Dear Vicki: My twin brother Peter and I were very close growing up, but he went to college out of state and never moved back home. We’re 23 now and he’s hinted about getting engaged to Jessie, a girl he met while a student in college. She, however, was not a student – she is six years older than we are and was a waitress when they met. He’s clearly in love and has their whole life planned out, but the few times I’ve met her have given me grave concerns regarding their potential life together. Peter’s a serious guy, a real homebody, who works for an animal rescue service in the town where he and Jessie live. She is still a waitress, but apparently likes to go out with friends when she gets off work and sometimes doesn’t get home to Peter until after midnight, which is so not right. How is this going to be any kind of a marriage? He’s talking about children with her, too, but what party girl makes a good mother? That’s not the way things are supposed to be, but Peter defends Jessie no matter what I say. It’s absurd! I’m too busy with my job as a programmer to go try to talk some sense into him again, but what can I do? Signed: Disgusted in Detroit
Dear Disgusted: Bless you for wanting what’s best for your brother. As twins, it was probably very hard for you when he went away to college; twins are used to being and staying close. It’s also probably hard that Peter has chosen not to move back home and is, apparently, creating a new home with Jessie. Clearly, this is not what you think should be happening and that’s understandable. However, from a Five Elements perspective, it is also understandable that Peter would be attracted to Jessie, that Jessie would be attracted to Peter, and that you would have problems with their relationship. So let’s see what we can to do help you understand what is going on.
To use the Five Elements model to help sort of the relationship issues between you, Peter, and Jessie, we need a sense of the primary elemental personalities for the three of you. Your upset that Peter hasn’t done things the way you think they’re “supposed to be,” along with your job as a programmer, suggests that you likely have a primary Metal personality. Metal people work well with detail and have the focus and thoroughness necessary to be a good programmer. They also expect life to follow a prescribed pattern and unfold in an orderly fashion. When that doesn’t occur, they can easily become upset and sometimes judgmental.
Based on your description of Peter as a “homebody,” he likely has a primary Earth personality. Loyalty in relationships is very common for Earth people, too, and Peter seems very loyal to Jessie. Earth people also love working with animals. Jessie, on the other hand, seems to be a rather prototypical primary Fire personality. Staying out late with friends is very much a Fire thing, as is their ability to make easy connections with others. Fires actually love to connect with people, which would probably make Jessie very good at waitressing.
The most interesting part of this issue is how each of you relate to the others, and for that we turn to our trusty Five Elements model. As a Fire personality, Jessie actually could be an excellent match for Peter. Fire feeds Earth on the Nurturing Cycle of the model, which means that Peter will feel happy and attended to by Jessie. She probably does light up his life. And because the energy in the Five Elements model flows from Fire to Earth, an Earth person can be a perfect fit for Jessie’s wild Fire personality. In nature, an earthen hearth is a natural container for fire. A relationship with Peter probably feels safe and comforting to Jessie. However, the relationship between Jessie’s Fire personality and your Metal personality is a different kettle of fish. In the model, these two elements relate on the Controlling Cycle, with Fire melting Metal. It’s very understandable that you would not only dislike Jessie, but possibly even feel threatened by her.
At one level, this is Peter’s life to live. As an Earth personality, he is wired with a strong desire for a stable home, but stability is not something usually associated with Fire people. They can become bored rather easily and jump to the next fun adventure. This may happen with Jessie. She may tire of life with Peter and move on to someone new and exciting. If so, it will be important for you to be there to help him through the loss. Family matters most to Earth people and you are clearly his closest family. However, the fact that Jessie has been a waitress for at least the four or five years Peter has known her suggests that she is capable of some degree of stability, so she and Peter may have a wonderfully exciting and lively home together.
If this happens, you need to make peace with the fact that your twin has not followed the rules as you see them, but instead, has followed his heart, which is very characteristic of an Earth personality. The question to ask yourself is if you can support him in his choice of life partners. And I can tell you right now that your answer will ultimately be yes. How do I know? Because Metal personalities will always lean toward doing the right thing. It is deeply wired in them to respect and honor what is right. And if Jessie loves your brother and makes him happy, and he continues to love her, there can be nothing more right than that.
For now, I encourage you to detach from this issue as best you can, which is also something Metal personalities can do well if they set their minds to it. Just let it go and see what happens. Your twin will eventually need you, either to help him through a break-up or celebrate a wedding. And either way, you will do so brilliantly because that will absolutely be the right thing to do. Blessings to you!