#29 - Bringing grace, compassion, and understanding into your marriage using the Enneagram with Jackie Brewster

September 5, 2023
48
 MIN

Episode Summary

We're diving into the fascinating world of the Enneagram with Jackie Brewster on this week's episode of The Aro Podcast. Jackie, an Enneagram expert, will enlighten us on how understanding your spouse's Enneagram type can transform your relationship. Whether you're already an Enneagram enthusiast or completely new to it, this episode will leave you craving to learn everything there is to know. Jackie shares personal stories about her own journey with her husband, revealing how learning each other's personality types led to a deeper understanding of their behaviors and motivations. You'll be captivated by Jackie's insights and inspired to explore this valuable tool for self-discovery and connection. Don't miss out on this conversation that will leave you eager to read Jackie’s book The Enneagram and Your Marriage.

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Episode Transcript

Jackie Brewster (00:00):

It is. I think it takes work. That's what this is. Marriage takes work. It is not unconditional love, okay? It is it like choosing to love somebody every single day. It is a choice that we make. It is not like I say I do, and then that's it. Because there's a lot of marriages that they don't even like each other, but they're staying in it because of whatever. So I think that it's the choices. It's the choice to choose to love each other every day, and then I think it is also the willingness to grow together.

Joey Odom (00:39):

Welcome back to The Aro Podcast. Hey, it's Joey Odom, co-founder of Aro. And hey, you know what The Aro Podcast is here for - we are here for families to give you the inspiration and tools to live out an intentional life. I believe that probably everybody listening to The Aro Podcast has great intentions for their families, and if you're married for your marriages, but sometimes we actually don't know how to do it, we don't know how to live out those intentions. We don't have the tools for it. So today you're going to get some tools specifically for your marriage. Jackie Brewster, she's written a book on marriage, but it's with a little bit of a twist. You see, Jackie is an Enneagram expert and she's written multiple books on the Enneagram. And so she's talking in her most recent book about and on this podcast about how to use the Enneagram within your marriage, which sounds pretty obvious, but we think of the Enneagram in a lot of ways as an individual thing. But really, if you can implement this within your marriage to understand yourself and then seek to understand your partner, how transformational that can be for your marriage, you're really going to like this. You're going to walk away with some tools. You're going to want to get her book after you listen, I promise. But for now, just sit back, relax, and enjoy my conversation with Jackie Brewster.

(01:52)
If you are ready to be the best spouse who has ever lived better than any other spouse ever, well, you're probably a three. If you think you've already nailed it and you don't need any help, you're probably a one, but you could be a five. If you're not so sure about all this, you're probably a six if you know what I'm talking about. You're excited for this episode. If you know who our guest is, you're really excited, and if you have no idea what I'm talking about, well you are in luck. Please welcome to The Aro Podcast, Enneagram expert and author of her newest book, the Enneagram and Your Marriage, Jackie Brewster. Jackie, welcome to The Aro Podcast.

Jackie Brewster (02:30):

Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be with you.

Joey Odom (02:32):

It does feel like we've been here before. We just for the listener, Jackie and I recorded this dynamite, the greatest podcast episode ever, and the files just didn't upload, so we're going to do better this time, Jackie, that's my fault.

Jackie Brewster (02:47):

No, it's not your fault. I don't even know what happened. It's technical error, right? It's not our fault. That's

Joey Odom (02:52):

Right. Yeah, exactly. Why would we blame us? Yeah, exactly. It's the technology. I love it. Well, thank you for being on the RO podcast. I'm really, really excited about this episode because again, the Enneagram is, everybody has at least heard about it. And as I alluded in the intro, it's you've heard about it and don't know what it is, and if you've heard about it, you love it. So for those that don't, that don't know the Enneagram, understand the Enneagram, well, you bring us up to speed on what the Enneagram is.

Jackie Brewster (03:20):

Yeah, the Enneagram is a personality typing system. There's nine different personality types, nine different ways of viewing the world, nine different focuses of attention. And so this tool helps us to begin to uncover these different parts of ourselves. So you would be one number when you take a test or if you decide to do a more narrative approach, which would be a lot of reading and listening and seeking to learn more about yourself through that narrative approach. Either way, you're going to land on one dominant number and you're never, never changes. So it's not like in this season, I'm this number, and then this season I'm that number. Your number doesn't change. So why it doesn't change is because it's rooted in early childhood. It's around motivation, not behavior. Even though it's a personality typing system. We're looking at behavior, we think we are, but when we really get down to the root of it, I'm actually, as a coach, I'm looking at the motivation behind the behavior because that's going to tell me what's actually going on. What are you actually seeking? What are you trying to find? How are you trying to get love? How are you going to try to protect yourself? How are you trying to get your needs met? And so this Enneagram is a tool that actually dives deep into all of those parts of ourselves through nine different specific lenses.

