Marriage is a tandem ride.
Recently Rick and I celebrated our forty-sixth anniversary. How did that happen?
I remember standing at the altar as a bright-eyed but naïve twenty-year-old bride ready to start our married life. Rick had just graduated from college and I had one more year to graduate. Our life together would be an adventure. A rainbow appeared in the sky as we drove to our honeymoon. We had faith in God and in other.
Through the years we raised our two children, lived in three states, traveled places we never thought we’d go, shared in ministry, and now enjoy six grandchildren.
We’ve shared the best and worst of our lives as promised in our vows. We’ve hung in there through health issues, praying feverishly for the other. Love is a decision, not a rosy romance without problems.
Celebrating marriage is important, reflecting on the episodes of growth and change.
To celebrate our anniversary, we returned to the place of our honeymoon. The resort is still there and is now on the national register of historic places.
Memories filled my mind while walking through the long halls of the grand resort. Old photographs of the hotel hung on the walls, reminiscent of times gone by. Even though forty-six years had passed, it felt familiar.
One afternoon we rented a tandem bicycle to ride around the resort property. The one-hour ride revealed truths about marriage.
Ten Observations of Marriage in Tandem
- Start together. Rick drove in front and I rode in back. We headed in the same direction, and each had to be ready for the push off to get rolling. In marriage, we’ve had to pay attention to each other and understand the direction we are heading.
- Find your balance. We were a bit wobbly at first, but quickly found our balance to move forward. Some times in life are shaky and it’s easy to lose balance. During those times we’ve have to find our center of gravity, which is the Lord.
- Pedal together. We each had to do our part to move forward. Marriage is teamwork for the relationship to grow and raise a family.
- Glide together. Enjoy the smooth ride when you can! Relax from the daily work of life.
- Brake together. We both had to slow or stop the bike when necessary. Life events occur that we are unplanned and we together we have to know when to slow down or stop for rest.
- Chart your overall direction. Although we followed the paved pathway around the resort, we missed a turn and found ourselves riding in circles around a parking lot. Thankfully there were no vehicles around, but if we had known the route, we could have avoided the extra sightseeing. At least it gave us practice for turning. Early in our relationship we decided we wanted our marriage to honor God. When we got off course, we had difficulties. By coming back to the overall direction, we regained stability to move forward.
In marriage, have an overall direction. Otherwise there will be aimless wandering. Plans change, but having an overall direction keeps you moving forward.
- Lean into tight turns together. When we had a sharp turn ahead, I feared we would not make it and end up off the pathway or in the street. Knowing when to lean made it easier. As challenges arise, I’ve had to lean into my husband and the Lord to keep from falling.
- Communicate. When we started the ride we were unsteady and worked against each other. At one point Rick asked, “Are you working against me?” That wasn’t my intention, but we were not working together. By the end of the hour we were communicating about how many times to pedal before gliding, when to turn and lean, and when to brake. The ride of marriage is hard enough without working against each other.
- Trust each other. I trusted Rick to guide the bike. He trusted me to pedal with him. Mutual trust builds a strong foundation in marriage.
- Learn together. The longer we rode, the easier it got. We had a shaky start. At one point we didn’t effectively navigate a wide turn and hit the curb. Fortunately we were almost stopped before we bailed into the bushes. We helped each other up, assessed injuries (only bruises), and then got back on the bike. We laughed about it, hoping no one saw us.
Marriage is hard, but there is joy in the journey.
Our tandem ride was fun. Like marriage, we navigated the path together through effective communication.
Thankfully, God’s word offers guidance for our relationships.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes love as a decision.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
The actions of love guide us to help keep our balance in tandem ride of marriage.