Dear Vicki: Last month you answered a letter from Angry in Annapolis, a Wood having trouble with a Water boyfriend. The issues spoke to me because I’m a Water in a relationship with a Wood. Can you say more about these two elements together? I’d especially love to hear what a Water can do to keep her sanity married to a fussy, opinionated Wood guy who is ranting continuously about politics, but who otherwise is a beautiful, kind, intelligent, hard working individual. Help! Signed, Water on the Edge
Dear Water on the Edge: That is the question, isn’t it? How do elements that are so different manage to get along? As I mentioned in the post you’re referring to (April 14: The Future with Wood and Water), Water and Wood relate on the Nurturing Cycle, so this connection can have a nurturing feel to it. Note that I say, “can.” How a Nurturing Cycle relationship feels will vary greatly depending on the elements involved, who is “feeding” who, and if the interactions are casual and fun or serious and stressed. This especially impacts Woods.
Your husband, as a Wood, will care about things like politics, will always have opinions, and will “rant” because frustration and anger are where Woods go when they’re stressed. And politics usually stress Woods; the concern that the “wrong” party or person will win and create chaos worries many Woods. I guarantee you’re not the only household where ranting abounds these days.
I have no idea how long you’ve been married, but the fact that you also know him to be a “beautiful, kind, intelligent, hard working individual,” says that you’ve probably been together a while, so his behaviors certainly aren’t a surprise to you. Rather, I think perhaps they’re wearing on you more heavily now than at previous times. In the U.S. right now, we are in the midst of an election process that continues to be contentious. There could be other reasons you’re feeling more worn down that usual, too. I encourage you to ponder this for yourself and change anything you can. And most importantly, remember your Water strengths.
As a Water, you will tend to go with the flow and let the flow go around you. Hold on to that even though your more laid back approach isn’t something Woods understand; they are usually trying to make things happen, and to do that they often have opinions about everything. Waters are also very philosophical, so can look at a situation, like the current political climate, and take an “it is what it is” approach that will be completely foreign to a Wood. Hold on to your ability to be philosophical. It’s likely that the differences between you and your husband are heightened right now and you’re having trouble with the fact that your flow is running smack dab into a wooden wall of fussiness and ranting that interferes with you and your calm.
There are several ways for you to approach this. First, your Wood husband might be surprised to know that his ranting is upsetting you as much as it is, unless you have already told him. Ranting is a natural expression of a frustrated Wood; it’s an emotional energy release for them that often doesn’t include their brain. If you haven’t already shared with your husband that you’d rather not experience his rants or fussiness, then please do so. Woods are usually very rational individuals who can comprehend that something they’re doing is a problem. Your husband probably won’t be able to change completely, but at least he’ll understand when you choose to remove yourself from the discussion, the room, or the house when he’s in one of those moods. You doing this might be the encouragement he needs to alter his behavior, too.
Second, you need to honor yourself. Like any healthy Water, your sanity will often depend on your ability to maintain a steady, calm flow so that you can go deep down to where the inner life of a Water exists. Make sure your Water is balanced. If you have too much Water energy, you could inadvertently be contributing to your husband’s heightened Wood state because Water feeds Wood. Once you’re sure you’re balanced, determine when your husband is most likely to be ranting or fussy (watching the TV coverage of political issues, perhaps?) and avoid those times and places. You can read a book in another room while he watches political shows or does whatever it is that upsets him.
Finally, ask him if certain rooms in your home can be declared “neutral zones.” This means no intense discussion allowed. Rooms to label as such might be the bedroom and the dining room; anything that happens in either room usually won’t benefit from ranting or fussiness. If a conversation with him gets to be too much, retreat to one of these neutral zones and hold your line.
I suspect that if you do this a few times, the “beautiful, kind, and intelligent” part of him will get what’s happening, become more aware of his behavior, and change it accordingly. He is always going to be a Wood, and you are always going to be a Water, but the relationship between the two of you can be loving and deep based on what each of you brings. There is no need for his upset Wood behaviors to block your Water flow. Good luck!