When paddling a canoe together, you have to pay attention.

Watch to see if your combined rowing is sending you off into the brush, and alter your movements accordingly. One partner may be stronger than the other and the canoe may veer off to one side. If you are watching your progress, you can straighten out by moving the oar to the other side.

If your partner asks for advice, give it without judgement. There is no reason to try to micromanage your partner’s rowing style. It is simple to move your oar to the other side as needed, and your teamwork can be seamless. Enjoy the view.

It is the same in life.

Sometimes one partner is weaker — he is under a lot of pressure at work; her mother is ill; he caught a student cheating; she is pregnant and tired — and the other partner has to step up.

If you are paying attention, you can see that your partner needs help — that maybe tonight would be a good night to go out to dinner, that you should hire the kid across the street to mow the lawn, that you should skip the party and have a quiet night at home instead.

This does not mean that your partner should always know what you need.

Communication is still the best way to get needs met, but sometimes, if you are looking, if you are truly present, you can see exactly where your canoe is headed, and you can guide it to make sure it stays on course.

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