In 1994, my husband, David, and I made a trip to South Africa. He was going to show the JESUS film in villages along the Zambezi River, and I was going to interview some people and write up some reports on how the film was being used in the area. While we were there, staying with friends in Pretoria, we went shopping and came upon a tandem bicycle made by Peugeot. Doing the math, we decided we couldn’t pass up such a great deal on a tandem since we had enjoyed the riding experience on a friend’s bike before. So we bought it.
That was 19 years ago, and the bike is still going strong. It’s a behemoth, not like the light-weight models you can find today, but it has served us well. At one point, when our boys were little, we had one kid’s seat on the front and one kid’s seat on the back. We were the mini van of bicycles.
David grew up riding his bike alone. He was used to just getting up and going wherever he wanted, pretty much whenever he wanted. I grew up riding my bike also, but I rarely did it alone. What’s the fun in that? When we got married, we both willingly gave up our solo lifestyles to blend into a tandem life together.
Over the years, we’ve both learned a lot about what it takes to ride in tandem with someone, both on a bicycle and in married life. In the next several weeks, I’m going to focus my posts on how tandem bicycling mirrors marriage. You might be surprised by what I come up with.
My first observation is that, in order to ride a tandem bike, you must be going in the same direction. Now, that might seem obvious to you, but in marriage, some might think it’s OK to have two different paths. Before we started dating, David and I were both on the staff of Cru, a group of compassionate Christians desiring to connect people with God all over the world. He is an engineer, I am a writer. He’s good at math. I’m not. He’s an introvert, I’m an extrovert. We have a lot of differences. But we both were following Jesus wherever He would lead us, therefore, our paths easily converged. If I had wanted to make my way in the secular publishing world, and David was called to be a missionary with Cru, our direction would not have been the same. Even more striking, if I had been a follower of Jesus, and David had not, our paths would have been very different. Going in the same direction is vital.
There are still many times when we ride our single bikes, but our commitment is to tandem living. We can’t ride our tandem bike and go in different directions. If we’re not both pursuing Jesus, our marriage will falter. If we’re both not staying on the same road, we will crash. Head in the same direction, follow the same road, have the same objective. The riding is a lot smoother that way.
Next: Tandem Living–Communication is Key
tandem bike drawing from http://www.etsy.com