Ambition, Ability, and Integrity - Island of Sanity

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Ambition, Ability, and Integrity

I once read an article about marriage that said that what most women want in a husband is a man with "ambition, ability, and integrity". The author briefly mentioned that if a man had only one or two of these things, that wasn't good enough.

I'm sure the author went on to profound insights about love and marriage, but I got to thinking about the combinations of these three things.

Think about it: If a man has ambition, ability, and integrity, he is likely to be an upstanding and successful man. I can certainly see how this would be the sort of man that women would want. But only one or two of the three makes him a loser in one way or another.

Consider all the possible combinations of these three attributes. A little math, "combination theory", shows that there are eight possible combinations: three things, each with two possibilities, gives 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 combinations.

Ambition Ability Integrity Result
X X X Admirable, successful man. It's easy to see how this is the sort of man a woman would want.
X X   Unscrupulous businessman, con man, successful criminal, politician. Some women will like this kind of man: the "bad boy syndrome". Mostly these are the kind of people who do the most harm to society: they don't care about others or even enjoy hurting others, and they are capable enough to do it.
X   X Nice guy who tries hard but is a perennial failure. Clearly a very sad case.
X     Schemer. One of those people who always has a million schemes to make money but nothing ever comes of them. Or if his lack of integrity is more extreme, he may be a henchman: not smart enough to become a master criminal himself, so he becomes a follower of some other criminal. Or maybe he's in and out of prison all the time because he attempts all sorts of crimes but always gets caught.
  X X A wasted life. Someone who could accomplish great things, but never does. He's smart or creative or whatever, but doesn't have the drive to ever accomplish anything.
  X   Parasite. He takes advantage of others and contributes nothing to society. But he's too lazy to do a lot of harm.
    X Nice loser. He's a decent guy but accomplishes nothing in life.
      Mean loser. He's a total failure in life, and he rages against the world for his failure.

I don't have a point. It was just amusing to think about.

© 2011 by Jay Johansen


Mrs. J. Heckler May 17, 2015

I have to disagree. These 3 qualities are nice. However I have found The single most important factor in a man is how he treats me. How much money he has really is not that important. If he treats me kindly, and with respect is the single most important factor there is and the only thing that will ensure whether our relationship or marriage, will last.
His integrity and ambition are just icing on the cake when the bills come due and he has the gone to work every day to be able to pay those bills.
I already know that we have together worked to create a standard of living we are both comfortable with because we treat each other with the respect and kindness the Lord has decreed. He treats me as the Lord treats the church and I, in turn am his help mate. This is how the Lord intended a marriage to be. Not some mathematic problem.

Beverly Vleck Apr 26, 2018

I MOST VALUE...integrity as a keeper. In a marriage, it's helpful to have the other 2 options. The importance of a husband willing to try options to aid in financial advancement, and motivation to attempt it. But I value Integrity at the top of my list. Prov.2:6-8 says..... For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth comes knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upight; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, Guarding the paths of Justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones.

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