Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage264
Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage264
“Becoming Us helps you understand your spouse via the lens of faith and the Enneagram.”
Ian Morgan Cron, Enneagram expert and author of The Road Back to You
Do you ever feel baffled by the person sleeping beside you? What if your spouse came with an instruction manual? Beth and Jeff McCord, founders of Your Enneagram Coach, have helped over 250,000 people discover their unique personality type and apply that knowledge to their relationships.
Becoming Us pulls back the curtain on marriage and weaves the Enneagram through the lense of the Gospel to reveal why you and your spouse behave in different ways. Beth and Jeff will explain how you can:
Whether you are preparing for marriage or celebrating a 50th anniversary, Becoming Us will revolutionize the way you view yourself and your spouse. Let Beth and Jeff guide you through the Enneagram and transform your marriage into the powerful relationship that God intended.
Yes, you really will understand your spouse better after you read this book.
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|Publisher:||Morgan James Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Pastor Jeff McCord has led and served several churches and organizations for more than 20 years. He has a Masters of Divinity as well as multiple certifications in pastoral counseling, family and church mediations, and Gospel coaching. The Enneagram transformed Jeff’s life, family and ministry, leading him to co-found Your Enneagram Coach with his wife, Beth McCord. Providing Enneagram resources to individuals, couples, and groups, their mission is to help people see themselves with astonishing clarity, so they can break free from limiting patterns and experience freedom in Christ.
Read an Excerpt
My friend's daughter, Stephanie, and her fiancé, Dustin, were deep in the midst of plans for their upcoming wedding one Saturday afternoon. They were running errands and making final decisions about the major details of the ceremony and reception. Needless to say, they were tired and stressed.
They were in Dustin's truck, and Stephanie looked over at him and said, "I know there are lots of details to get worked out, but one thing is really important to me. I'd like to get a nice wedding band."
Dustin looked over and said, "Why? That seems crazy."
She heard contempt in his voice. But she quietly said, "There are a lot of things that I don't care about, but I think having a nice wedding band is important."
He looked over at her and said, "Don't you think you're being a little ridiculous?" "Well, I've always wanted a nice wedding band," she said.
Dustin said, "I just don't get it. I think it's nuts."
At this point, tears started filling in her eyes. She said, "I'm just trying to tell you this is really important to me." She got really quiet and turned her head toward the window.
Dustin could sense she was upset and said, "Look. I'm just saying I think you're being ridiculous."
Stephanie said, "If it's a matter of money, I can contribute."
"That's even more crazy," he said as his fists tightened on the wheel.
Now tears were rolling down her cheeks, and they were both tense and quiet.
She finally broke the silence and said, "It's something I'm going to have the rest of my life, and I just thought it would be good to get a nice one."
"The rest of your life? It's just one night, and I think it's a waste to spend a lot of money on a wedding band that's just for one night."
"Wait? One night? I'm talking about a wedding band ... to go with my engagement ring, not a wedding band to play at the reception!"
"Really?" he said. "This whole time I thought you were talking about a wedding band to play music at the reception."
"No! I was talking about a ring!" she said as they looked at each other ... and burst out laughing.
* * *
Sometimes we assume we know what the other person is saying when we really don't!
"Assumicide" perfectly sums up what we do in our relationships with each other. It's when we (incorrectly) believe we know another person's thoughts, feelings, and motivations. We assume we understand why they are behaving in a particular way, and then we respond without asking clarifying questions. Assumicide can lead to "killing" or damaging any relationship, but it's especially devastating in our most precious relationship — marriage.
I know I'm guilty of committing assumicide — I've made wrong and hurtful assumptions in my marriage (and with my children, my co-workers, and in just about any other relationship you can imagine!).
Committing assumicide is so easy to do because we truly believe everyone sees the world from our perspective (which we believe is the correct perspective, right?). If others say or do something from a different vantage point or perspective than ours, we can feel confused and hurt, and we can end up damaging the relationship if we assume they acted with ill intent.
