Inclusion

October 06, 2002

I bought tickets to see the Peter Gabriel concert in Chicago today. In the process I learned a lesson. You see, I didn't ask my wife if she wanted to go with me. I knew that she wasn't a big fan and that huge crowds like that just aren't her cup of tea. So I assumed that she wouldn't want to go and got tickets for a friend, who is a fan, and myself.

What I should have been thinking was how she would feel to be asked, and conversely how it felt to her not to be asked at all. My "knowing" that she wouldn't want to go didn't take into account her feelings about being included.

We had a long discussion about inclusion and our relationship. Like all relationships ours has needed some nurturing to grow and be successful. I have learned to be considerate of her and her feelings over time. She has learned to consider me and mine as well. We both know that there will be times when our feelings are hurt, further we both understand that we each, individually, control whether we are hurt by the other's actions.

We have learned that there is a cost to having a partner. By having open honest talks about what is going on we avoid having this cost grow to a point we can't pay. We deal with things when they are little, before they grow.

I fell down in not asking her if she wanted to see the show with me. I didn't keep up my end of the bargain, and as a result I have to pay a higher cost now to allow her the space to say the things she needs to say, and to express her emotions without any judgment from me. I gladly paid this cost because we grew closer together in the process.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.