Lessons on love: Take a canoe trip together

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST

The Missourian interviewed 10 senior citizens with more than 400 combined years of marriage among them, and we've compiled a list of the 10 tips they shared. Read all 10 lessons in a single story.

1. Take a canoe trip together

Mike and Priscilla Farrall moved to Columbia from Austin, Texas, about two years ago when they retired. They have been married for 14 years.

Mike recommends a canoe trip to those who wish to learn about another person and how they work together as a couple.

"It puts the person in a spot where they have to reveal themselves," he said. "You learn a lot about them."

"You see how flexible the other person is, or not, or cooperative, or not."

"What their frustration level is — that is very telling," his wife added.

With his elbows propped up on the table, his chin cradled in his hands and his face turned toward his wife, Mike recalled the first canoe trip they took a few years ago with their new inflatable canoe.

"Everything we did, it just kept going in a circle," he said. "We would switch off from what we were doing, and it continued to go in a circle. We could not figure out what we were doing wrong."

After tiring of going in circles, the Farralls decided to take the boat out of the water. That's when they discovered they had the boat in backward.

"The inflatable canoe has a built-in rudder in the back, and when we first got the canoe we were not aware of these nautical features," Mike said.

The Farralls laughed off their canoe mishap and have since taken many canoe trips on peaceful lakes looking for ducks.

"When you go on canoe trips you find out if the other person can actually laugh at themselves," he said. "Some people can't. I think what's important is if they can't, then their mate needs to be the same kind of person. That's what I'm saying, that you have the same values. I'm not saying that one value is better than the other, just that hers need to be very similar to mine."

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