Joey Odom (04:39):

And for somebody knowing, and maybe this is too obvious a question, why do you think that's important for somebody to know how they view the world to classify, Hey, here's the thing that motivates me. Why do you think that's important for people to understand about themselves?

Jackie Brewster (04:56):

Oh my gosh, that's a great question because I think that most of us go through life with the mindset of this is just who I am. This is just who I am. I know I did for a long time. I am an Enneagram seven, so I'm just fun and bubbly. I mean, I'm great at starting things. I'm not so great at finishing them. All those things. I'm like, I'm going to be the life of the party, all those things. But when I began to understand where those things came from, that's where I began to grow. I didn't have to continue to live my life out according to those stereotypes. I actually began to understand that I have control over my own behaviors and my own actions, and that empowered me to begin to make major changes in my life so that I could finish what I started, so I could actually put my feet on the pavement. Instead of running ahead and always thinking future oriented, I began to understand the importance of being present in the moment and actually taking in account the people around me. So what this tool offers is awareness, and awareness is powerful because if we have awareness, self-awareness to why we're doing what we're doing, and then we begin to acknowledge the role we play on our own lives, we can then begin to change. We can pivot and move forward. If you are unwilling to acknowledge something, you will never change it.

Joey Odom (06:22):

So that's maybe the opposite. The way you describe that is really interesting because it's maybe the opposite, I feel like of how you could look at the Enneagram. I think you could look, okay, there are nine, oh, here's who I am. And then what you're saying is when you understand what you are, then that gives you a little bit more agency versus when you understand what you are, it seems like it would be very easy at that point to say like, well, no, I'm a seven, I'm a six. This is who I am. Well, you dive into that a little bit deeper. That's a little paradoxical to me.

Jackie Brewster (06:56):

So when we look at the Enneagram system, it is not to be used as a weapon against us or against other people. So this is not a tool for us to say, this is just who I am and begin to act the behaviors out and justify our behaviors. This is a tool of self-discovery. So there's a lot out there around memes and all these stereotypes around numbers. It's super fun. But the work that I do as a coach is much deeper than that. I want to get to the why are you doing these things and is this working for you? We don't want to change everything. We don't want to move all the pieces around. We just want to take a look at what's working and what's not working. So again, as an Enneagram seven, what I recognized was not working was I was not finishing what I was starting.

(07:49)
So I was passionate about a lot of things, but I was scattered in my thinking. And so it took discipline to actually sit with my thoughts and ideas, put pen to paper, align things to get things out there into the world that I knew would make a big impact. But if I just continued with this is just who I am, I wouldn't have been able to actually make the impacts I think in my own life because I would run away with my thoughts. And I have lots of them, you guys. I have all kinds of ideas every day. It doesn't mean I should do them. And so I think the growth side of Enneagram, the fun side of it is the memes we're learning about ourselves, it should feel both exposing, oh my gosh, I hope nobody ever reads that about me. It should feel like that when you have your right number.

(08:49)
So it should be both exposing and it should also feel affirming, like, oh, I feel seen. I'm reading these words and I feel understood. I feel known for the first time. I remember reading the words frantic escapism for my personality type. And I was like, this was early on in my journey with the Enneagram. I have four children. My last two are twins. And so my life was chaotic and crazy. I'm married to an Enneagram three who's a workaholic super driver, and I was with all these children, and my responsibility was to keep them alive, fed and happy, right? Oh my gosh. And I remember reading those words, frantic escapism, and I felt like, oh my gosh, I am not crazy. I might not be healthy, but I'm not crazy. So in that moment, I was able to begin to identify when I feel frantically, I want to escape my life. It usually means I have not done any self-care. It usually means I feel overwhelmed and haven't asked for help or there isn't any help. I don't even know what to do. There's no margin in my life, things are not on track. I'm not aligned when I get to that place. So the tool of the Enneagram I think is a great piece of awareness of the why.

