I’ve always turned a blind eye to online personality quizzes. While I’ve heard lots of chatter about the 5 Love Languages and Enneagrams. I couldn’t be bothered to take the few minutes to actually take the assessments. I’m a busy woman!
Do I have time to scroll Instagram for an hour each day? Of course. But there was something about putting in the time to learn about myself on a deeper level that I avoided. I knew enough about myself and was doing just fine.
And yes, I’ve been doing “fine,” but maybe I could be doing a little better.
With the birth of my first child, my identity has shifted. I’m still the old me, but I have a huge new aspect to my life and this impacts who I am as an individual, as a partner, and in the new role of parent.
Like myself, my husband had also never taken these personality assessments. We’ve been together for nearly 10 years, have been married for 3 of those years, and have been parents for 6 months. With all these years together, I’d say that I know myself and my husband quite well.
But when a baby comes into the picture, relationships will undoubtedly be impacted. While we’ve been a team for many years, bringing a new player into the game—that we 100 percent have to care for and make decisions for—totally changes things.
So, I finally gave in and started taking the personality assessments I had been ignoring all these years. I also encouraged my husband to take them. We started with the 5 Love Languages. Were we the last two people on the planet to learn our love languages? Perhaps, but better late than never.
Learning From the 5 Love Languages
If you’re unfamiliar, the theory comes from Dr. Gary Chapman, who states that there are five unique ways that people show and feel love. They include words of affirmation, acts of service, gift-giving, quality time, and physical touch.
Upon taking the test, we learned our love languages were not in alignment. This doesn’t mean our relationship is doomed—you don’t need to have matching love languages. What is important is that you understand your needs and your partner’s and you make the effort to show love to each other in a way that is meaningful.
Just knowing our languages can make our relationship stronger, both as partners and as parents. As a new mom, I place a lot of value on acts of service, words of affirmation, and quality time. Basically, nothing makes me happier than when my husband does the dishes without asking and tells me that I’m a good mom.
On the flip side, me doing chores around the house without being asked is not important to my husband (perhaps because I already do this?).
With parenthood, it can be so easy to forget about our partners. We’re putting so much effort, emotion, and energy into our children that it’s no wonder marital relationships can suffer when kids come into the picture. While I cannot put the same focus on my husband that I did pre-baby, by knowing what he values, I can focus on that and show my appreciation for him in a meaningful way.
And hopefully, he will do the same for me (hi, the dishwasher could use unloading, wink).
Learning From the Enneagram
The Enneagram is a system of personality typing that is split into nine different personality types and can offer insight into our motivations, emotional intelligence, strengths, weaknesses, conflict resolution style, and how we relate to others. While the Love Languages are quite simple, Enneagrams can be more complex. You can take a quick quiz for results, but you can also dive way deeper.
Simply by taking a couple of online assessments, I learned so much about myself. Before the test, I could give a vague explanation of my personality, values, and motivations. By answering a handful of questions, I was shocked at how much further I could go into who I am and what makes me think and act the way that I do. Not everything will resonate, but it’s likely that you’ll learn a few gems about yourself you either hadn’t realized or didn’t know how to put into words.
I’ve gained more insight into how I relate to others. Along with this, some assessments give tips on how others can best engage with me–a helpful note for my husband!
I think one of the most important things you can gain from learning your Enneagram is the gateway to a discussion with your partner.
Discovering our Enneagrams gave us a good jumping-off point to openly discuss what is making us happy, what we want to change, and what we should strive for in our marriage and with our family.
As parents, we can so easily fall into the routine of only talking about our kids and skipping over the deeper needs our ourselves outside of our role as a mom or dad. I absolutely have fallen into this (and my Enneagram says I can sometimes ignore my emotions). Long days can be a blur, and often we hope our partner can read our minds with regards to what we want instead of taking the time to voice them.
By taking these assessments and diving deeper into who we are, we can strengthen our bonds, our parenting roles, and especially strengthen our communication.
Everyone parents differently. And that might be the case for you and your partner, which is why it’s so important to understand each other and learn from each other.
With a little help from a couple of personality tests, understanding each other and talking more about what we value and prioritize can make us stronger and more united parents and partners.