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I took a Gamble... literally

October 17, 2008
by kate
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About a week and a half ago, I got married. It was a beautiful ceremony held at the Jersey shore in the town where my husband grew up. So naturally, I’ve heard a lot during the past few months about what constitutes a successful marriage, and I’ve received a lot of advice (some helpful, some of the “don’t do it!” nature) about how to make it work.

The most common sentiment I heard is that a marriage is, above all, a partnership. The two people involved should be on the same page — at least when it comes to the really important issues. Most importantly, they need to be able to work through differences of opinion.

It reminded me quite a bit of a recent interview I had with two key players from Hackensack University Medical Center, CIO Lex Ferrauiola and CTO Ben Bordonaro. When I asked Ben whether he and Lex see eye-to-eye on most issues, he surprised me by saying that, in fact, they do not. However, they both strongly feel that their differences in philosophy make them stronger as a team. Ben went as far as to say that if they were always on the same track, they’d likely fail on a lot of projects. The key is they’re always willing to hash out their differences. In the five years in which they’ve worked together, Lex and Ben have mastered the art of sitting down and discussing their opposing views and coming up with a solution that’s best for the organization. (The full article will be published in the December issue of Healthcare Informatics).

In Lex and Ben’s case, two heads are better than one, even if they have different ways of thinking — or maybe, because they have different ways of thinking.

My husband and I certainly see many things differently. He’s detail-oriented, great with numbers, even better with budgets, and is a Jets fan. I’m more of a creative type who tends to see the “big picture” but also spends money like it’s on fire — and I love the Giants. But, as with the executives at Hackensack, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I definitely feel that our differences make us better as a team.

And while there’s no way of knowing for sure whether that will always be the case, I’m willing to take a Gamble. (By the way, my new husband’s name is Dan Gamble).



See my post, "When The Givers Just Can't Keep Giving" for the discussion and link to Fair Fighting Rules (large print, middle of blog post).

You are welcome. The 'incompatible' is in the sense of the open and closed window story. Being able to see the occasional friction that way and laugh about it is obviously the key.  It's the key to staying in positive emotions.

The opening line of a very popular book is:

"Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."

Same thing with a good marriage ... I hope!

don't do it! too late :)

Kate, it's going to be fantastic. He's a lucky guy, for sure. :-) Congratulations!


In medical school, I actually had "a" (that's ONE) lecture on how to do pre-marital counciling. The outline consisted of two parts, expectation and practice.

Under expectation, we were taught to advise the couple that "Men and Women are fundamentally incompatible." This was during the 1980s; today it would be "People and couples are fundamentally incompatible." This always elicits a smile or laughter [in recognition of a deep truth.]

The follow-up line was: For every person who must sleep with the window closed, there's a person who must sleep with it open. These are always the people who marry each other. Again, always a smile occurs.

The second part of the advice was one the importance, therefore, of fighting fair.

Following your lead, I already have a blog post written on this topic, coming out in the next few days. In my case, it's in reference to the public and media critique of a nonprofit health system on the front page of the WSJ two days ago. It clearly violates the 'fighting fair' doctrine, so essential to marriage, partnerships, and broader societal discourse.

I liked your post. Whether the diversity is between CIO and CTO, spouses, CMO and CMIO, CEO and CFO, etc, the institutions involved are always healthier when there are constructive confrontations, in a timely manner.

That behavior, constructive confrontations, is/are always a Better Gamble (than the common alternative, avoidance.)  Good luck with your Gamble!

Thanks Joe! That's very interesting that premarital counseling was part of your curriculum. I can only imagine how much counseling has changed in the past 20 years — or the past 50 years for that matter. Men and women (or "people and couples") may be incompatible in theory, but somehow they seem to make it work... or at least, they make things interesting!

I had to sit down with my son and analyze his decision about wanting to take the next step with his girlfriend. Maybe my spreadsheets and BAR graphs was a little over the top. So at the end of the discussion I had to tell him to follow his heart. Because when it is all said and done, if he is happy, I am happy.

Kate, you made even a cynic like me smile. Good luck, and I mean it.