Joey Odom (10:16):

And so then it's almost like when you, is this accurate in saying when you understand about yourself, okay, I have a tendency to do this, but to your point, but that doesn't mean I should do that and I can do something different, something more healthy. I mean, health is a big piece of that, right? It'd be Enneagram A healthy seven does this, but when you're an unhealthy seven, you become more like something else. Am I getting close there?

Jackie Brewster (10:45):

A hundred percent. So we'll look at the health scale, Don Rosen, Russ Hudson, in their book, the Wisdom of the Enneagram, they have a nine levels of health that I often reference for myself just to see where I'm at. But I also use that in my practice as well. The nine levels of health and the top three, you're going to be the healthiest and the average range, this is where you're going to go, this is just who I am. And that's typically when fear, worrying, afraid, enter the picture. We go into coping strategies and defense mechanisms and our survival techniques. What do we need to do to keep ourselves safe and get our needs met? And then there's the unhealthy range of our personalities. So it gives us a good picture of what we look like. And so then we get to acknowledge and own where we are and then decide what growth could look like if we wanted to. Or sometimes it's just the understanding of I just reacted in that situation and I was triggered by fear and this is why that happened. I can get my bearings and I can choose to go and repair the relationship and have a conversation with somebody or whatever that looks like. So I feel like it gives us an opportunity to own our own selves and our own story.

Joey Odom (12:11):

So Jackie, as you go through this, so what you just described would require a lot of self-awareness. And so what was it as you began understanding the Enneagram, what was that process like to go through that what you just described seemed like it's a little bit second natured now of, okay, I did this. I was triggered by fear, and so I acted this way. What is that process like for people in figuring out how to take the science of all of that and then make it an art in their life and make it almost like a second natured response? Is that something that you can begin pretty quickly or what's that continuum of being able to have this in your forefront of awareness all the time and be able to implement it pretty smoothly?

Jackie Brewster (12:56):

Yeah, I think that it's a process. So with awareness, it takes time. I always say it just takes time. We have to be patient with ourselves. And so as you encounter different scenarios in your life, I think you begin to ask like, huh, I wonder why I reacted like that. Or if you've read a lot, it's kind of like, oh, I just did that again. So I think some of it is, it does become, I don't know if it becomes second nature. I think you become aware of it and you catch it faster so you can fix it. And repair is the most important part of relationships, not conflict or anything else. It's the ability to repair in relationship that matters. And so that self-awareness, you own what you did in it. So if I have a confrontation with my husband, something happens and we're on vacation.

(13:58)
So there's been several things that I have been like, I reacted to you because I didn't like the way that that made me feel, but it had nothing to do with you. And you just kind of catch yourself and you become more aware. And I think it is slow though. The people that I work with week to week to week, we work on different aspects of the Enneagram and we're opening different topics of conversation, and then they'll come back to me and they'll tell me how they saw that happen in real time. And so if we're talking about the passion of the Enneagram, so the Enneagram to the passion is pride, but it's not a puffed up pride. It's actually this, I'm good. I don't need help. Let me help you. So it's this fault sense. Oh, interesting of pride. So what happens is they'll come back to me and say, yeah, I had this situation happen at work and I acted like I didn't need anything from anybody that I could go in and I could be the savior to it.

(15:19)
I could go save them. But then I went home and I felt alone. I felt isolated, or I felt like I took the brunt of that whole situation and they'll begin to see, oh, but that's because I leaned into this side of I don't need anything. I'm good because I don't want to be seen as needy, and so I'll just take care of it myself. But I always ask the question, what is the cost to doing that? Because a cost to these things. So they just begin to, the more you read, the more you understand. And I often say, not often. I always say, you have to activate the information, otherwise it's just in your head. And that doesn't really do us any good.

Joey Odom (16:10):

It is funny, as you were describing that, I felt like you were describing something that I would do just the way that you just said that in the self-care. And then I glanced at my notes here. I always forget what my Enneagram number is, and I was like, oh, I'm a seven and a two. Okay, so that makes sense. I'm pretty close on both of those. So the number two behavior that you just described sounded very, very familiar to me, which makes me think, I mean, to your point, it's just because it's natural doesn't mean it's healthy. Just because it comes natural, it doesn't mean that's the healthy thing to do, which makes sense. Going back to your beginning point is well, yeah, that's the point of it. If you just think if you go through your life and say that this is natural or this is just the way I am without the awareness of knowing that that's not necessarily healthy, a really helpful way to go about it. Jackie, I want to get into your newest book, which I love. But for people who are looking for this on an individual basis and say, okay, how do I begin the process of self-discovery with the Enneagram? Tell about some of your resources that could help people get into that and just learn more about it and begin that process of discovery.

