Enneagram Type One (the Reformer) 
Enneagram Type Three (the Achiever)

What Each Type Brings to the Relationship

Enneagram Ones and Threes are both competent, serious minded, and idealistic. This is a highly task-oriented relationship, with both partners driven to hard work and to be intensely aware when, individually and collectively, they are not measuring up to their own expectations and high standards. Both parties can bring selflessness, self-discipline, good work habits, and the ability to put aside their personal feelings for the sake of the objective good that needs to be done. Both types are used to working so hard that they often succeed, garnering admiration from those around them and attaining places of leadership and responsibility. The One and Three combination can be dazzlingly accomplished, high energy, extraordinarily competent and impressive both individually and collectively. They both strive after excellence, both as an ideal and as something to personally embody. Sometimes they succeed so well that this pairing virtually glows with self-confidence and the thrill of their own talents. They strive to make each other proud of them, someone the other can look up to and show off to his or her friends and family. They enjoy planning and organizing their lives, dividing up responsibilities after seeing who is objectively better at which tasks. Both thrive on respect and give each other personal space.

There are only two other equally goal-oriented pairings, a One with One combination and a Three with Three pairing, although since these both are same type pairings, they typically have blind spots that these combinations will need to be aware of. Because the One/Three is a mixed pair, this produces a powerful coalition that is capable of dealing both with ideals and with practical matters. They will try to solve problems in the relationship by discussing the issues involved since neither likes emotionally charged bickering or unresolved issues. Ones help Threes to be more grounded and realistic; Threes help Ones stretch themselves and not be so perfectionistic. They are both industrious and persistent, efficient and concerned with excellence and with making a real difference in the world.

Potential Trouble Spots or Issues

If this relationship gets into trouble, it is often over time commitments, lack of emotional attachment to each other, and a creeping sense of competition. Further, Ones tend to find Threes too workaholic, pragmatic, and too concerned with image and with their reputations rather than with principle. Ones can see Threes as tending to cut corners in ethical matters, willing to exaggerate or fudge the truth in order to achieve whatever they are after. They can also become critical of Threes if they change their goals pragmatically, dropping efforts or switching positions when something does not work for them. Ones may also have issues with Threes attempting to reinterpret ethical questions and with not owning up to their personal behavior, including their behavior regarding fidelity in the relationship itself.

On the other hand, Threes tend to find Ones too rigid and judgmental in their attitudes and inflexible in various areas. While Threes generally value Ones’ organizational ability and ability get things done, Threes can also feel that Ones are too narrow-minded and methodical, too perfectionistic and focused on details rather than results. Threes may have issues with Ones about feeling they are being stifled or judged both for their attitudes and for their actions. Threes thrive on praise, but stressed Ones are unable to give any credit to themselves, much less to anyone else. Threes see Ones’ critiques of them as nitpicking and time wasting. Eventually, Threes start avoiding Ones, triggering Ones’ abandonment issues—and more anger and criticism. Both gradually lose respect for the other: Ones losing respect for the Three’s integrity, and Threes losing respect for Ones effectiveness. An open break can occur, but if both find the relationship useful, it can endure as a professional marriage without much passion but because it is useful to both parties for their continued professional success and personal status.

For further understanding about this type combination, read more about the Stress Arrow and how types One and Three behave when they are moving along it.