Relationship Observations Between An Enneagram 3 and 4

We get this question a lot: What are your enneagram numbers!?

Well, I'm a 4! Ronnie is a 3!

Then we get the following question:

How the heck does your relationship even work?

Ha! Most people know that Fours and Threes are different in many ways. But so many people fail to realize how much they can really compliment each other!

For the longest time, Ronnie and I felt the tension that came along with our opposing personality types, but then we began to see it as a blessing rather than just a reason to bicker.

I couldn't have asked for a better person to push me to Jesus and to encourage me in my faith. I always call Ron "The String To My Balloon"... The logical part of my brain... My impulse control. He is so steady and so consistent... I'm usually all over the place and a slave to my emotions! But I'm working on it ;)

If you are a Four, hear me: Before you write off any Three that wants to pursue you, make sure you read this blog to learn about the points of contention between the two, but also the points of overwhelming blessing between the two as well!

What Each Type Brings To The Relationship

Each type brings important qualities to the relationship. Usually the qualities that one brings is the quality the other person lacks!!

For example, Fours can really teach Threes how to communicate on a deeper level and also how to process their feelings. They can also teach them about the beauty in the world, how to have empathy, and how to be sensitive to others. Threes, on the other hand, bring diplomacy to emotional reactions, composure, consistency, and a level-headed way of thinking. Threes can bring a sense of hope and goal-setting to the relationship, which has specifically helped me as a Four when I'm in a slump and can't find any motivation!

Communication is important in any relationship, but it's especially important with an enneagram Four type. Yet, this can be a bit tricky to do in a healthy way with such opposite types. The key here is to understand how to speak effectively with the other. Enneagram Threes core desire and motivation is to be accepted by others... Fours are driven by the need to have their own unique identity...

Why does that matter?

Well... That's just something you have to keep in mind when you are talking to them!

Enneagram Threes just want to be accepted for who they are. Not just accepted, but they need to be given a safe place. Fours need to be showered with words of affirmation, knowing that they are unique to you. They need to be reminded when communicating that they have their own special purpose and that you're thankful for them.

Here are some things to avoid when communicating with Fours:

Don't be overly logical. Don't tell them they are "too much". Don't roll your eyes if they begin to cry.

Here are some things to do when communicating with Fours:

Hug them. Hold them. Tell them you understand. Maintain eye contact. Start any serious conversation by telling them things that they do well, rather than things they need to improve. Save those for last.

Here are some things to avoid when communicating with Threes:

Don't be hysterical. Don't tell them to "grow a heart". Don't fly off the deep end and storm away.

Here are some things to do when communicating with Threes:

Be direct. Be even tempered. Be extremely clear and precise with what you want. Offer solutions.

Since both types are driven by feelings, this can result in an intense relationship. Ronnie and I are both aware of "image" issues and we struggle with wanting people to perceive us a certain way. But that also helps us understand each other better and we are able to keep each other accountable!

Trouble Spots For Fours and Threes

Both Threes and Fours have issues with self-esteem and with needing attention from others! Both in different ways, but that desire is still present.

They both suffer from questions about their own identity and have hidden feelings of shame - That's why focusing on what God says about Ronnie and I has been something we study weekly. We constantly have to remind ourselves that we are enough for the only One that matters! Also, these two types can secretly compare themselves with others and have competitive tendencies. Which is why I'm probably always talking about the topic of "surrender"... cause it's been such a practice in our lives.

Both Threes and Fours need attention and to feel appreciated, although Threes will be more able to openly seek these things. For example: Ron will straight up ask me for affirmation. But me? I'll just be passive aggressive the whole time until he gives it to me. Ugh.

Fours can also feel a bit overshadowed by the more energetic Three. Threes will tend to give less attention than Fours to the relationship itself, although both will tend to see the other as essential for their welfare. Fours will typically want far more emotional involvement and intimacy than Threes know what to do with! But it's amazing because Ronnie is slowly learning to see the world in a whole new light. It's like he's seen in black and white for so long, and I bring a little color to it! And he does the same thing with me on the flip side.

Fours may see Threes as a rescuer (How I see Ron when I'm unhealthy) and Threes may see Fours as a trophy that enhances their desirability (How Ron sees me when he's unhealthy).

We are seriously focusing on trying to be the healthiest Four and the healthiest Three we can be! And that only comes by really diving into the Word and having strong mentors around us.

But here's the thing you gotta remember:

No pairing of types is particularly blessed and no pairing is particularly doomed! I used to buy that lie too!

These type combinations are an overview to help people understand some of the main positive and negative issues that are likely to arise between any two types! Don't think you can't be with a Three, and don't think you can't pursue a Four! It's actually pretty magical.

Keep in mind that one can have a relationship with any type if the two people are healthy.

Since this is not always the case, knowing the type, the level of health, and the instincts of each person can provide more insight!!! In my opinion: As long as they love Christ, you can trust this promise:

Philippians 1:6

"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus"

Let's Stay Connected!

© 2020 by Jonni Nicole Parsons