Jackie Brewster (17:27):

So my Instagram page, it's Enneagram with JB that is chocked full of all types of information for Enneagram, individual numbers, different tribes and things like that. I upload stuff every single day. So that I think is a great resource around curiosity. That's a good place to start. Maybe I have another resource and it's a deck of cards, Enneagram essentials. And so there is all nine personality types in this deck of cards. And it goes through beginning to a deep dive. We go all the way through the different aspects of the Enneagram, not all of the aspects, but a good chunk of Enneagram in bite-sized pieces. So you can begin to look and kind of, I love the cards because you can hold them up against each other. It's like, oh, am I a two or a seven? Let me read the two, the seven. So it kind of offers a narrative approach to the Enneagram, which I really love. I have a devotional that's hearing God speak. So if you are a faith-based, that could be a great option. And that again is I walk you into awareness around the Enneagram with scripture to help you unpack more of yourself through truth through scripture. And then my newest one is the Enneagram and marriage. This is powerful. It's side by side, you and your partner. And we go again through basics to deep dive into all these different aspects of the Enneagram. So there are some different resources. There's some other great authors as well.

Joey Odom (19:08):

Yeah, whose names we won't mention here. We're all about Jackie Brewster here.

(19:17)
Jackie, here's what I love about the cards. The cards, especially because people ask all the time. I mean at aro, like, hey, we put our phones down, what do we do now? And the cards are so good because you can do it in a really approachable way with your family. It becomes fun, it becomes a good dinnertime conversation, and you have conversation cards. But for me, this is the next level of that because it's a fun thing like a conversation car, but you're also learning things as well. And especially with kids, it is approachable enough from a young age that kids can begin to train a self-awareness. So I love the cards, and I'm sure you've heard a bunch of stories of people doing that just sitting around the dinner table with their family talking about it, right?

Jackie Brewster (19:59):

They do. Yeah. I hear dinner table, I hear road trips. Airbnbs have 'em in there, so they'll be like, I was on this trip and there's these cards at the table. Yeah, family gatherings, that's a huge one. That and friend gatherings. Yep.

Joey Odom (20:17):

I love that. And your Instagram really is, again, this is for people to, I think whenever I've thought in the past about Enneagram, I think, okay, I got to go read a 200 page book on this now as opposed to, like you said, your daily Instagram posts. It makes it super, super approachable. And I've found as you learn more, you want to learn more about all of this. So yes, in your Instagram we'll talk about it. We'll put it in the show notes too. It's at Enneagram with jb. But I want to talk about the Enneagram in your marriage because Enneagram, I've always thought of it as a personal thing.

(20:56)
This is just for me, this is how I am. And something about your book, which I love, is that it's just like, yeah, of course. Why would we get all this information about ourselves without applying it to the most important relationship in our lives? And I don't know, and there probably are other resources that have done this, but I just think that you've done it so brilliantly. So will you talk about the process of how did you concept this and up to now and then why do you think this is important for couples in their marriage?

Jackie Brewster (21:28):

Yeah, so I've been married for over 24 years now, and I think as I started to dive into the Enneagram years and years ago, I began to look at it as a tool for self-reflection for myself. And then as I learned about myself, my husband also is curious. We live in Nashville. I feel like everybody there is interested in it. So he was like, let me read about this. And so he started to learn more about himself. We're huge counseling family. Our family has been in therapy for years and years. We believe in that kind of work. And so I think it was the journey of understanding myself. Wait a minute, I want to understand you too, because I want to be in a marriage that feels emotionally connected for the long haul. I don't want to do this thing side by side. I don't want you to have your own life and me have my own life, and then I just kind of coexist.

