Ask Vicki: Relationship Advice Using the Five Elements

How to Make Her Husband’s Creativity More Productive

Dear Vicki: I have been happily married for a long time to a guy I love dearly. He is retired now from his position as a researcher, which he excelled at because he always came up with the most imaginative ways to approach whatever he was working on. But since retiring, he seems stuck and unable to act on many of the “new” ideas he has for himself. He is initially very enthusiastic about a particular topic, but doesn’t seem able to follow through, so quickly loses interest and moves on to the next idea that attracts him. He is very intelligent, but seems to fear not being able to do things perfectly enough to share with the world. I have been a stay-at-home mom most of my adult life, although I always do part time accounting work during tax season. I want to help him, but am not sure what to do. Signed: Wants to Help

Dear Wants to Help: It is frequently difficult to shift gears suddenly when one retires. It often takes time for the changes in schedule, activity, freedom, and lack of structure to create new patterns. You don’t mention how long your husband has been retired, but let me suggest some ways you might be able to help him now.

Given his career in research, it seems likely to me that your husband has a primary Metal personality. Research is usually considered the domain of Metal because it requires looking into what has already happened, discovering how different pieces of history and fact fit together, then determining how they answer the question at hand. This looking back, synthesizing, and selecting what to take forward is definitely that arena of the Metal personality. However, the fact that he always had imaginative ways to approach what he was doing suggests that he probably has a strong secondary Water personality. Imagination sits in the Water element.

You, on the other hand, are very likely a primary Earth personality. Nothing gives the Earth personality more joy than being able to stay home and focus on raising children and creating a home, in every sense of the word. However, the fact that you turn into an accountant during tax season says that you probably have Metal as your secondary personality.

Before offering you suggestions on how you can lovingly help your husband follow through on his ideas, let me point out a few of the important dynamics between the two of you. First, you both have Metal as a primary or secondary in your elemental personalities. This would have made you a very suitable companion for your husband during his work life given that he was acting from his primary Metal as a researcher. Remember, Metal people usually like things streamlined and ship-shape. It’s even possible that you skewed more toward you own Metal personality while he was acting from his.

Another important dynamic between the two of you is that while he was working as a researcher (and thus strongly in the Metal part of his personality), he would have loved the fact that you are a primary Earth personality. In the Five Elements model (shown below), you can see that Earth relates to Metal on the Nurturing Cycle (the big circle) which is languaged as “Earth feeds Metal.” He would have appreciated your Earth attentions at every level. That connection will stand you in good stead now as you use your Earth energy to help guide and focus the creative part of his Water personality going forward. Let’s look at how you might do this.

The Earth part of your personality relates to the Watery, creative part of your husband’s personality on the Controlling Cycle (the big star in the model). This is languaged as “Earth controls Water.” And while relating to someone on the Controlling Cycle can frequently bring about clashes, it is different when the situation is Earth controlling Water. While the other elemental personalities usually “control” by decreasing energy, the Earth personality controls the Water personality by guiding. In nature, think of the way earthen banks guide the flow of water through lakes, rivers, and streams. This makes Earth the perfect element to provide structure for Water. Without structure, Water will spread and dissipate. This means you can be a great help to your husband by encouraging him to focus his attentions on the creative aspects of his projects.

The fact that your husband fears “not being able to do things perfectly enough” suggests that the Metal part of his personality is still a factor. Metal seeks perfection, but in the model, it also feeds Water (via the big circle), so will affect how much Water energy your husband expresses. Fear sits in Water and usually indicates a deficiency in that element. Lack of hope or optimism also indicates a Water deficiency. This is clearly part of his problem.

I wonder if your husband is so stuck on the idea of perfection that his Metal personality isn’t allowing enough energy to flow from Metal to Water. This lack of enough energy in the Water part of his personality would mean that he’d not only feel hopeless about an idea and lose interest in it, but would be unable to send enough energy from Water on to Wood (Water feeds Wood via the big circle) to follow through on the idea. Wood is where manifestation sits.

To help your husband arrive at the Wood ability to manifest his ideas, I suggest you consider the following approaches:

1) Help the Metal part of his personality understand that the time for perfection, which was so important during his career, is over. This is a fun time now, a time of new beginnings.

2) Use the Earth part of your personality to guide his creative Water activities. Support his enthusiasm toward a particular topic and when this enthusiasm wears thin, step in with your Earth and help him see a possible next step in the flow of the project. Your Metal will help you here, too, but be careful not to use your Metal too much or engage his Metal. For example, don’t use logic, rationality, or his historic tendencies to make a point. The desire for perfection lies in Metal and you don’t want him stuck on that. Playfulness is a great way to engage his Water and help maintain flow.

3) When he moves into the usual “lose interest” stage, begin building his Wood energy. The most important way you can do this is to banish all Metal thoughts and actions from your house for a while because Metal controls Wood on the big star. It’s highly possible that all of the Metal energy he used in his career life (and even his home life with you) has diminished the Wood part of his personality, thus leading to his inability to manifest.

There are any number of ways to build Wood energy back into your husband’s personality, and we have discussed many of them in this blog over the years. First, try surrounding him with anything and everything green (the color that builds Wood) including wall color, clothing, etc. You can also use peppermint or lavender oils with him (which balance Wood), encourage him to drink dandelion or milk thistle tea, and keep green plants in his work area. Another particularly good way to build Wood energy is to wear a malachite or green aventurine stone against the skin. Men usually don’t appreciate jewelry, but he might be willing to wear a single green malachite (or a green aventurine) bead around his neck or wrist.

Ultimately, I believe that if you use the Earth part of your personality to help guide his Watery creative process, and then you both step away from your Metal personality tendencies while you build his Wood energy, he will be very able to take projects to the full stage of manifestation. But remember, if he is really being true to his Water, successful manifestation may be less important to him than it is to you. Water people don’t really care about that. For them, the joy is in the creativity.

Blessings to you and your husband!