people and get them to work together in a healthy and efficient way. She brings people together and empowers them. She intuitively knows how to create a positive dynamic.
And what’s the hardest part about Michael’s Enneagram Type?
As a 9, Michael is so averse to conflict that he will sub-continuously avoid simple communication with me sometimes when there are things I could easily correct. He will stuff small frustrations until it boils over and I didn’t know I was bugging him all along. As a 9, he says it takes him so much energy to communicate simple wishes like, “turn the lights off when you a leave a room,” or “don’t load the knives into the dishwasher” – there are things like this that I feel I could simply correct if I knew about them or was reminded, but he will wait weeks or even months to let me know how much some things frustrate him. Once he boils over and gets it out, we typically laugh at ourselves but it’s hard when simple communication up-front could solve a lot of these blow ups.
Also, it’s really hard to see how little he values his own expertise and voice. He is so amazing at so many things but he undervalues and sells himself short a lot. I wish he could see the value that so many others see in him and trust his own voice at times.
And what’s the hardest part about Jessica’s Enneagram Type?
The hardest part for me about my wife being a type 3 is knowing when I need to be motivated and work harder or when it’s actually okay to relax. I don’t know how to find balance sometimes as I tend to look to her to set the pace for when it’s appropriate to rest. We run a business together so it sometimes feels like we’re always driving forward and it’s hard to know when I can let myself off the hook and take some time off.
How has learning the Enneagram helped you understand him?
Understanding that a 9 is in the body center meaning he uses his gut and anger to process was revolutionary for me. Understanding that his spurts of frustration and “boiling over” at times come from him stuffing and that this is his way of communicating dissonance in his soul and it doesn’t have to do with me (I’m in the heart center so feeling shame was an quick response in the past). It has been so helpful to see this and start to appreciate and hear when he shares his frustration as that is key to understanding his opinions. Also, learning to respect his energy levels has been important. When he’s tired and needs to check out, I’m learning to notice that and respect that time.
And how has learning the Enneagram helped you understand her?
I understand much better about why she cares so much about her reputation and why she protects it so much. I’ve learned that it’s a key to excelling and succeeding in the future and it can be really helpful. I never understood before why she cared so much about what others thought of her, but now I feel like I am starting to understand and respect this in her and affirm her in her value as well.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned thanks to understanding the Enneagram?
This is such a hard question to answer as there are SOOO many lessons we’ve learned. Having language to express why there is dissonance or what we’re feeling under stress has been the most helpful. We are able to listen to a podcast or read an Enneagram book and then we can put our feelings into words and vocalize nuanced and complex concepts to better understand what is going on in our interactions.
Both of us are anchor point numbers, meaning we are the center of the gut and heart center. This means both us tend to stuff and repress our feelings and intuition. It was revolutionary in our marriage to understand this and encourage one another to connect to our center. I (Jessica) have continued to learn to journal, reflect, and express and name my feelings. Michael as a 9, has continued to learn to lean into his intuition and connect to his body through physical activity. This makes us both better by allowing us to connect to ourselves and, in turn, to better connect to each other.
And just because we’re gift people, we wanted to know–
I really feel loved when he gifts me: Any gift related to self-care. He has given me massage gift cards or pedicures or planned an afternoon adventure or picnic and that has always been my favorite.
I really feel loved when she gifts me: Hand-crafted, local or intentional gifts. I really appreciate small businesses and companies that are intentional about where they source from or are hand-crafted. I love knowing that a maker has put work into his/her craft.
So much love and respect for this sweet couple and the work they’ve done to know themselves and love others well–we loved learning more about Jessica and Michael’s journey with the Enneagram and how it’s impacted their marriage.
Make sure to sign up for our Enneagram + Marriage conversation we are having on August 20 and 21, 2020 with Enneagram + Marriage Podcaster Christa Hardin. Head over to our Events tab to register to hold your spot now.