Dear Five Faces: A few weeks ago my husband and I arranged for childcare so we could enjoy a romantic dinner out. I’d finished an important project at work that day, so was especially looking forward to celebrating. While we were holding hands in our romantic booth, my cell rang. Worried it might be the babysitter, I checked the number and saw that it was my business partner on the project. Thinking something might be wrong and I could fix it then let it go, I picked up the call. As you can imagine, this didn’t go over well with my husband. He said I should have ignored it once I knew it wasn’t the sitter. Who’s right? I’m a Metal with some Earth and I’m pretty sure my husband is a Wood with a good amount of Earth. Signed, Right or Wrong?
Dear Right or Wrong: This is a great example of the real difference between elements. Your Metal probably didn’t see any harm in quickly dispensing with a problem. However, as you found out, your Wood Earth husband clearly didn’t like his romantic dinner interrupted by your work. Let’s look at the dynamics to help you understand what happened.
As a Metal, you have the enviable ability to compartmentalize most aspects of your life. When you’re at work, you focus on work. At home, you focus on home. Most Metals are great at detaching; none of the other elements can do this as well. So for you at dinner, it wasn’t hard to step out of the romance into work for a brief moment or two, fix the problem, then detach from work and step right back into the romance. Ah, that the rest of us could follow your lead.
As a Wood, your husband probably had expectations for the romantic evening. He could have interpreted your picking up the call as a message that time with him was less important than work. Also, his Earth was most likely invested in the two of you connecting at a deep level that evening and might have been hurt that you appeared not to feel the same way. Once his Earth was hurt, his Wood could have expressed that as anger, and your Metal would have responded to his excess Wood with even more Metal. This would have felt controlling to him, and the evening would have rapidly spiraled downward.
The missing piece in this is your Earth. It’s certainly what drove you to check the phone to guarantee all was well at home, but then it seems your Metal took over when you saw it was a work call. In your defense, a Metal could see nothing wrong with a quick call to handle things, especially since you were probably still in the energy of the project, having just completed it that day. But your Earth should have been somewhat engaged in a romantic dinner with your spouse. What went wrong? I suspect that as part of getting the project done at work, your Earth had been feeding your Metal and had not yet shifted to connecting with your husband’s Earth.
Clearly, there is neither right or wrong here for either of you, but I do have some suggestions to insure that this type of thing doesn’t happen again. Metal and Wood are the two most structured elements. This makes them both great at accomplishments, especially at work. However, it’s likely that while you admire and respect each other’s work, what holds you together in a romantic relationship is the Earth you both have. And since Earth is all about home and family, this is an awesome dynamic for your relationship and children. So in your personal life, make sure that you (and your husband) emphasize your Earth connection as often as you can, especially when you’re together. This will ground you and ultimately, your family.
And on special occasions, guard against stepping into work. Left to their own devices, Metals can build compartments that separate them from others; too much Metal can isolate those you love. Embrace the Earth and all will be well. Good luck!