Dear Five Faces: I enjoy your blog and learn a lot from it, but never thought I’d write in. However, I’m worried about my daughter and hope you can help. Karen is an attorney in her late 20s. She’s married to another attorney named Tom. Karen was always a serious child, but since she started work and married Tom, her life appears to be all work and no play. I’ve asked Karen what they do for fun, and she tells me that they work. I understand getting ahead, but their lives seem so serious, so out of balance. I’m guessing they’re both Metals. I’m pretty sure Karen’s secondary is Water since she was artistic as a child, and I’m not sure about Tom. He is more focused on getting ahead than she is, so maybe he’s a Wood? What can I do to help these two get a life outside of work? Signed, Worried Earth Mom
Dear Worried Earth Mom: I can totally understand why you’re concerned, especially as an Earth. You will want the best for them and especially want them to be happy. It sounds to me like you’ve done an excellent job of assessing your daughter and son-in-law’s elements. So let’s look at what we can expect with a Metal/Water married to a Metal/Wood.
First, two Metals together will be serious, there’s no way around that. And what’s more, they might well be happy being serious! So while you think it must be terrible, they are probably fine with the tone of their interactions. For now. The risk with two Metals in a romantic relationship is that they will forget to connect and slowly drift away. I once had a pair of workaholic Metal clients who had to put “marriage connecting time” on their weekly calendars to make sure it happened. It worked, too; they are still together many years later.
However, all work and no play will not keep your daughter and her husband balanced or healthy. I suspect you’ve already discovered that talking to Karen about your concerns isn’t going to work because, unless she already suspects they have a lifestyle problem, she will probably listen to you and then compartmentalize your words into her mental “Mom’s Worries” file.
Part of the issue with Karen and Tom is that they have the same primary element. Any relationship between two of the same elements (in this case, two Metals) will lack the energy and movement provided by relating via the Flow or Control Cycle. The good news for Karen and Tom is that both of their secondary elements have great movement: Water will flow anywhere and everywhere, and Wood will blast your socks off if ignited. They just need to make sure they are touching into their secondary elements on a regular basis.
So how can you help in a gentle way? Karen’s Water will provide her an avenue for renewal through artistic expression and/or philosophic discussion. You might consider gifting her with a pair of tickets to a local production of a profound play (Metals can find musicals a bit frivolous), a new museum exhibit (Metals love history and Waters love the arc of history that leads forward), or an artistic event like a gallery opening or artist’s show, which will appeal to her Water. Anything you do to build Karen’s Water will make her more playful and also feed Tom’s Wood, which is all about moving forward, so might pull the relationship into a new realm.
For Tom, you can consider gifting him with tickets to a local sporting event (Woods appreciate gaming and competition), a gift certificate for any kind of special class (both Woods and Metals enjoy learning new things), or even an invitation to a charity event (Woods love helping the underdog).
Finally, every element appreciates eating out in one way or another. You could give Karen and Tom a gift certificate to a romantic, fine dining restaurant (Metals usually aren’t the picnic type – they appreciate refined experiences). This will encourage them to leave their offices and connect, but you won’t be able to control what they discuss. If they talk about work, that’s just the way it will go. But at least they’ll be together in a nice place.
These are all potential ideas for helping Karen and Tom connect in ways that encourage a life outside of the office. And don’t worry, Earth Mother, they are young and probably still discovering how best to express their balanced, Metal beauty. Trust me, it is there!