Enneagram Type Three (the Achiever)
Enneagram Type Nine (the Peacemaker)

What Each Type Brings to the Relationship

This is a fairly common pairing. Nines bring enormous support, encouragement, and a sense of pride in the Three's accomplishments. Threes can feel that with the Nine behind them, they are able to be themselves, explore their potential, and become the best mate, friend, or professional that they can be. Threes can help Nines to properly value themselves, to have more self-respect, and to invest in their own development. Nines can help Threes relax and find enjoyment in simple things—Nines give them permission to not drive themselves so much. Both types also want to avoid conflicts and to put a positive spin on things—Nines are genuinely optimistic and look on the bright side, while Threes focus on being positive and hopeful, and are careful to not let people see them being down or depressed. Both types are sociable, idealistic, caring for children, animals, and the underdog. Both are usually hard working and want to achieve a degree of material success that will enable them to take care of others in a kind of extended family where everyone would be safe, comfortable, and thriving. They both want a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing home.

To this mix, Threes bring energy, personal ambition, flexibility, the ability to set and achieve long term goals, and efficiency. Threes energize Nines and bring change and excitement to the relationship. Nines bring a feeling of safety and steadiness, the assurance that the Three is loved for themselves and not just for their achievements, and the feeling of not being judged or evaluated at every moment. Threes feel that they can let down their hair and really be themselves with Nines who accept them just as they are. The sensuality of the Nine and the attractiveness of the Three can meet in a couple highly attracted to each other and attached by physical passion. In other Three-and-Nine couples, the need for comfort and security may be the main source of attachment and the pleasure they get from each other.

Potential Trouble Spots or Issues

The Three/Nine couple can almost be a case of "too much of a good thing." Because both types are attracted to keeping the positive values in their lives alive—and there can be so much attachment to comfort and stability in their world—that it becomes difficult to question the status quo and the routines that they get into. Neither wants to bring up conflicts that they have with the other. Nines are more likely not to want to talk about whatever is bothering them for fear of further endangering the relationship. But Threes also do not want to express their complaints because doing so will risk rejection and may also expose the fragility or even the falseness of their relationship. Nines feel that it is better not to say anything and to let things work out on their own, if that is at all possible. If Threes are heavily invested in having a "perfect marriage" to the outside world, it will be difficult to talk about their unhappiness in the relationship or the frustrations they are feeling.

Often the relationship will continue for a while as if nothing is wrong-even if it is essentially over. Eventually, however, Threes begin to feel unseen and unappreciated, and that the Nine is not really there for them—not really present to the relationship. The Nine may be an excellent provider in a material sense, but under stress, may begin to become emotionally absent. Feeling abandoned or rejected usually makes Threes become depressed, although often they do not realize this since they can get quite out of touch with their emotions. Threes can feel that Nines are stifling them, whereas Nines can feel that Threes are too demanding and are "spoiled." Sometimes a crisis, an affair, or some other major life challenge brings the deterioration of the relationship into awareness. They may go through cycles of breaking up and getting back together, although if the underlying problems are not resolved, the real feelings and frustrations continue and will eventually undermine the relationship.

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