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About Our Guests

This week, we’re excited to be focusing on a subject that we’ve mentioned quite a few times already on this podcast—the Enneagram. For those of you who haven’t been swept up in the Enneagram mania yet, it’s sort of like a personality test. But it actually goes deeper than that to show the motivations behind our actions and thoughts.

To help us with this complex topic, we brought in a couple who knows the Enneagram well—Beth and Jeff McCord. Beth is the creator of Your Enneagram Coach, which helps introduce people to the Enneagram and connect them with a personal Enneagram coach.

Her husband, Jeff, is the executive pastor at Southpointe Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Beth and Jeff have been married for over 20 years have two adult children.

Interview

Can you tell us about yourselves and how you got into the Enneagram?

We’ve been married almost 24 years and have two kids in college. We started learning about the Enneagram in the early 2000’s. We were in the stage of life with little kids when you’re trying to live like Christ, but find your internal world derailing all the time.

I wanted to be at my healthiest but was struggling. That’s when someone showed us the Enneagram and it helped me understand why I veer off course and what my healthiest was. We felt whatever tool we found had to be paired with the gospel. The Enneagram will tell you why you think, feel and behave in particular ways.

Can you explain what the Enneagram is?

The Enneagram has been around for thousands of years and used in lots of different sectors. It’s become more modernized with psychology since the 70’s and we’ve looked at how the tool can help illuminate our heart condition.

I want people to realize that the Enneagram is a great tool, but the gospel is what transforms us. We’re always safe and secure in our identity in Christ, but sometimes we have times we’re not doing well. We want it to be a wakeup call to the patterns that aren’t best for or your relationships.

Jeff, can you tell us about your role?

I’m an executive pastor. I’ve been pastoring in the local church since 2002. When we started using the Enneagram as a couple, we started in the local church at our dining room table.

Even back then, we would bring the insight of the Enneagram and apply the gospel to see hearts change. My beautiful bride is a type 9, who had a tendency to hide her talents, but she brought the depth to that conversation.

How do your two Enneagram types interact?

Jeff: Let’s start by talking about my love for ice—I love ice and cold drinks.

Beth: We have a great ice story. I’m a 9 and our thought process is that we don’t matter—our voice doesn’t matter, our presence doesn’t matter. It’s a common theme for 9s.

Jeff: I’m a type 6 and there’s a roaring committee of thoughts in my head all the time.

Beth: For the 9, who feels like their presence doesn’t matter, when I do talk I want his full attention. When he looks at his phone what happens instantly in my mind is, “see, my voice doesn’t matter”. If I’m healthy I can navigate around that.

Jeff: I often get a little impatient with her pace—9s meander in storytelling. So as she was telling a story one day, I decided to take a little break while listening.

Beth: Jeff got up to get some water behind me and has a 32oz glass. The fridge is crushing ice into his Yeti and I’m still talking. He is getting his ice and I’m thinking: “see, he doesn’t want to listen to me”.

Ordinarily I would shut down and stop talking and we start this dance and start to spiral. But that’s when the Holy Spirit came in and he’s told me time and time again that he is listening. So while he was still crushing ice, I’m thinking” “He loves me, we’re best friends, he’s just getting ice and it doesn’t have to spiral out of control”. And we’re able to move forward.

Jeff: There are four things we hear from people as we talk to them about their dances:

  1. I didn’t understand my spouse and now I have clarity
  2. It’s compassion – I’m so sorry that’s what you’re feeling
  3. I understand our dance and our dynamics
  4. The Enneagram gives us great language to able to talk about it

How does the Enneagram reveal both people’s strengths and weaknesses?

The Enneagram is going to tell you like it is—blunt and straightforward. You’re going to see some things that are really hard to swallow.

But if you’re able to recognize that Christ has already taken care of things, you can see these trouble spots and not be overcome with self-condemnation, fear and shame. You have to own it and ask for forgiveness but you’re able to do that because you’re already free.

What are the benefits and challenges of each of your types?

Jeff: There’s a book out there that talks about how we marry people who bring out a good we desire for ourselves. There’s something about Beth’s peacefulness, steadiness and sincerity that is very safe to me. Beth attunes to me in a way that brings peace and rest to my heart. I appreciate her strength, resolve, quiet perseveres and the attention she gives to me and our home. I want to be better at that because I’m not naturally at rest.

Beth: The strengths that Jeff brings is absolute commitment and loyalty, hard work and being able to see what I miss. When you use this in marriage, your spouse cannot come through for you in the way you long for but Christ did. Everything has to hinge on Christ or you’ll be back in the ditch again.

What have you learned about Jeff being a 6?

Beth: 6s really need safety and security. They’re not all the same—my mom is a 6 and wants physical security (food, money, health). Jeff is more relational security. When we are in an argument and I withdraw, that is only saying to him “abandonment”.

I’m not intending to do that to him. When I feel myself starting to check out I can say to him, “I know this is important, but I need some time to settle down and process”. That’s so much more helpful to me and communicates to him that I know safety and security are important to him.

Jeff: The work for me is to believe it—that after 15 or 30 minutes she’s going to re-engage. And even if she doesn’t, I’m still secure in my relationship with Christ. It ends up creating a very hospitable dance between us.

What resources do you have available for people who want to learn more?

Jeff: This is going to be a big year for us. We’ve written a book called, Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage. It’s really the foundation to a number of other resources. We’re going to be releasing a new marriage assessment in June to help couples get an introduction to their dance and what they think about their dance and that’s going to be free.

We’re also going to be doing date night events throughout the United States beginning in June. Those are going to be fantastic opportunities where we’re going to introduce the idea of the dance.

Beth: We are developing 45 marriage courses. The reason there’s 45 is because there are 45 couple types. So there’s a course for you and your spouse and we’re going to specifically talk about your dance and get into your kitchen.

Not only will we show you the negative parts of your dance but also the redeeming factors of Christ and what He brings. That will be coming out in June. We also have a free assessment if you don’t know your type.

And then we also have Discovering You which is a cliff notes version of the Enneagram if you’re new to the Enneagram. If you know your type you can do Exploring You where I do pre-recorded coaching sessions where I break down your personality type into bite sized lessons. We’ll have 9 more books coming out in December—one on each of the types.

Your One Simple Thing this week

Get your Becoming Us marriage course and get insight into yourself and your spouse.

Show Closing

Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review—they help us make the podcast better.

We want to hear from you! Share with us on Facebook, Instagram or our site.  If you want more resources, check out the MarriedPeople membership or Ted’s book Your Best Us.  You can find more from Beth and Jeff at Your Enneagram Coach.

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