It took me 24 years in a relationship, and several years after its demise, to learn this piece of valuable wisdom. It's short and sweet, so brace yourself because here it is.
If you're a ten gallon person who gives everything you've got to a relationship, but you have chosen a one gallon person to give your heart to, then it doesn't matter how sincerely your one gallon person strives to give you their very best, they do not have the capacity to fill you up. They simply do not have it to give you, however much they may want to.
AND I'M SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE
My ex-husband, Steve, was the purest soul when I first met him: right up until he wasn't. This I've documented extensively in a memoir entitled Too Relieved To Grieve | The Alternative Heartbreak Handbook, so I won't go over too much of the same ground again now, but there are some aspects which warrant further explanation.
To begin with, I completely accept that he gave our relationship everything he had, most of the time, but here's the thing, he wasn't enough; especially when I grew and he didn't. I bear little resemblance to the person I was in 1989 when we met. Almost everything about me has changed because that's what's supposed to happen. All life forms are designed to evolve, in accordance with the adapt or die arrangement we've made with the universe, apparently. Sadly however, Steve remained steadfast in his limiting beliefs, habits and ways, completely unbudgeable from his cemented identity. He chose the devil he knew every time, never once found a comfort zone he didn't seek refuge in, which resulted in suffocating my will to live at times.
Don't get me wrong, Steve was a profoundly intelligent man whose brain, I often half-joked, should be studied for the benefit of future generations. He was extraordinarily talented and creative, but only in his field of interest. There was zero intellectual curiosity or capacity for anything else, whereas I'm the opposite and grew itchy before starting to wander off towards wonderment which, evidently, threatened his sense of homeostasis.
Imagine a vast field with one of those oil drilling rigs pounding away in one spot and eventually hitting black gold. This was Steve: hardworking and relentless, but static. Absolutely no fault to be found in relentless hard work, other than why not explore the rest of the vast field and drill for new value too, who knows what you might find? But no, he knew what he was doing, did that exceedingly well and didn't dare, or want, to move from the spot he'd planted himself in.
Meanwhile, in more of a pepper pot exploratory manner, I was starting to drill down all over the place, experiencing a new 4D vastness of life that I wanted to learn more about - and then even more than that - which I endeavoured to share with Steve. However, as valiantly as he tried, he just didn't have the capacity, inclination or time to come with me. This, I believe, destabilised him and left him feeling insecure within the marriage and, in all fairness to him, he did verbalise his grave concerns more than once, which again, is all catalogued in Too Relieved To Grieve. I see now that from his limited capacity, he had no option but to leave me for someone who'd be satisfied with his meagre one gallon offerings, and good for them I wish them well. Some people genuinely love, and are more suited to, bijou - and that's okay.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
But now we'll get back to the ten gallon people trying to make it work with one gallon people. I wince whilst admitting this to myself much less out loud, but there were many years I felt something was off, but didn't know what. I could at least identify that I was bored, stifled and restless - feeling an undefined inner expansiveness I just didn't know what to do with - but that was all. I most certainly wasn't prepared to end my marriage or split my family over it, because Steve was genuinely lovely and the children didn't deserve it. So, I determined to make the best of things, in what I now refer to as my Make Do Marriage, which he eventually ended anyway. My investment in him, and us as a couple, did not pay the dividends I had once anticipated.
So, he ended the marriage, behaved abysmally towards our two young children, and made himself the bad guy for all the world to see. Good plan, but my lessons were as stark as they have ultimately been illuminating and valuable, because now I see myself as the ten gallon person no longer wondering why my relationship with a one gallon person didn't work. It couldn't work. It could never have endured past the point it had. It was always destined to fail, unless he grew too. But he didn't, so here we are. There must be equilibrium in all things.
He was a good person. He was the best person for the longest while. He did genuinely try his best, I honestly believe that - and whilst how he was born is not his fault, staying limited by it is. I, on the other hand, am now running around all over the place devouring knowledge, learning lessons, absorbing the wisdom of others and living in near perpetual wonderment. The peace this ten gallon v one gallon learning has given me is immense, and has been the key central ingredient for being able to forgive Steve. If we live in a world where I can't hold the colour of his eyes against him, I can't hold him being a one gallon person against him either. It is what it is, and the ten gallon philosophy let me move on so much more quickly and painlessly than I would otherwise have done. This is why I'm sharing the know-how with you today.
The feeling that something was off, I now believe, was a combination of my subconscious mind and higher Self recognising how out of alignment I was, combined with a knowing of what I am truly capable of, whilst also being wholly indignant by my 3D decision to dim my own ten gallon shine for a one gallon compromise. Whilst I completely accept that fulfilment is only ever my personal responsibility to achieve, I could never reach or maintain such levels, because I was constantly draining my reserves to top up Steve's; who never did accept personal responsibility for anything troubling or arduous. This is why I now perceive (with the benefit of hindsight and memoir-writing) that our relationship was nothing more than a codependent trauma bond, however much it felt like love back in 1989. But I was only 18 in '89 for god sake, what the hell did I know about life, love and the universe back then?!
So let's now focus on you. Does this wisdom - which is not mine, I'm simply passing it on - resonate with you? Are you the ten gallon or the one gallon person in your relationship, and what are you going to do about it? Are you withering or evolving, adapting or dying? Is your personal growth being thwarted and, if so, by what or whom - the answer to which may actually include you too? Are you drilling down hard on one limited area without looking up and moving on, fearful of change and evolution? If so, why is that? Are you ready to change something, because nothing changes if nothing changes.
ONE LAST THING
There are those who may say that one gallon goes into ten gallons ten times, which of course is true, but think about it a little deeper. In the context of one gallon people repeatedly filling themselves and emptying everything they have into a ten gallon person, is that healthy? Is that any better? Is this not simply denying that a mismatch has occurred, or that compatibility is either lacking entirely, or perhaps outgrown? Have a ponder.
You may also choose to consider whether the ten gallon v one gallon philosophy could apply to other relationships, be they familial, friend, work or social in nature. How does that cognitive reframe change your perception and future outlook, if at all?
You are, as ever, welcome to reach out to me here if you'd like some help and personal development guidance, otherwise I hope this little blog helps. Please let me know your thoughts and how you get on.