(22:26)
But in order to do life that's emotionally connected, we had to do the work to learn how to emotionally connect. And so for my husband and I, emotional connection is not natural for either one of us. He's an Enneagram three, I'm an Enneagram seven. We both run after what we want and we're both very driven. And so it's easy for us to get caught up in life and work and all the things and miss that emotional connection. So we realized at year 20, that was a big piece that was missing. So we intentionally did a lot of work around that. And from that, I think this book is probably birthed out of the hard work that we did around I want to be seen by you and I want to see you. So in order for me to do that, I have to slow down know you.

(23:21)
So what is your heart longing? What is your unconscious messaging? What is your subtype? How do you find safety in the world? Because man, it feels a lot different than how I find safety in the world. And so I recognized I was fighting him against the very things that brought him safety or he was confused by the very things that brought me safety. And so I think that was the journey of let me slow down and make sense of this. So all the work I do with people, I feel like I have had to go first so that I can hold space for other people. And so I'm passionate about that. I'm trained in experiential practices like experiential modalities. Enneagram is one of those experiential modalities. The birth of this book is from that place around, I want to love you well, but in order for me to love you, well, I have to understand you.

Joey Odom (24:22):

Gosh, how good is that? And it's almost like in marriages, we believe that the emotion is enough. I think how to say this right? The emotion is enough, but there is work that goes into building the emotional connection is what you're saying actually have to build, you have to work at it. And it seems counterintuitive. You think the emotion would come naturally and that would form the connection as opposed to now you have to work towards the connection by understanding them. That's a really interesting concept. I want to rabbit trail for just a second. You talked about, you said there about bringing you safety. Will you explain a little bit about what that means? I think that's an important concept. I want to make sure that we really understand what that means and how people find safety, what brings people safety and why that's an important concept.

Jackie Brewster (25:12):

Yes. So when this is cradle to grave work that we're doing here, so when we come into the world, we're looking for three things. How do we get love? How do we get our needs met and how do we keep ourselves safe? Okay, so inside of that, this is the way that we learn how to get those needs met happens in early childhood, and then we take those different patterns of behavior and we try to work those into our adult relationships as well. Really early on in our life, we have learned how to get safety according to the environments that we grew up in. I grew up in a single parent home and safety and security was around connection. And so I have anxious attachment. That's a whole nother thing, but there's a lot of different ways I'm like, okay, how do I find safety and security?

(26:07)
Well, people bring me safety and security cooking. I learned how to cook really, really young. And I'm like, if I cook, it makes people love me and it makes people happy. So that must be a tool I should use to keep myself safe and secure. And so you learn how to do this. My husband's an Enneagram three, and he learned that achievements kept him safe, drive kept him safe. If he stopped, he could lose all of that. So he had to keep going, going, going, going, going. And so you begin to understand the different ways that people find safety and security. And oftentimes it couples, it doesn't match. And so one might say safety and security feels like our home. I'm going to create a really warm home environment, and that's where I find safety. But the partner is always trying to go out and do an adventure and all kinds of stuff, and they could feel like we are not compatible.

Joey Odom (27:09):

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Jackie Brewster (28:07):

So people oftentimes feel like they are not compatible, and it's not that you're not compatible, it just means that your focus of attention around safety and security is different. And this is where I feel like the Enneagram offers some empathy and compassion. When we begin to understand our partner, then it's not like you're doing it wrong. It's like, oh, you're doing this because, oh, okay, I can understand that. And then if there's a equal attunement in this relationship, both parties are willing to understand what's happening in the other person. And it's this give and take. It's this beautiful infinity is the image I have around this dance around give and take willingness to attune to another person, willingness to see another person's needs. They don't trump your needs, but you're aware of them. And then what do you want to do around helping each other to feel safe and secure in the world together?

Joey Odom (29:13):

That has to add such a layer of grace into your relationship where you just say, no, I understand. Like you said, you're doing this because it's not a right and wrong. It's just because in the four years that you and your husband have done this, have you found that's been the case that you've grown in grace and compassion with each other as you've had the discovery of what drives the other person?

