Dear Five Faces: I’m writing about my husband, who I think is an Earth. He’s a teacher and a truly loving husband and father. I’m an attorney, so can work long hours, and he is always there to take care of our children and me. He’s perfect in so many ways, but he does have one trait that concerns me, and I’m hoping you can help me understand him. When we are with friends, he tends to share aspects of our life at home that I would rather not have shared. It’s nothing incredibly personal, just little things that I feel other people don’t need to know. I’ve mentioned this to him before, and he says he’ll change, but he hasn’t. What should I do? Signed, Private in Pennsylvania
Dear Private in Pennsylvania: This is an interesting issue. On the surface, if your husband is sharing minor details with others, it shouldn’t matter. And it probably wouldn’t matter to some of the elements, especially another Earth. But as an attorney, you most likely have a good amount of Metal, and Metals value privacy. Metals also tend to compartmentalize aspects of their life, clearly delineating what is public and what is private to keep them separate. Earths rarely make this level of distinction.
You say you want to understand your husband, so let’s start there. Yes, he is most certainly an Earth. And for an Earth, life is all about connecting with others. Earths are also much less discriminating than some of the other elements. For Earths, a connection is a connection, no matter where it’s found. When your husband shares information or events from his life, it’s a mechanism for connecting, for weaving a bridge between himself and others. And this can be such an automatic occurrence, he probably doesn’t ponder the depth of appropriateness before he speaks. So what can you do?
The good news is that the same Earth energy that propels him to connect with others will help him shift the pattern of too much sharing; he loves you and will want to make you happy. The bad news is that he will probably never be as private as you might like – Earths can’t help it; they are wired to share.
Begin by acknowledging with your husband that you have different boundaries regarding what is shared with friends. You might also acknowledge that it isn’t wrong to share with friends, you’re just asking if he is willing to move a bit more toward your comfort level. His Earth will most likely agree to try, although it is quite possible he doesn’t really understand where you want to draw a boundary. You will need to address that next.
Agree on a code word or phrase that you can easily drop into a conversation in front of others when he’s beginning to share more information than you would like. Many couples use a phrase like, “Why, that’s something Aunt Mary would say.” It doesn’t let on that there’s a problem, but it is distinctive enough (especially if there’s no “Aunt Mary” in the family), that it catches the attention.
Then, when you’re alone, explain to him why you were uncomfortable with what was shared. Once he has a better understanding of your boundaries, it shouldn’t be long before he will start shifting what he says toward your comfort level automatically. But honestly, he will probably always err on the side of sharing more rather than less. Earth bridging will always be strong in him, and that’s a wonderful aspect to Earths. Good luck!