In fact, I remember looking at Jeff late one night (after a frustrating day when we hadn't been communicating well at all) and feeling completely baffled by this person sleeping beside me. I wished he came with an instruction manual!
Well, God, in his mercy and providence, provided just that through the insightful tool of the Enneagram.
As you read our stories and learn about the Enneagram (I'm a Type 9, known as the Peaceful Mediator, and Jeff's a Type 6, known as the Loyal Guardian), we want to invite you to think about your own story and open your heart for the Holy Spirit to bring revelation, insight, and willingness for you to allow God to come in and transform you from the inside out.
We'll start by telling you a little about us, who we are as individuals and as a couple, and we'll share some of the ups and downs in our twenty-four-year marriage — including our sometimes painful, sometimes funny, assumicide stories.
Because Jeff and I have gone to the "school of hard knocks" when it comes to committing assumicide, we would love for you to learn from our mishaps and blunders and help you avoid making some of those same devastating mistakes.
Believe me when I say we haven't graduated from the school of hard knocks, but we can say how God has redeemed us (and continues to redeem us) time and time again.
Yes, Jeff and I would say we are truly best friends. We got married when we were just twenty years old and had our two kids, Nate and Libby, by the time we were twenty-five. (It's amazing to realize how time has flown by. They're now in college!) We are blessed to be very close to our children and to have a deeply committed and loving marriage.
But before you start to commit "assumicide" and think we have this perfect marriage and family (like on social media where it looks like everyone is super happy with zero problems), we are anything but perfect!
Because we're human, we still have turbulent days and seasons, yet the insights God has given us through Scripture, pastors and counselors, good books, dear friends, and the help of the Enneagram has assisted us in being able to maintain a strong and loving marriage even when turbulence hits us.
Throughout these twenty-four years, we've had to do a lot of difficult work individually, and with each other, in order to have better communication and understanding.
In fact, it's the hardest (sometimes even painful!) work we have ever done. This process has truly exposed who we really are at our core and has driven us to fall at the foot of the cross and cling to it all the more. The paradox is that it has also become the most beautiful part, because Christ is always there to make us more like him in every way. He gives us rest, peace, and hope every time we come to him.
As you read Becoming Us, Jeff and I will be transparent in sharing from our personal experiences both as a couple and as individuals (since we know our examples best) and hope you will see how we became more aware of ourselves and used the truth of the Gospel to change how we relate to one another. Use our illustrations as a springboard for you to do the same for your personality Type and relationship combination.
As you read our stories and think through your own relationship dynamics, we would love for you to focus on how you are personally using the Enneagram and not just focus on, "What's it like for a Type X to be married to a Type Y?"
But as you'll find out, there is an answer to that question, and we think you'll be happily surprised at the answer!
So, as you learn about yourself and your spouse, we pray you will simply rest in Christ's finished work on the behalf of your own soul, your spouse, and your marriage. He is here with you now, so take a deep breath, rest in him, and be assured of his goodness, love, and compassion.
Because here's our goal: We want to help you strengthen your marriage while living out your truest and most authentic self in Christ. We want you not just to survive but to thrive in your relationship with God, each other, and yourself! So, pull up a chair to our "kitchen table," grab a cup of coffee or tea, and join us as we work together toward Becoming Us.CHAPTER 2
Our Becoming Us Story
Becoming "Beth and Jeff"
Our story of becoming us, "Beth and Jeff," started when we were freshmen in college at the University of Kansas. We met in March of 1994 and got married in May of 1995! Yep, that's quick!
Like so many couples, we were convinced we were super mature and ready to get married. We knew this because we believed we both saw the world from the same perspective! We had so much in common. We had the same beliefs and values, and we "knew" (assumed) we would have a happy and fulfilling marriage. Of course, we thought there might be a few bumps on the journey, but we didn't anticipate any significant problems ahead — and there was also the fact that we were in love! What could go wrong?