Jackie Brewster (29:39):

Yeah, there's a lot of understanding. So he is more throw caution to the wind, let's go. Let's do, he's a three. But people oftentimes think it's me. That's that. And I'm not that way. I am probably more self-preservation, like home is safety, smaller community. I like predictability. And he is the one that is more adventurous. And so instead of me being like, how come you don't care about this or why don't you care about that? I'm usually like, oh, you want freedom to go be okay? And oftentimes it's our family, Hey, let's go do this or let's do that. And so instead of me taking offense to it, I'll understand or I might say to him like, Hey, I feel like I need some attention from you. I feel like you're chasing sunshine and I think I need you a little bit more. I think I need you to be grounded a little bit more here or be with me in this and he will understand what I'm saying. Where before it would be like, why are you trying to rain on my parade? Leave me alone. Why are you trying to control me? And it's not a controlling thing, it's I feel like we're missing each other. I feel like you're out here chasing and I am trying to get you, but I am trying to hold the fort down too. And so yeah, you just start to pick up on different things with each other, and there's a lot of empathy in it. There's just a lot of understanding.

Joey Odom (31:20):

So it sounds like what you're describing in that is you actually have more license to be direct and vulnerable with what you need. If you know that your partner is caress about that, if you know it's important to your partner and they understand you a little bit better, does that give you more freedom to be direct and vulnerable with what you need?

Jackie Brewster (31:40):

I think it does. I think that if both parties are willing to learn and grow together and that they're both interested in emotional connection on a deep level, so I think that we oftentimes mistake emotional connection for intimacy. And that is not emotional connection. That's intimacy. Okay. Those are not the same things. Intimacy with emotional connection is a whole different ball game. But when we are emotionally connected, there is an awareness of another person. So there is this willingness to attune to another person's needs, and we're not, so we don't take things personal that are not personal, and we're able to do this dance. And so Dr. Sue Johnson, who is the founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy, which I love her work, she talks about a r e, and this is like, are you available? Are you responsive and are you willing to engage? And so when we as adults are willing to do this with one another, this is a healthy emotionally connected relationship.

(32:47)
When our partner reaches for us, we're available to them, whether it is answering test messages, giving eye contact, listening to them, tell us a story, whatever that is, we're available when they can get to us and we can get to them. And that breeds safety. If I know when I reach for you, I can get to you that I feel like, okay, I can relax now. And then that responsiveness, that has a lot to do with attunement, like attuning to another person's needs, which is the care of. So I can look at my husband and I know if he is in work mode and I'm trying to get him to talk about something personal that is not best practices, but it doesn't mean I shouldn't talk to him about the personal thing. It just means I am aware that right now his focus of attention is in a different direction.

(33:40)
And if I try to get him, I'm not going to get what I want from him. And then if I get mad about that, that's kind of on me because I know how he functions. And so I can say, Hey, babe, later on today I want to talk to you about this. And he'll say, thumbs up. Awesome. So that attunement piece, you just begin to understand one another in a different way, and then we can engage dance together. So later on I might say, Hey, I wanted to talk to you about the kids' trip that they're going to the lake with friends. I just wanted to get the details done with you. And he would be like, oh, okay, awesome. But if I tried to do that in the middle of the day, I might get like, I can't talk right now or you know what I mean?

(34:25)
And I'd be like, you don't care. What do you don't care. I'm super bratty. So I'd be like, oh, so all of this is more important than me, but learning the rhythm of our relationship, it has helped us learn how to attune in a different way. And again, that's a r e. Are you available for your partner? Are you willing to be responsive to them in a reciprocal way, like a give and take? And are you willing to engage? So it's not always your way as the highway or their way as the highway, but I think that's where you begin to, the vulnerability happens in that when you know that your partner is willing to hear you, understand you and listen to you, then you can bring things to them. You can ask for what you need, and they can't always give it to you. But I might say to my husband like, Hey, is there any chance you could fly back from your trip early? The kids have this thing I'm asking. And sometimes he's like, yeah, lemme see if I can get a red eye. Or sometimes he's like, babe, I can't. I've got this meeting at nine o'clock in the morning. There's no way I can do it. Okay, but I don't take offense and I'm not afraid to ask.

Joey Odom (35:41):

Yeah, that idea alone, that whole idea of being ready for a no, I've talked with some friends lately about that and how important that is that your partner feels safe in saying no to certain things. That's really important. And I love what you said earlier, just not personalizing something that's not personal. How transformational. Just that alone in a marriage is just not taking it personally. Okay. You can't make it back from your trip. Okay, I get it. Yeah. Have your husband, have you and your husband looked at each other and said, how do we make it in the first 20 years without this? Have you had any moments like that? Where in the last four years of discovery have you thought, how the heck can we do 20 years?

