Lana is named after a beach. It’s just a small 1/2 mile strip on the windward side of Oahu, but experts and I agree that it is one of the best beaches in the world. Tom and I spent an afternoon there a few days into our honeymoon. We took a bus from Waikiki to Kailua, and as it wound through mountains and forests we could not stop marveling at the beauty surrounding us. It was overcast and drizzling, but somehow that only made it more beautiful. We got off the bus on a random street in the tiny community and had to walk a few blocks to find the beach. I remember all the mailboxes were covered in the most colorful flowers. We talked endlessly about how amazing it would be to live in one of those little bungalows nestled between the trees and the ocean.

We wound our way through the streets in search of the address where we’d reserved a kayak. As we passed shops adorned with signs boasting about their deals on rentals we wondered if maybe we had the address wrong. Then we arrived at our destination–a red house that backed right up to the beach–and we were sure something was off. We stood there debating in hushed tones about what to do, but before we could make a decision a man bounded out of the house and hurried us around the side and to the gate leading to hsi backyard. Ten minutes later we were standing on the beach, with a red kayak between us, watching the rain gently fall on the waves crashing at our feet.

All around us pairs of people were trying to climb into their kayaks, and all around us those people were failing. Everywhere we looked little yellow kayaks were tipping over and dumping their occupants into the choppy waves. We looked at each other nervously as we pushed ours out past the first few waves breaks. I climbed in, and Tom pushed us out a bit farther before attempting what seemed impossible. I should have known when he hopped in on the first try that that day was going to be something magical.

The people we’d stood on the beach next to were left in our wake as we effortlessly found a rhythm and paddled confidently out to the little rocky island where we planned to eat lunch. Left, right, left, right, we paddled through the waves. The water sprayed up into Tom’s face as he guided us toward our destination. Rain fell softly, muting the world around us, making it feel like we were the only two on the water. Unity had never come easily to us. We started dating when we were fifteen. We’d grown up together, knew all of each other’s buttons and weak spots. We’d held on tight and fought hard to get where we were, but it hadn’t been easy. In that moment though, in a giant red kayak looking back on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, it felt easy. As we reached the rocky island and settled in for a lunch of tuna fish and crackers I couldn’t help but be amazed that we’d actually made it.

What we learned that day has held true throughout or marriage. The day to day things may not always flow easily, but when the waves come we make a great team.

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