Transforming conflict to peace

03.25.2016 - Adult Conferences, Our Programs
Enneagram Conference provides practical wisdom to heal relationships

Erika and Jon Jobes had the perfect life. They were high school sweethearts and had been married for 22 years. Their two sons were healthy, happy, ideal children. The Jobes owned a successful landscaping business and lived in a beautiful home in a lovely, quiet suburban neighborhood, close to their sons’ private school. They had it all, and yet, the Jobes were struggling spiritually and emotionally.

“Jon was sleeping on the sofa, and I felt like I was always walking on eggshells,” says Erika. “Our personalities were so at odds that we had a hard time communicating at work and at home.” Simple discussions turned volatile and resentments followed. They loved each other, but they had hit a roadblock. Erika dreaded going into the office. Their business suffered along with their personal life. “I was an unhealthy tyrant and Jon was a perfectionist,” she says. “Our attitudes turned off clients and alienated employees.”

They were almost ready to give up when Erika and Jon decided to reach out to a psychologist in nearby Anniston, Ala., Dr. Joseph Howell. Howell was knowledgeable in the Enneagram, which the Jobes had stumbled upon a few years earlier. They thought the Enneagram’s spiritually-based personality assessment might help them understand their differences. “We’d read some books on the Enneagram,” Erika says. “We knew we needed to find a marriage counselor who also understood the Enneagram.”

Not only was Howell the perfect fit to help them begin to heal their relationship, he invited them to attend the upcoming Enneagram Conference at Kanuga. Erika was skeptical but eager to do something to effect change. The 2015 conference proved to be all that was promised and more.

“We learned how to use our knowledge of our Ego types to get back to our true essence, that authentic being who God wants us to be and understand on a spiritual level,” she says.

Over the past year, Erika and Jon have applied the wisdom of the Enneagram to improve their marriage as well as their business and their relationships with their 50+ employees.

“As an Ego Type 8, when I return to my essence I’m a servant leader and a very compassionate, nurturing person,” she says. “When I apply that in our business, our retention rates go up. Our turn-over rates go down. My relationships with our team members, customers and vendors, completely changed.”

Jon and Erika were so moved by what they learned at the conference, they decided to continue their study with Dr. Howell and the ICB faculty and enrolled in the 2016 Certification in the Spirituality of the Enneagram course. In October, 2017, they will return to Kanuga Conferences to finish their coursework and graduate from the intensive program.

“We use what we’ve learned from the Enneagram in our spiritual life to understand how God created us and how to get back to that,” Erika says. “It’s been life changing. I wake up now with a passion for work. I wake up with my husband in the morning and appreciate who he is. We’re in love again. We’re happy again.”

By Brigid Elsken Galloway