But if you've been married for longer than a honeymoon, you may realize that you really didn't know each other quite as well as you thought you did. In fact, if you were young like us, not only do you not know your spouse very well, you don't know yourself very well, either!
When I met Jeff, I purposely hadn't dated anyone for a while — which was a refreshing, enlightening, and inspiring time for me. Why? During that season of being alone, I discovered some unhealthy patterns in my past relationships (I now know some of it was related to me being a Type 9 and merging with other people, taking on their interests over mine). During this time of not dating, I found myself satisfied and connecting with the Lord instead of a boyfriend.
This season was sweet and life-changing. I learned that God's love and grace completely fills me so that I don't need other relationships to give me identity and fulfillment. I saw clearly that I already had what my heart longed for ... Christ. This time with Christ allowed me to experience freedom from negative patterns of relating that were harmful to me and my relationships.
My first date with Jeff was a coffee date right before spring break, and thankfully he passed my very simple test — paying for my coffee and treating me with kindness and thoughtfulness! (This was an important hurdle since the last guy said to me on the same coffee date, "You can pay me back when you want." What!? Let's just say that was the last time I went out with that guy.) Jeff was kind, generous, attentive, and extremely handsome!
Jeff knew from that first date that he wanted to marry me — a fact he shared with me on our second date! Whoa! For someone who was just beginning to learn to be her own person, immediate talk of marriage scared the daylights out of me. I had to tell Jeff to back off a bit! (I should have known then that he was more decisive than I was!) But I loved the fact that he respected me, honored my boundaries, and still passionately (but appropriately) pursued me.
And the more time I spent with Jeff, the more I loved spending time with him. Our relationship grew quickly with deep and meaningful conversations. Summer came too fast, and we went our separate ways. Jeff went home to Texas, while I went to South Carolina on a college ministry project.
At the beginning of our sophomore year, when we were both just nineteen years old, we told our parents that we wanted to get married. They were understandably concerned. They asked us to wait, get to know each other better, and let them get to know us better as well so they could more fully support and guide us along the way. We agreed.
Since Jeff played football for the University of Kansas, I attended all of his football games with my parents. During that fall, my parents got to know Jeff well. They could see our love and his genuine support of me. They truly appreciated him and could see why we wanted to get married. With their blessings, Jeff and I got engaged on New Year's Eve of our sophomore year. We were so excited. We had our finances worked out and our parents' support, and we couldn't wait to get married!
But here's where the cracks started early on to reveal my own heart and internal struggles.
Not only did I have the normal load of spring semester classes, homework, and building my relationship with Jeff, I added planning a wedding with the wedding date only four months away! I began to experience a new level of anxiety and stress I'd never known before.
I didn't know it then, but my Type 9 personality was constantly urging me to merge with everyone who had an opinion about my wedding (and by "merge," I mean putting everyone else's thoughts, opinions, and desires ahead of my own). As you can imagine, accommodating everyone's desires and opinions is an impossible task! I was so overwhelmed and afraid to mess up that it affected how I thought, felt, and behaved. I was like a different person. I was irritable, scared, nervous, defensive, and controlling.
Who was this person? I didn't enjoy her, and neither did others who experienced this side of me. Jeff was very understanding and "assumed" that once we got past the wedding, I would go back to my peaceful and fun-loving self.
At the end of those four (beyond stressful) months, Jeff and I finally got married!
So here we were, two newly married people who didn't know really much of anything about each other or ourselves, trying to do a new dance together.
We assumed while we were dating that, since our relationship was like amazing professional ballroom dancers, we'd become the most amazing marriage partners. Our dating life had been so rich, deep, and meaningful that we truly thought we knew what we were in for — we were going to continue in our marriage in the same way as our dating experience and be a couple with almost no problems.
Instead, we found ourselves stepping on each other's toes and falling over each other time and time again. It just didn't make sense; we couldn't understand why this was happening. But we quickly realized we didn't know each other, or ourselves, very well at all. Not only were we not professional ballroom dancers, we didn't even know how to slow dance! (Maybe you can relate to this struggle.)