Jackie Brewster (36:24):

I think he says all the time, man, this would've been a game changer had we had this in the beginning. Yeah, we look back and think it is by the grace of God that we have made it this far by the skin of our teeth. Have we made it this far? It has been a bumpy road in a lot of ways. Yeah.

Joey Odom (36:42):

Yeah. Well, it's amazing that anybody stays married, really. I mean, I know that sounds crazy, but it is amazing just because of how differently motivated and all of our different experiences that shape us into who we are. And on top of that, just our stark personality differences. And the fact that somebody is, you mentioned incompatibility, who in the heck, no one's compatible with each other, right? Because of everything that shapes you. So it's amazing that anybody stays married at all.

Jackie Brewster (37:08):

It is. I think it takes work. That's what this is. Marriage takes work. It is not unconditional love. Okay? It is. It is choosing to love somebody every single day. It is a choice that we make. It is not like I say I do, and then that's it. Because there's a lot of marriages that they don't even like each other, but they're staying in it because of whatever. So I think that it's the choice to choose to love each other every day. And then I think it is also the willingness to grow together. I'm not the same person that he married. I am not 21 year old. Jackie is not my age. Like Jackie today. When I look back, I'm like, oh my goodness. And he's not the same person. And so learning to give space to each other as we grow and shift and change. But you want to, I think it's that holding space. Let me learn you, let me understand you. We went for a walk. This was at 20 years. We had gone for a walk in our neighborhood, and I had said to him, he's an Enneagram three. And I was like, babe, do you feel like you have to wear a mask in our marriage? And he's like, yes. And I was devastated. I was like, for 20 years,

Joey Odom (38:31):

You're supposed to say no white.

Jackie Brewster (38:32):

I know. I was like, for 20 years you felt like you had to wear a mask? He's like, well, I have a hard time feeling like it's okay for me to do anything for me. And so I was like, what? He is like, yeah, if I want to watch a basketball game, I feel bad. Maybe you think I should be doing something else. And so we had this great conversation that day on that walk, and I just said, watch your basketball game. Watch your football game. I'm going to do what I want to do. I'm going to go shopping. Or we have girls, my oldest is a boy, and then I've got three girls. So I'm very busy with my kids, so I'm like, I'll do something with the kids, but I want you to feel the freedom to watch a game or go out with your guy friends, whatever you need. I want you to be able to do that. There's been a huge change since that conversation happened where I've seen him just a freer side of him that he doesn't feel guilty, but I had no idea that he felt like that for all those years.

Joey Odom (39:33):

That what an encouraging story for everybody listening who's married is that required a vulnerability on your part to ask the question. It required real vulnerability and truth from him, it would've been probably a lot easier. Even the fact that the way he answered indicates that he probably would ordinarily have been hesitant to answer that with real truth and honesty because he wanted to protect you. So good on him for the truth. And then good on you for not, again, for not taking that personally and just getting your feelings hurt and retreating. But that required a lot for that interaction. What you just described. The question answer is a quick piece of it that required a heck of a lot. And you're talking about this four years later as a pivotal conversation that you had so good on both of you for doing that.

Jackie Brewster (40:26):

Thank you. I mean, I think it's trust. At the end of the day, trust is time plus believable behavior. And so you build that up. Say that

Joey Odom (40:37):

One more time. Trust is time plus

Jackie Brewster (40:38):

Believable behavior, plus believable behavior equals trust. And so you build that up and you learn. I like that. You learn to trust each other through it.

Joey Odom (40:54):

Tell people what to expect in this. So it's a seven session workbook. Give a little highlight, a little teaser on what people can expect in the Enneagram in your marriage

Jackie Brewster (41:06):

In this book, that you're going to walk through the basics. So if you don't know anything about the Enneagram or you do and your partner doesn't, there's a little quick test in the back you can use for a jump off, but I don't want you to feel like, oh, that's my number and let's go. I want you to be curious around it as you start to read. So you'll read through some basic information around Enneagram numbers. Every single part that I wrote has a story to help you understand what I'm talking about. So there's a lot of story in it. And then there's activities. I don't want you to skip the activities because activities help you to activate the information. So information is not transformation until it's activated. And I often say it's like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that's peanut butter, jelly and bread.

