The In-N-Outs of Getting What You Want


As we kissed goodbye, Mark mentioned he was thinking about adding a last minute morning workout. Thinking nothing of it initially, I said, “Cool! Have a great work out, baby.” But something felt unsettled as I left the house.

Mark has expressed he wants more quality time with Wes. This particular morning while I planned to be away would be the perfect opportunity. I didn’t want to push him in case the workout was something he really wanted, but I felt inclined to remind him of what he previously said was important.

“Siri, send a text to Husband Mark. Hi Cutie, I know you said you’re going to work out this morning but you also said that you want to spend more time with Wes. You can work out any morning but I think you would enjoy quality time together more. Just wanted to put it out there. I support you either way. Love you.”

Moments later, the message received a thumbs up and within hours texts came in with pictures of Wes having a blast. My heart was so full knowing that big smile on Wes’ face was because of the love-filled time he was having with his Daddy. Nice job, Daddy!

Later that night, we shared highlights from our day and Mark talked about his adventure with Wes. They went to a baby gym and he sang “The Noble Duke of York” in front of a mirror while bouncing Wes up and down. Wes cracked up hysterically and I know how that little laugh of his energizes the soul.  Mark even got him a grilled cheese at In-N-Out Burger.  #dadtime!

This situation made me think of the value of offering suggestions and giving someone the opportunity to choose – and how much freedom that creates both on an individual level and within a relationship. No one likes to feel like they’re being pushed or talked into doing something. Even if the result is great, we want to feel like we made the decision from our own free will.

Our conversation would have been drastically different if I guilted Mark into something I thought was "better," tried to persuade him that there's a "right" option, or criticized him for wanting to work out over spending time with Wes. Instead, I was unattached to the result, presented him with another option, and he chose as he wished. I chose Mark as my life long partner partly because of his good judgment and I trust that he'd do the right thing for him, whether that included working out or an outing with his little boy.

Being attached to any result creates behaviors that usually push people away. To quote a reusable Lululemon bag, “Jealousy has the opposite of the desired effect” -- and so does attachment, desperation, guilting, nagging, etc.

Offering an opportunity to someone has a few key parts and we tend to focus on two out of three of them. If we want to create freedom within our relationships, we simply cannot skip the third… here it goes:

  1. Invitation or request. Would you consider hanging out with Wes this morning?

  2. WHY? What’s in it for them? You said you wanted to spend more time with him and I think you’d enjoy it more than anything else.

  3. Opportunity to create freedom. I support whatever you choose to do.

In my experience, less attachment means less resistance… and ironically getting more of what you want. Let’s give others permission to make choices, free of guilting, nagging or persuasion and let them show us the great things they’re capable of.  Who knows, you might even receive a surprise cheeseburger from In-N-Out as a token of thanks.