This past weekend we (the three cavemen and I) decided to go on a kayaking adventure. We’ve lived in our home for the past six years and our town has access to a gorgeous river. We’ve never made the time to enjoy the river activities that are available to us… until recently. Over the past summer Mike has taken the boys fishing at the bluff, the boys have gone fishing at the bluff, I’ve gone and sat at the bluff, we’ve gone to Short Beach and Long Beach and watched the sun go down…but never before have we kayaked down the river.
I wouldn’t have predicted that I would find a lesson in teamwork and marriage while kayaking… but being the analytical thinker that I am, I did…and it’s a doozy!
That’s a photo of my man Mike and I before getting in our two person kayak. By the way, I forgot to mention that both Mike and I have never kayaked before in our life…and for Mike that’s a really, really long time. Just kidding honey
The boys, Mike and I got assigned our respective kayaks and we were off to begin our 5 mile paddle down the Nissequogue River! My youngest Nate shot into the lead position paddling his little arms off while Noah hung back and began shouting out commands and informing Mike and I what we were doing wrong…
After 4 or 5 minutes it became painfully obvious that indeed we were doing something wrong because we ended up in the wetland reeds (it hurts when they poke you in the eye) and beaching ourselves in shallow water. One of my life challenges is not knowing my right from my left when I’m under pressure. This has proven to be dangerous to my health in the past when dealing with horses (that’s another blog post story). With that said, Mike keeps snapping “paddle on the right” and I respond by immediately paddling on the left…which sparks him to say sharply at me “I know your dyslexic (I’m not) but that’s not your right!”…which sparks me to yell “stop YELLING at me!” back at him…at the same time Noah is paddling his kayak (like Joe Cool Kayak) right next to us saying “I told you we shouldn’t have tried this”.
If I wasn’t so not in the mood to be stranded in the middle of nowhere in brackish water, I would have jumped out of the kayak and attempted to walk the rest of the way!
If it wasn’t bad enough that Mike was making, what was supposed to be, a fun trip into some sort of precision Olympic Sport...I had Noah… the proverbial “Peanut Gallery” cracking comments on the side lines.
Two negativity mongers that’s what they are!
My little guy Nate was waaaay ahead of us at this point. Lot’s of other folks were kayaking down the river too. I wonder what fun they must of had watching and listening to Mike and I bicker? Glad to be of service…that’s what I always say!
Mike likes to bicker. He says it’s debating and I say it’s bickering AND it’s fucking annoying. Everything in life cannot be a debate! I need some easy-breezy times where he just absorbs the info I’m saying and allows it to sink in before shooting back a retort. But I digress…
Mike asked me to “rest my arms” and not paddle so I began to look at all of the other people kayaking around us. Most of them were whizzing past us…
Then as luck would have it, a couple on a double person kayak came up along side us and I watched them. The man was in the back and the woman was in front, the same seating positions as Mike and I. The next thing I noticed not only changed our kayak game but gave me deep insight into relationship struggle. The man was waiting for the woman to put the paddle in the water and at the same time he stroked the oar in the same direction as her…TEAMWORK!
“Ah ha!” I thought to myself…I can’t see what Mike’s doing back there…I don’t have eyes behind my head. I wondered to myself (already knowing the answer)…is Mike paddling with me or against me?
I asked him…”Mike, are you waiting for me to paddle and then paddle with me, or are you paddling on your own agenda?” He responded “No, I’m just paddling on one side than on the other.” I said “Mike, you can see me… be but I can’t see you…please look at that couple scooting down the river…he’s waiting for her and paddling along WITH her not AGAINST her.”
No response from Mike. That usually indicates that he got busted …
Once I made that discovery, Mike began paddling with me and we began to really move down the river. That’s us, you can see I’m smiling and so is Mike! There’s Noah, aka the Negativity Monger #1, chilling out next us in his kayak.
What I never fully realized about Mike is that he’s really not a team player by nature. It just doesn’t come naturally to him. Perhaps he was never taught the concept of teamwork growing up, I’m not really sure. That’s where most of the strife in our relationship comes from. He has his own agenda a lot. It doesn’t make for smooth sailing in a relationship or smooth kayaking either! Pun intended by the way…
The great thing about my man Mike is that once something is brought to his attention, he works hard to improve it. Once we learned how to paddle our two person kayak effectively, we began to have some fun.
The river was picturesque and beautiful. It felt great to be out in nature, connecting with the divine…it felt great to try something new and be with my boys…it felt great to laugh with my man. Day to day life can be a real drag, it’s so important to do things or try new things together as a couple and as a family. Before I knew it we had caught up with Nate. Our new found paddling strategy was working perfectly! Only a couple more oopsies into the reeds but that’s not bad for kayaking newbies attempting a 5 mile trip!
There’s Nate and we’re closing in on him. Almost finished with the trip…
WE DID IT! Mission complete, we all successfully completed the 5 mile kayak trip down the Nissequouge River! Awesome!
What I learned on this adventure was the importance of teamwork in a relationship. If you have your own agenda and paddle against the flow of your relationship goals, you will inevitably move in circles and there will be strife. Strife and drama is avoidable with great communication, respect AND working together in unison for a common goal. Mike and I being “stuck” in a two person kayak forced him to work with me. If he didn’t we would have spent a lot more time and effort trying to achieve a successful finish.
All and all it was a wonderful day and I wouldn’t change a thing about it…even all of the strife. Mike and I got struck by a cosmic two by four that I believe will cement our “TEAMWORK” mantra, and the boys had a great time.
Mike made me laugh when I overheard him telling some people that I was looking in the kayak for a Martini Bar instead of paddling.
He was right!
Do you and your partner work well together as a team? Is teamwork a core value for you. I’d love for you to leave me your comments below…
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