Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

I can’t say that I am an avid canoer, but I do know a few things about canoeing. First off, I know that it is important to get into the canoe carefully so it won’t tip. I know that it is important for the canoers to paddle on opposite sides of the canoe and to balance it with their weight evenly spread out. I know that if one person stops canoeing, the canoe will go in circles, but if both people continue to paddle regularly, the canoe will advance forward. I also understand that one person (the one at the back) is the one who makes decisions about how fast to paddle or when to slow down or stop.

So that is pretty good as far as my knowledge of canoeing goes. The main goals are to get the canoe going in the direction you want it to go and to move along as smoothly and as quickly as you can (but sometimes you can rest too).  It is a team effort and nothing goes well without both people working in synchronization and towards the common goal.

So What Is Happening In Your Canoe?

Maybe you are wondering what on earth I am talking about. What about my canoe? Well, the canoe is an analogy for a relationship, for a marriage partnership. And before you jump to conclusions, let’s look at how canoeing and a marriage partnership are a lot alike.

So, in your canoe, you each have a paddle to paddle with. One of you is paddling on one side and one is paddling on the other. In the canoe, since you are stuck in the same boat, supposedly, you are heading in the same direction . Hopefully, you don’t want to jump out into the water. First of all, you will get wet and quite possibly, the whole canoe might tip over and everyone will be in the water (even the dog if he is with you). It is probably best to keep paddling to keep the canoe on course.

Don’t Capsize the Canoe!!

So, if you do feel like jumping out of the canoe, maybe you should talk with one another first about what that will do to both of you, the canoe and about how hard it will be to get the canoe right side up again and on course again. Communication is key here. First of all, does each of you know that you have decided to stay in the canoe? You should let one another know. The ride may not be easy. It may seem more like whitewater rafting sometimes and there may be branches in the way. Someone may need to call out ‘BRANCH!!” Definitely, communicate about your commitment to stay in the canoe.

Paddle on your side of the boat and trust that the other person is doing his job. You can’t both paddle on the same side – the canoe will go in circles. Make sure you communicate who is doing what and who is paddling on which side so you don’t get confused. Have an idea of where you are going and who needs to do what. And please, don’t smack the other person on the head with your paddle. The paddle might break (hopefully not) or you might give the other person a massive headache!  Don’t smash the paddle!

Everyone Has a Job

Don’t worry too much about how the other person is paddling; just concentrate on how well you are paddling. It doesn’t do any good to criticize their paddling skills, You won’t get to your destination any faster and the other person might just whack you over the head with their paddle. Each of you has a job to do and each is part of the canoeing team. It might be good from time to time to tell the other person what an awesome job he is doing and that you are glad you are in the canoe together.

How are your paddling skills? Hopefully this is not your first time canoeing and hopefully, you have practiced and improved your canoeing skills. It takes practice and, of course, you have to learn from your mistakes. Sometimes learning from other more experienced canoers can help you to get better. Each of you can develop your canoeing skills to work better as a team.  But always remember, stay in control of your paddle. You need your paddle to keep the canoe going forward.

Someone Has to Steer

You can’t both sit in the back of the canoe; the canoe would rise up at the front with all the weight at the back and that won’t get you anywhere. You might just flip over backward. One person has to sit at the back with a good vision of the canoe and where it is headed. You can’t see the person steering because your back is to him, but you need to trust that he can see where you are both headed and follow the lead. Remember, you are both in the canoe together, so he has a vested interest in the canoe staying afloat. Let the person at the back steer and you take care of your paddling.

Make Sure You Don’t Put Holes in the Canoe

Holes in the canoe are both people’s responsibility. Holes can mean water will slowly start to fill up the canoe and it will eventually sink. You may have a bucket to take out the water, but if the hole is too big you will have a problem on your hands and you won’t be canoeing for very long. It is best to make sure that the canoe has no holes and that you avoid anything sharp like rocks that could puncture the canoe and cause it to sink. Also, it is a good idea not to slack on the paddling; keep paddling and it the canoe is filling up with water, make sure you pitch in and dump out the water.


Remember why you decided to go canoeing in the first place. You both like canoeing, right? Didn’t you both decide to do this? So, it’s a nice day, why not enjoy the ride and the time together. Enjoy the peace of the river or lake you are on. Don’t worry so much about all the rocks and messy stuff. It will get dark soon and you will need to get to your destination before it gets dark. You certainly don’t want to be stuck out on the lake in the dark, do you? So, have fun and paddle on!

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through