(41:55)
But until you put it together, it's not a sandwich. And so it's the same thing with this information. You can have all the information, but until you do something with it, it's just knowledge. So take the time and do the activities. Some people buy, they each buy a book and they want their own space. Some people buy one book and do it together, but just designate a time that you're going to come back and you're going to talk about what you're learning about yourself and the other person. So this information and this book, it's side by side. So as you go through basic, you're going to go into more in depth information around heart longing and childhood messaging and passions and the ways that you miss the mark and all kinds of things in this book. But I have had some testimonials of people saying, I got into it and I started crying and I've done all this work in therapy and this hit in such a different way and not in a bad way.

(42:52)
They just felt like things got uncovered or unlocked in a different way through this type of modality. And so I think take your time. It is seven weeks. You don't have to do it in seven weeks. If you want to do it in 14 weeks, do it however long it takes you to do it, but try to complete the process of this. There is a beginning and end. This brings you all the way through. And then at the end of it, I think that you will sit with a very different and deeper understanding of your partner and yourself.

Joey Odom (43:30):

We believe in it. We're going to give away some copies to our listeners because we do believe in it. I mean, just imagine the world that we could have if people took the time. We're talking about seven weeks too. I mean, again, you can do it longer. We're talking about seven weeks and in, I dunno, how many weeks or in a 24 year marriage, but it's a lot more weeks than seven. And we can take seven weeks. We can take a little bit of time to carve out. And then the message it communicates even. And I'll talk to the fellows listening, like, guys, have you brought this in? And you told your wife that you'd like to do that? I think once her jaw is picked up off the floor that you've initiated something like that. I think that just the act itself communicates a lot that this is important to you. So we're going to give away some copies, and I really do really want to push for people to pick up a copy of the Enneagram in your marriage. Jackie, I want to ask you one question I've not prepped you for, but it's right in your strike zone. But if you had a single piece of marital advice for people listening, a single piece of advice for somebody, what would that advice be today?

Jackie Brewster (44:43):

I think it would be kind and curious,

(44:48)
Meaning that when we encounter our partner, we're seeing life through our lens, through the way that we grew up through all of our life experiences. And unless they're going to deep dive and tell us everything about everything, we don't really know their experiences. And it's taken me all of these years to learn things about my husband and his childhood experiences and everything that helped me to grow in empathy and compassion for him today. So curious and kind. Don't take personal what is not personal. And it is kind of like oftentimes when I'm working with couples that are just having a hard time, I'll ask them, what was the spark that made you guys even connect in the first place? Go back to that place. But curious and kind is what I would say.

Joey Odom (45:51):

I love that. Yeah, that's our charge. That's all of us for today is let's do that and just see what happens. Just be willing to try, just to be curious and kind. Jackie. People can go to, again, your Instagram page at Enneagram with JB and then Enneagram with jb.com. And then all of you're working in, we mentioned the cards that are a great activity for families and spouses and individuals even. And then the Enneagram in your marriage. What have I left out?

Jackie Brewster (46:26):

I have a devotional, so hearing God speak. That's right. It's a 52 week Enneagram devotional that is absolutely beautiful. So that's out there too.

Joey Odom (46:38):

That's great. Jackie Brewster, thank you so much. This is, you are a fountain of wisdom. This is encouraging, it's challenging, it's actionable. So thank you for all of that. And thank you very, very much for joining us here on the RO podcast.

Jackie Brewster (46:53):

Thank you so much for having me.

Joey Odom (46:55):

Okay, gang, we got two jobs. The first one is from the advice that Jackie gave at the very end, and I didn't prep her for that, by the way. So that was off the cuff. And her advice was to be kind and curious in your marriage. So that's job one. And by the way, let's just be kind and curious in general, but specific to your marriage, be kind and curious. That's job one. Job two, go get a copy of Jackie's book, the Enneagram and Your Marriage. I do think we need to put in the work, anybody who's married knows that you got to put in the work and what a statement you could make to your spouse, to your partner. If you brought this in and said, Hey, this is important to me. Let's go through these seven weeks together. Go get a copy. We are going to do a giveaway, so check our Instagram, check our socials, have some more information on that. And thank you so much for joining us today. I hope you feel like you have the tools to go be successful in your marriage. And thank you so much to Jackie Brewster for joining us. We can't wait to see you next week on The Aro Podcast. Thank you very, very much for joining us this time. The Aro podcast is produced and edited by the team at Palm Tree Pod Co. Special thanks to Emily Miles for video and digital support, and to our executive producer, Aro's own, Katelyn Farley.