Could the Enneagram help “Married at First Sight”? 2021

As with many couples over the past couple of years, my husband and I have spent a lot more time together, which for the most part has been a blessing for us. But with travel restrictions lifting he has now returned to working a week or so a month in France, which has meant for the first time since the start of the pandemic I have had sole possession of the remote control!

So finally, time to binge on some guilty pleasure TV. After catching up on Drag Race, I landed on Married at First Sight while search More 4, and once started, couldn’t resist that little sign which says the next episode starts in 15 seconds… Of course, the viewing was purely for research purposes, not just good car crash TV, but I couldn’t help think that most of the couples, and the people who put them together, could have benefitted from a bit of help from the Enneagram!

As the episodes went on, we saw a 9 trying to turn themself inside out to please a more dominant partner, some pretty self-centred 3 type behaviour mismatched with a very needy 2, an introverted 5 with a uber flamboyant 7, amongst others. So did the experts get it wrong? Would they have done better to match the couples according to Enneagram type?

Is there an ideal love match for each Enneagram type?

Well, the politically correct answer to that question – is no, every type can be in a fabulous relationship with every other type – but here’s the clincher … on the proviso that both are in the psychologically healthy range for their type.

Did we see any “healthy” Enneagram types on MAFS – err no!

Because here’s the thing, being in the healthy range of our Enneagram type is not the normal human condition, most of us are on Enneagram autopilot, where we rarely question our own behaviour and the motivations behind it. In Enneagram speak that’s when we are considered to be in the “average” or  “normal” range for our types. Which simply means most of us react and act out automatically according to the values and beliefs of our type, without consciously examining why we do what we do.

Hence why when we get into the mid-average range for our type, it’s called the level of “interpersonal conflict”. Now take a deep breath and see if you recognise any of the patterns below.

Personality Motivators Start fights about …. Other’s start fights with them about their ….
Type 1 To do the right thing Unfairness, when others are not pulling their weight Inflexibility and critical nit picking
Type 2 To be loving and loved When other’s lack gratitude for all their efforts Interference and meddling in other people’s affairs
Type 3 To get things done fast Others perceived inefficiency and lack of action Focus on doing tasks and their allergy to intimacy
Type 4 To be seen as unique Not feeling appreciated for who they are Being drama queens that test other people’s patience
Type 5 To expand their knowledge Others invading their precious space and alone time Unavailability and lack of desire for material possessions
Type 6 To feel safe and secure Anything that feels threatening! Contradictory nature, procrastination and dithering
Type 7 To be positive and have fun When others attempt to clip their wings Self-centred approach to getting their needs met
Type 8 To be in control Injustices, both real and perceived Perceived aggressive and dogmatic behaviour
Type 9 To maintain harmony Don’t start fights, they clam up and go silent instead Lack of engagement and lack of decision making

Well done if you’re still reading! Because it’s likely you might have just spotted a pattern in either yourself or a partner. And its usually at this point on one of the “Understanding Yourself and Others with the Enneagram” courses that the tissue box gets passed around. Especially when we see in graphic detail some of the reasons why our previous relationships failed.

Learning about the Enneagram isn’t a quick fix for our relationships, but it can show us where we need to start taking more responsibility for our own patterns, and over time, we learn that our way isn’t the only way and that our partner’s patterns have positive motivations behind them too. And while there is still conversation there is still hope that both parties can get to a better understanding.

And yes, of course there are types which will drive your type crazier quicker than other types. But the trouble there is opposites attract, so we can utilise the Enneagram to help us know what we are getting ourselves into!

And back to MAFS – the UK 2021 couple who I thought had real potential but were both too caught up in the coping strategies of their personality types to make it work, were Luke and Morag. If you haven’t watched, you may like to give it a go to see if you agree? Purely for research purposes of course!