"In white water rafting, there is a raft filled with people with paddles in hand journeying together from one end of a body of water to another. This journey will take this group of people from calm, safe, and comfortable water through rough, unpredictable and conflicting waters toward the desired outcome."
This metaphor for life is one of the main themes supporting the "Everybody Paddles" mission. A mission based on the founding principles of forging a stronger community through cooperation, and mutual understanding of one's differences; but how does this mission for our societies and communities translate to love and relationships? In times of strife within a relationship how can these ideals encourage a more positive outlook?
According to the United States Census Bureau, the divorce rate of first time marriages is 41%, second marriages 60% and third marriages 73%. These statistics are a bit shocking, but it is not surprising that the number one reason for divorce is financial hardship. The current state of our economy is unforgiving, but it is in these times that we should band together. Consider the days of popular television shows such as "I love Lucy" and "The Honeymooners", that 1950s era of television was a reflection of how our society viewed marriage and relationships; reinforcing the idea of marriage as a lifelong commitment. Despite the stress these characters created for one another, their marriage was secure because they were paddling towards the same goals.
It's quite obvious that since that generation things have changed, but it is not that finances weren't a concern; it's that ending a long-term partnership because of a short-term hardship does not make sense. In relation to the "Everybody Paddles" mission, the unpredictable white water represents life, while love is the raft, as long as everyone in the raft remembers the desired outcome, despite the hardships the water may bring, those hardships can be overcome.
Instead of allowing these rates and statistics to rise and further deter us from forging loving and positive relationships; let us work together and paddle in the same direction towards a happy future. Remember, the "paddle" is only an extension of the effort that you put in.