Dear Vicki: I just read your excellent post on help for a Metal husband and Fire wife and I wonder if you could comment on the variation I think I have going on. I am a Fire/Earth and use Wood for structure. My partner is Metal, but he is an artist so I think there’s a fair amount of Water in there, too. Anyway, we’re having problems. I drive him nuts with all my home projects and inability to sit still for a whole movie or TV show. He drives me nuts with his laser-focused attention that resents interruption whether working or relaxing. He doesn’t understand why it bothers me when he doesn’t answer a question. He decides if he thinks it needs an answer, and if he doesn’t think so, he is mum. I’ve tried to be patient with him because he recently lost a close friend, but it’s not working. I worry he might be pulling back. When we first got together, I felt our Earths bond strongly, but over time this has become intermittent. When stressed, I am drawn outdoors where I work on significant flower and vegetable gardens and a flock of chickens and a few fish in the pond. He hates gardening and yard work. Maybe you could suggest another way to bring up his Earth? Signed: Nuts in Nevada
Dear Nuts in Nevada: This is an excellent question. On the surface, it does seem like the information offered last week to a Fire/Metal couple should fit for you and your partner. However, I believe that there are more differences between the two couples than similarities. First, I suspect that you are really an Earth/Fire, not a primary Fire. My reasoning for this is that when stressed, Fires rarely seek solace outside with gardens, chickens, and fish. Instead, they usually seek events with other people where they can feed their need for excitement and connection. So your question is more about making a relationship work between an Earth/Fire and a Metal/Water. And I can tell you right up front that more Earth energy isn’t going to help, so let’s look at what will.
First, as with most relationships, it’s important to understand the underlying dynamics between you and your partner. In fact, it is more important in your relationship than with many others. As you know, your Earth will feel good to his Metal because Earth feeds Metal on the Nurturing Cycle. Metals expect this from Earths. However, your Earth relates to his secondary Water via the Controlling Cycle (Earth directs Water). More importantly, your secondary Fire relates to his primary Metal on the Controlling Cycle, (Fire melts Metal). That isn’t going to feel good to him at all. But turnabout is fair play, because his secondary Water relates to your secondary Fire via the Controlling Cycle (Water puts out Fire).
The takeaway from all of this is that the only Nurturing Cycle connection in your whole primary/secondary relationship complex is your Earth feeding his Metal. Every other connection you have with him is via the Controlling Cycle. Your Earth controls his Water, your Fire controls his Metal, and his Water controls your Fire.
I don’t know if you see it, but while you offer both nurturing and controlling energy to him, the only energy you have coming from him is controlling. This doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed, it just means that there will be no automatic nurturing coming your way from the relationship. This is probably part of the difficulty for you because Earths need positive, nurturing connections; it’s one of the top priorities in their lives.
That said, I agree that you must have been able to feel his Earth when you two connected – possibly because Earth governs settling down – but it clearly isn’t his primary or secondary. It’s possible Earth could be his third element after Metal and Water, but the important point here is that, unlike the couple from last week’s post, your relationship does not need more Earth. For them, Earth was a missing piece, a neutral, nurturing territory where they could meet. But your relationship is very different. You are a primary Earth and asking your partner to build Earth might feel selfish to him, much like saying, “I’m right, so just be more like me.” Instead, we need to find a connection between you that works not only for your primary and secondary elements, but also his.
The biggest difference between you and your partner sits in your socialization areas. Metal and Water are the two most “loner” elements. They not only want to be alone, they need to be alone to accomplish their passions (study for Metal and creation for Water). On the other hand, Earths and Fires are the two biggest “social” elements. Fires and Earths both need opportunities to connect with people. Fires are happy with short-term connections, Earths need deep, lasting ones. And if you are longing for a deeper connection with your Metal partner and bringing on more Earth energy to try to accomplish this, it means your Earth could be slightly in excess. This will feed more energy to his Metal causing him to be more Metal. A person with excess Metal can become controlling, inflexible, and dismissive, which certainly describes his behavior. And if he recently lost someone close to him, he will likely be in an even more Metal place these days because loss sits in Metal.
So what can you do? I suggest that your first course of action is to be sure you are not over-doing it with your own Earth. If you are, this will feel smothering to him and he will act accordingly. If you are having trouble sitting through a whole movie, you might have excess Fire, too (perhaps panicked about the relationship?), which will feel very threatening to his Metal. Excess Fire will also over-feed your Earth creating even more excess Earth. If you do think you have either too much Earth or Fire, take steps to balance them. We have discussed many ways to balance both Earth and Fire in these blog posts, so check them out. Things like wearing green, using peppermint essential oil, and drinking ginger tea will help balance overdone Earth. For excess Fire, wearing blue, using lavender essential oil, and drinking motherwort tea will help.
Most importantly, the good news is that Metals are very rational and logical people. If you haven’t already expressed your concerns about the relationship to him, please do so. Metals more than any other element can easily make changes if they see the rationale. And since we all have all five elements in our make-up, try finding your own Metal when you speak with him. Calm (no Fire) logic will reach him best. I guarantee there are reasons he loves you and wants to be in a relationship with you. Ask him what those are and try reinforcing them in your behavior toward him. And ask him to reinforce those aspects of his behavior that you love, as well. He should be willing to do this in his own Metal/Water way.
The goal is to find and reclaim the common ground that was fertile enough to allow your relationship to grow in the first place. Once you do that, you can then assess what needs you have that aren’t being met in your relationship with him. If your Earth and Fire need more connecting time, you may have to reach outside of the relationship for that. For example, you could consider joining a garden club or taking a class with like-minded people. And within your relationship, use your Fire in a gentle way to help keep his Metal balanced and pliant. Playfulness and fun in moderate amounts will amuse his Metal and relate to his Water, so try that. Interest in what he is doing is always important to a Metal, too. You don’t want to over do it, but genuine interest and respect will matter. So often our relationships thrive or wither based on our expectations. If you and your partner can create realistic expectations for your relationship that work for both of you, I’m sure you can grab on and go the distance. Blessings to you!