Dear Vicki: My partner and I have quite a turbulent relationship. He is VERY Wood and can be loud, judgmental, and sure he’s always right. On the other hand, he can be the most generous, kind, and thoughtful person ever. Sometimes, even if he’s in a great mood, he gets quite loud and talks non-stop and can’t seem to calm down. He can be very overwhelming and interrupt a lot, too. I’m sure that as a Fire/Water, I have traits and habits that probably drive him crazy, but life with him can be so overwhelming. It’s especially hard when he’s in one of his judgmental moods because he doesn’t get all the facts before passing judgment. When my Fire is unbalanced, I overreact and this makes things even worse. I’ve learned that approaching him from my Water works much better. Even so, we’ve really been having a hard time lately and have talked about separating. Neither of us wants this, but after 7 years we are both feeling more than a little stressed that we just can’t get it together. Signed: A Frustrated Fire
Dear Frustrated Fire: You have summarized your issues well. On the surface, it seems that the two of you should have a great relationship: His Wood relates to both your Water and Fire on the Nurturing Cycle. This means that your Water feeds his Wood, and his Wood feeds your Fire. It would be interesting to consider your partner’s secondary element to see if there is any Controlling Cycle influence in your relationship. Right now, the only controlling factor is your own Water to Fire. Is it possible that he has a secondary Metal? You don’t mention his occupation, but the fact that you find him very judgmental suggests that Metal might be strong in him. Metals are the final discerners in a cycle; they decide what matters and goes forward to the next cycle, and what is released and left behind. They are the ultimate authority on fact, too, so if your partner has a poor relationship with facts, his Metal (whether secondary or further back) is likely out of balance. His Wood will also bring an impatience for moving forward without full preparation.
If he is a secondary Metal, he would have a Controlling Cycle relationship with himself just as you do – his Metal would control his Wood. His secondary Metal would also add a Controlling Cycle factor to your relationship because your Fire controls his Metal. This means that between the two of you, four of the five elements would be represented in your relationship. Significantly, the one missing is Earth, the element of relationships. And this isn’t as bad as it sounds. If neither of you have a strong Earth, you won’t miss it in the other. However, it does imply that the two of you must be pretty compatible to have stayed together for seven years without a lot of Earth, so let’s see if we can help smooth things out.
You have wisely discerned that your relationship does best when you react to your partner from your Water. Woods have a high need for individual acknowledgement and Water feeds that. Fire, on the other hand, is more difficult for Woods to handle long term. Fire burns Wood, which feels chaotic and is depleting. Woods dislike both. And if threatened, Woods can become “more Wood,” meaning they grow louder, angrier, bolder, and overwhelming. Sound familiar? So staying out of your Fire when things are tense between the two of you is wise. That said, balanced Fire with balanced Wood can be glorious. There is no better combination for celebrating success of any kind at any time.
What can you two do to “get it together?” It really does come down to the need for both of you to stay balanced! The two of you have a perfect set-up for creating and maintaining balance, too. You just need to be aware of yourselves and each other. When your partner is too loud and overwhelming, it means he has too much Wood and needs Metal to trim back that Wood. If Metal is his secondary, so much the better; he has what he needs himself. But even if that isn’t the case, you can help build Metal for him. First, make sure your Fire is balanced because too much Fire will melt any Metal he does have. Second, use external sources to build his Metal gently. The key is to be gentle; too much Metal too fast will threaten his Wood and cause it to become overblown. We’ve talked a lot about ways to build Metal in this blog (surround him with white and/or metal objects, wear hematite, use eucalyptus oil, drink red clover tea, etc.), so try a few.
When you feel that he’s interrupting you too often, check your Fire. Are you in an excess Fire phase? Fires like to be the center of attention, so interruption can be very annoying. It can also ratchet up the level of Fire to compensate for the interruption that took the attention away. The good news is that you have what you need internally to manage your Fire and that’s your Water. You seem good at moving into a Water place, but if you ever need help, review some of the suggestion from this blog about building Water (surround yourself with blue and/or physical water, wear lapis lazuli or aquamarine, use frankincense oil, drink ginseng tea, etc.).
There is one final aspect of your relationship that can affect how things go between you and that’s the fact that you are both yang energies. Your Fire is full yang, his is new yang. This means that activity will be important to both of you, although your Water (and his Metal, if that’s his secondary) will also desire quiet times. Both of you will need to find that balance for yourselves, and help find it for each other. In fact, balance is the guiding word for each of you individually and for your relationship. Too much activity could be the turbulence you ascribe to your relationship. Too little activity will be boring to your Fire and unproductive to his Wood. If you can consciously manage balance across your yin/yang polarities and your elements, you should have everything you need for a dynamic, fulfilling, and deeply connected relationship. Blessings to you!