Stand By Me: 6 Ways You Can Choose to Be a More Loving and Supportive SpouseAug 02, 2019
Hi, Friends. It’s Your Your Enneagram Coach Beth here, back to talk to you about how we can best support our spouses and the other important people in our lives. I recently did a series about this very topic, with tips for loving, encouraging, and pointing your partner back to Christ. Below is a free download of the complete resource so you can easily access it and start applying the strategies in your relationship right away. Even if you’re not currently dating or married, this Enneagram knowledge can help you love all your people in a way that makes them feel seen, heard, and valued.
Are you struggling in your marriage? I know from experience that it’s all too easy to look at your relationship during a particularly stressful or turbulent season and feel completely helpless. If you think you’ve lost control, in a way, you’re right. Your partner is inherently flawed, and sometimes their hurtful words and actions can wound you to your core. No matter how hard you try, you don’t have the power to change them.
But there is good news: It’s not your job to change them. It’s God’s job! He intricately created you and your spouse to display His glory in different ways. The Enneagram is a powerful tool for helping us understand one another’s unique hardwiring, and the Core Motivations behind everything we do. This awareness can be a game-changer, providing a life raft during the worst of relational storms. It can guide us to better communicate, avoid misunderstandings, resolve conflicts, and show up for one another with more grace and compassion.
No matter your Enneagram Type combination, sin can make its way into your relationship. We are all broken people living in a fallen world, and that means struggles are inevitable. Even though you can’t change your partner, you can decide how you’ll respond to them. Will you compound trouble by reacting sinfully, or will you choose a better way? Will you do everything in your power to understand your mate, and encourage them in a way that points them back to the truth of the Gospel?
Here are six choices you can make to be a more loving and supportive spouse, no matter your partner’s Type. Whether your marriage is currently thriving or on the brink of failure, exhibiting these qualities can only help in bringing more restoration, harmony, and freedom in your relationship.
1. Choose Selflessness Over Selfishness
So many times, relationships become problematic because both partners are asking, “What’s best for ME?” instead of “What is God doing in and through US?” Resist the temptation of self-centeredness, which erodes the heart and design God has for marriage. Even when it’s inconvenient, or you flat out don’t want to do it, take the time to look at things from your partner’s perspective and consider their wants and needs before your own.
2. Choose Humility Over Pride
Make the holiness of Christ and His commands the standard in your relationship. If you don’t, human nature will always cause you to set yourself up as the standard. Nothing exposes this tendency more than a conflict. Pride leads each partner to believe they are more righteous than the other, honing in on one another’s weaknesses and doing everything they can to make the other see them too. This keeps both people from examining their own hearts, owning up to their shortcomings, and pursuing the lasting growth and transformation that only comes through Christ.
3. Choose Intimacy Over Isolation
We were created to be in relationship, and healthy relationships cannot be independent. When struggles come, our natural response is to move away from our partner. But in so doing, we miss out on one of God’s principal means of provision. Even when it’s hard, and everything in you wants to run away, press into intimacy, bravely allowing yourself to be authentic and vulnerable with your partner. You weren’t made to do life alone!
4. Choose Curiosity Over “Assumicide”
From my experience, the act of “assumicide” is so often what gets in the way of compassion and leads to the most conflict in marriages. Assumicide is the act of assuming you know why your partner says or does something, but a wrong assumption can hurt your spouse and the relationship. Even if you’ve been together for 75 years, stay curious about your spouse, their internal world, and the lens through which they view the world. If you make yourself the source of wisdom, you’ll miss out on the humble, teachable attitude that is vital to a thriving relationship. Remember, one of the main reasons God put you with your spouse is so you can complement and learn from one another, making for a richer adventure together!
5. Choose Lasting Fulfillment Over Temporary Satisfaction
When you try to find contentment outside of Christ, you go in one of two directions in your relationship. You’ll either become disinterested in your spouse when you feel they interfere with your happiness, or you will look to your partner to be your main source of your joy. Spoiler alert: neither direction leads to a thriving partnership or deep spiritual walk.
6. Choose Alignment with the Gospel Over Misalignment
When we’re misaligned with the Gospel, our minds and hearts wander from our true identity in Christ, and we try to control arguments and issues in our own strength. But when we’re aligned with the Gospel, we know, believe and trust in the finished work of Christ, and our behavior is a reflection of our identity as His children. If we reject God’s wise authority and replace it with self-rule, we expect our spouses to become our subjects, submitting under our authority. Are you trying to dominate your partner and have them submit to your rule, or are you seeking the sovereign will and authority of Christ in your heart and relationship?
If you’re currently struggling in your marriage or other close relationship, it could be because you’re falling into some common sin traps. It’s time to choose something different. Ask the Lord to reveal to you the areas where your relationship has gone astray, and where you may have caused harm to your partner. Then go to your spouse and ask for forgiveness. Though it can be hard to face the truth, it’s the first step toward lasting growth and change.
God is a good Father, and He won’t desert you in this process. Ask Him to meet you right where you are, and to show you how to be the best husband or wife you can be. Relying on His word and the powerful tool of the Enneagram, you and your partner can grow into the best versions of yourselves and fulfill His specific calling on your relationship. As always, I’m cheering you on every step of the way.
Are you ready to dig deeper into applying a Gospel-centered Enneagram in your marriage? No matter the stage or season of your relationship or your specific struggles, my heart is to show you how to better communicate, resolve conflict, support one another, and grow into the couple you were designed to be. Don’t miss out on these marriage growth opportunities and resources in the coming months:
- Join us for an Enneagram Date Night: The last few months, my husband Jeff and I have been hosting Becoming Us Live: The Enneagram, The Gospel & Your Marriage around the country for couples who want to use a Gospel-centered Enneagram to understand each other better. We still have stops in Tennessee and Florida In the coming weeks, with more cities and dates to come. You can get all the event details and purchase tickets here.
- Take our Marriage Assessment: We developed a brand new Enneagram assessment just for couples, to help you discover the direct path to honest and productive communication in your relationship. When you and your spouse complete the questionnaire, you’ll receive a Personalized Marriage Plan to help you align your dynamics by using the powerful tool of the Gospel-centered Enneagram. We’ll also provide you with a Conversation Guide to facilitate healthy discussions around each of the themes covered in your Plan.
- Pre-order our Marriage Book: Jeff and I are excited and humbled to be launching our very first book, Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage. Not only does it include our marriage story, but it’s written to serve as an instruction manual for your spouse. It would mean the world to us if you would be part of our mission to impact marriages by spreading the word as it releases on October 1. You can preorder your copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and more.
- Take a Marriage Course Just For Your Types: We’ve created 45 different Becoming Us marriage coaching courses so each couple type combination will have its own specific Gospel-centered Enneagram curriculum. The courses will launch soon!
- Invest in Your Marriage with a Becoming Us Retreat: We’re hosting an intimate 3-day retreat in November. Our goal for the retreat is to pour into you and your spouse and catapult your marriage to the next level. We really hope you’ll join us for this special experience. Sign up to get early access to the details here.
Are you new to the Enneagram? If so, welcome! A great first step in your journey is to discover your Type with our new, free test. We also offer 3-step online courses to help you dig deeper into the Enneagram for lasting spiritual growth and renewal. Our team also offers private coaching for individuals, families, and teams.
For more Gospel-centered insights on The Enneagram, follow us on Instagram @yourenneagramcoach
We would love to share some free Enneagram resources with you.