In this particular 'affair' the participants are less than human but have individual personalities they bring to their relationship with each other. High pressure metal halide lamps such as BriteArc lamps have the highest luminance and radiance of all continuously operating practical light source. Since these lamps have short arcs and are available in power ratings from about 30W to 30kW they have found applications with various optical systems. Besides the lamps, such systems include an electrical control device and an optical system. To fulfil the user's requirements for a specific application, it is not only important to choose the right lamp, but crucial to achieve a harmonious marriage between the light source, electrical control device and the optics. To run a high pressure discharge lamp an ignitor/ballast system is essential This stabilizes the lamp parameters. The chemical components inside the lamp determine the lamp voltage and the gear determines, via the current, the lamp power. These are directly related in the luminance and color temperature of the emitted light. Therefore lamp performance and effective life are dependent on the ignitor, control gear and lamp combination. Since the lamp emits radiation in all directions, collection of the light from a lamp can be improved by using reflectors to deliver the light into a lens system. Since lamps with short arc gaps approach a point source they appear ideal for optical system applications. The shape of the reflector and the focusing of the lamp determine which part of the light is collected out of the light-arc. In the case of an LCD projector, the final light output also depends on the transmission characteristics of the LCD panels. Their nonlinearity causes the color of the emitted light to be different from the lamp color. All these parameters have to be optimized to obtain the highest performance. This leads to the conclusion that a carefully matched combination of lamp, ignitor/ballast and optics should guarantee the best system performance. This paper sets out to provide some guidelines on attempting to achieve a harmonious relationship between the three partners in this particular eternal triangle.