Dear Vicki: My brother Joe is in his early forties and works as a cook, which is just his “day job.” His passion is music and playing guitar. When we were younger, Joe wanted to write songs for a rock band or be an elementary teacher. Neither ever happened. But about a year ago, Joe met a woman who runs a nursing home. Carol is close to his age, kind and caring, but also very exacting in how she approaches things. She’s always punctual, too. Since Joe moved in with Carol, he has changed in very positive ways. He’s less scattered, more organized, and even thinking about going back to college for a degree in early education. Our whole family is thrilled, and I’m wondering if there is anything we can do to help Joe in his relationship with Carol. She is so good for him. Signed: Caring Sister
Dear Caring Sister: It’s wonderful news about Joe, and no surprise that your family is so happy. In the Five Elements model, family sits in the Earth element. That means we’re all a little Earthy around our families. Deep, lasting relationships matter to Earth people. They also really want the people they care about to be happy. In fact, there appears to be a great deal of Earth energy in your family. Not only because you all want to help Joe and Carol stay together, but because I suspect both Joe and Carol have Earth as key parts of their elemental personalities. So, let’s take a look at them individually, then move on to their relationship.
Joe’s passion for music and songwriting suggests he has a primary Water personality. But his current job as a cook, as well as his desire to be in elementary education, suggests that he has a strong secondary Earth personality. I suspect Carol has a strong secondary Earth personality, too. Earth people make wonderful nurses. But to run a nursing home means that Carol has a more structured element as her primary personality: either Wood or Metal. And given her tendencies to be exacting and punctual, I suspect she has a primary Metal personality.
The structured aspect of Carol’s primary Metal personality could well be the impetus behind Joe deciding to go back to school, which as long as he’s happy, is a good thing. However, at a relationship level, the primary connection between Joe and Carol is probably occurring between their secondary Earth personalities, especially since they’ve already moved in together. This means Joe may not need help from anyone regarding his relationship with Carol; the Earth energies are doing it for both of them! Their connection has the potential to be happy and lasting as long as they don’t get too Earthy and co-dependent, which given their primary elemental personalities, is unlikely.
In addition to their secondary Earth personalities, Joe and Carol will naturally bring their primary Water (Joe) and Metal (Carol) personalities to the mix. And really, the combinations of their primary and secondary personalities can create a wonderful relationship. First and foremost, both Metal and Water personalities need alone time, so they will appreciate that in each other. Also, Joe and Carol relate on both the Nurturing and Controlling Cycles of the Five Elements model, which says they can both feed and help balance each other.
From an elemental personality perspective, the most likely problem to arise between Joe and Carol would be around the issue of structure. If Joe gets too “Watery” or Carol gets too “Metaly” there could be problems. Too much Water energy could not only make more of a loner out of Joe than is good for the relationship, it could also be too unstructured for Carol’s Metal personality. And the structure of too much Metal energy could feel confining to Joe and also too demanding that things be done a specific way, often hard for “go with the flow” Water personalities.
However, I doubt this will happen. The more they stay in their Earth personalities around each other, the better it will be. Their Earth personalities are where they meet and what holds them together. That they have been together for a year is also a good indication that their Earth personalities are driving the relationship. Settling down is a very Earth thing.
In so many ways, Carol could well be the perfect person for Joe, and he for her. I suspect the best thing that could happen for Joe and Carol right now is if everyone supports them, but also gives them room to establish and deepen the rhythm of their relationship on their own. Blessings to you, Joe, and Carol!