So far in my miniseries on tandem living, I’ve talked about the importance of going in the same direction, how communication is key, that trust is essential and that people are watching us. Today I want to talk about what happens when you get caught in the rain.
A couple of years ago, on our biennial trip to Colorado, David and I were riding our rented tandem from a meeting back to the apartment where we were staying. We knew the potential for a storm was there; we were hoping we could outrun it. No such luck. We got drenched. And, unlike Florida rainstorms, this one came with some chill to it. So wet, cold and still miles from home, we could have gotten really grumpy with each other. But what good would that have done? It’s not like either one of us planned to get caught in the rain. It was simply the circumstance. We were here, and we needed to get there, and the only transportation we had was our bike. We either weathered the storm together, or we found a place to hide out and never got to where we were going until it was too late for whatever it was we were supposed to do next.
It would have been good if we had known it might rain and had been better prepared. This past summer, we knew there was a stormy day in which we would have to ride, so we had two weatherproof jackets with us. Though the rain this time wasn’t as hard, we still would have been much more wet if we hadn’t had those jackets. Preparation for the storm helped.
Before we were married, David and I attended a FamilyLife marriage conference. One of the things I most remember from that conference is one of the speakers telling us, “Your spouse is not your enemy.” If we determine to see ourselves as members of the same team, we’ll be able to face whatever confronts us much stronger. In the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, King Solomon, the writer, says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:12). The third cord is God.
For four years, from 1992 to 1996, David and I battled infertility. Month after month we hoped to be pregnant, and month after month we were disappointed. When we finally did get pregnant, under the care of an infertility doctor, I miscarried. That was certainly a storm we needed to weather together. And it made us stronger.
Strong enough to endure two more miscarriages over the next several years. Strong enough to face David’s chronic ulcerative colitis. Strong enough to weather the storm of my parents’ deaths 16 months apart. Strong enough to handle the divorce of David’s parents after 48 years of marriage.
Storms, whether actual or metaphorical, are a part of life. Without the rain, things don’t grow. Without trials, our character cannot be molded. How we face those storms in tandem living–with perseverance and partnership or anger and an adversarial outlook–determines our ultimate character. Knowing those storms will come, and having whatever tools we need to help us better face them, makes a big difference.