I truly believe that if we'd had the tool of the Enneagram from a Gospel perspective, it would have helped us to avoid this kind of friction and allowed us to approach each other with more kindness and understanding.
But God had other plans and ways for us to learn these things and eventually pass them along to you. But what we learned that changed the course of our relationship actually needed to start by looking back in time to us growing up as two vastly different human beings and the impact that was having on our relationship.
By God's grace, even though I had a significant reading disability growing up, I had a great family who loved me and encouraged me.
My dad, a Type 7 (the Entertaining Optimist) is a physician, while my mom, a Type 6 (the Loyal Guardian) is a nurse; she stayed home with my brother and me until we entered middle school. My childhood, with a few exceptions, was pretty peaceful and so positive that I still have a great relationship with both my parents. My dad's super-optimistic and encouraging personality allowed me to feel very affirmed growing up, which helped me thrive as a child. My mom's loyal, faithful, hardworking personality taught me the importance of being responsible and thoughtful of others.
Not long into my study of the Enneagram, I resonated with the Type 9 (the Peaceful Mediator). As I reflected on my childhood and teen years, I could see how that Type made sense with my life story.
My brother, Mark, who is four years older, loved to torment me (like all siblings do) when we were kids. In the early 1980s, my parents bought one of the first television sets with a remote control (I know I'm dating myself here!). When you pushed a button, a red light would appear on the remote. Mark convinced me that it was a laser, and if he aimed it at me, it would hurt me. Whenever he wanted to have fun at my expense, all he had to do was aim that remote in my direction and I would run for my life throughout the house with him close behind ... of course, with him laughing at me the whole way.
Now that we're adults, I have to admit it's kind of funny that he chased me around with the remote, but don't tell him that! In case you're wondering, my adult relationship with my brother is great. He's a Type 2 (the Supportive Advisor) and is a seminary professor and amazing husband, father, and friend — and it helps that he no longer chases me around with the laser remote!
But when we were kids, Mark also found it hilarious to sit on top of me so I couldn't move, the way big brothers often do! He didn't do anything to me except laugh while keeping me from getting away. I, of course, tried everything in my power to get free. But his laughter and teasing would hit a "nuclear" button inside me, and I'd become enraged.
I'd transform from being the peaceful and kind Dr. Banner, from the Marvel comic books, into being the raging Incredible Hulk (or at least it felt that way). But truthfully, my Incredible Hulk wasn't powerful at all, except within myself. I hated it when this furious part of me showed up, because it felt too big and powerful. I simply wanted to be at peace and in harmony — especially with Mark.
This kind of internal eruption — from peaceful to enraged — followed me into my adult years, even though it only revealed itself occasionally since I was constantly pushing it down to suppress it. Only recently have I realized that it can actually have a positive purpose (though it's still uncomfortable), and I've had to do a lot of internal self-awareness to work on it and use it correctly to express and assert myself.
When I entered kindergarten, I was a happy, bold, and confident little girl, well liked and athletic, a great peacemaker who made friends with girls and boys equally. This personality trait remained throughout life. But in first grade I hit some major speed bumps — I had a very hard time learning to read (I later got diagnosed with a reading disability that ran in the family). Before I got the right help, I felt stupid and inadequate, causing great amounts of shame to follow me throughout elementary school and into adulthood. Shame made me believe the lie that I didn't matter, even though my parents did a wonderful job saying otherwise.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Becoming Us"
Copyright © 2020 Beth McCord and Jeff McCord.
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
How to Use This Book,
Introduction: Our Kitchen Table,
Chapter 1: "Assumicide",
Chapter 2: Our Becoming Us Story,
Chapter 3: Discovering the Enneagram,
Chapter 4: The Enneagram,
Chapter 5: Childhood Messages,
Chapter 6: Communication,
Chapter 7: Conflict and Hope,
Chapter 8: Becoming Our Best Selves,
How to Use the Enneagram Roadmap,
The Enneagram Roadmap,
About the Authors,
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