Dear Vicki: I’m a Metal with a Wood secondary married to a Fire guy who has a lot of Earth. I sometimes wonder how we’ve made it seven years when we’re so different, but we have. In the good times, Rory’s Fire keeps my Metal from getting too stuck, and I’ve definitely learned to enjoy life, laugh, and play more thanks to him. And he says he appreciates how I help hold things together for him. But lately, I feel like I’m the more masculine person in this relationship. I’m the one who sets boundaries, makes plans, keeps us on track, etc. I’m tired of that and angry with him most of the time now. I really wish he could be the man in the family, especially now when we’re facing financial problems that require careful planning and holding to a budget. I think I need to bring out his inner Wood so he can help get things done. How do I do that? Signed: Needs More Wood
Dear Needs More Wood: The issue you’re having with Rory is one of structure, so it makes sense that you would want him to manifest more Wood, which is the second most structured of the elements. Metal is the most. From a structure perspective, that means that you have as a primary and secondary the two most structured elements possible. Rory, as you know, is much less structured. In fact, his primary Fire is the least structured of all of the elements. Fire is really just light; it is heat made visible. No structure there. But Earth does have structure, and that is important.
I think it’s this issue of structure that’s fueling your belief that you’re more “masculine” than Rory. In our patriarchal culture, the masculine principle (yang) is always seen as more structured and “no nonsense.” The feminine principle (yin) is more diffuse and go with the flow. But the Five Elements model teaches us that any whole needs equal amounts of yin and yang interacting in a dynamic fashion to maintain balance. That includes the “whole” that is your marriage. As you stated in your letter, during good times you and Rory do keep each other pretty balanced. But now that you’re in a tough spot, you aren’t feeling very balanced. Let’s see what we can do to move your marriage back to balance and also provide you with support.