I feel more safe boating with my husband, no doubt. Most of the times I have pushed myself skill wise I made sure he was in the group, more from a safety than a confidence-inspiring perspective. I suppose part of it is because I know he's looking out for me because he loves me, but it's more because he really knows his shit with safety/rescue- way more so than my class III-IV boating friends that I regularly paddle with.
On the other hand, I have been extremely frustrated boating with him- when I have felt like
and he's floating backward through a rapid (hohum...). Drives me CRAZY! Plus I have this feeling that I want to impress him- a feeling I don't have when boating with paddling buddies at my skill level. I've found that I'm a bit harder on myself when I paddle with him too- a swim or wrong move seems to embarass me more or something. I want him to think I'm a good paddler.
I am really thankful that we can share together something that means so much to each of us. Most of the season we don't paddle together, which isn't such a bad thing either- I have a chance to learn at my own pace. And when we do paddle together, I get free lessons, which is great... but it's not like you want to be in student mode every time you're on the river.
my long 2 cents worth