12 January 2015

Listening to your own and your partners gut feeling

During the holiday break my wife dragged me back to Winnipeg to visit her family. On our trip we passed Elie, a small town outside Winnipeg on the Trans-Canada. In 2007 the town was rocked by a tornado. I'll never forget that night, not because I was there, but because of what happened that night to me when we lived in Winnipeg.

Not aware of the swirling cloud just west of us, my then pregnant wife was afraid that our lawn chairs would take off in the wind. Of course I was not willing to argue with a pregnant woman, so I complied and went outside and braved the thunderstorm. I tried my best to gather the chairs, until I heard not a thunder clapping sound but a crunching sound. Spooked I ran back inside and confessed to my wife that I got scared and didn't feel safe getting the chairs and hoped that she valued my life more than the chairs, and she did.

The next morning we awoke to find the neighbours tree had fallen into our backyard and was smothering the lawn chairs that I was asked to retrieve. I learned two things, if not more, from this experience.

First is to trust your own instinct. Whether you call it your gut, Jiminy Cricket, heavenly promptings, or inner voice, trust it and listen to it. I have learned that if you don't listen to it there is a backlog and you won't hear from it. Like a physical muscle you need to use it or it will weaken.

Second is to trust your spouses instinct. If they mention discomfort or fear, listen to them. For example, recently my wife felt like our daughter shouldn't attend an extra curricular function. I agreed to follow her instinct. Of course nothing extraordinary happened; there was no fire, peanuts were not served, and there was no storm. Neither did anything happen at home. Of course we will never know if anything would have happened, nor should I chastise my wife for expressing fear over something that didn't happen.

If you haven't been listening to your inner voice, start to. If you haven't been listening to your partners voice, start small. It's different to follow your own gut feeling to that of someone else's.

What if your gut feelings disagree, discuss it. Understand each others history and context, and try to understand the feelings from your partners perspective. See if doing such a thing will help you become one in your relationship.

As you start to listen to your own and each others you'll be surprised how it will impact each others relationship.
And who knows, if I didn't trust my gut feeling that night and my wife didn't respect it, that could have been me buried and smothered by my neighbours tree.