Tandem Living: It’s a Team Effort

tandem bike drawingOne day recently, my 14-year-old son and I were driving down the road when we saw a couple on a tandem bike ride by. Nathan said, “That’s the teamwork bicycle. If one person gets tired, the other can do more of the work. If the other person gets tired, the first person, freshly rested, can take over.”

I kid you not: those were his exact words. Deep observations. And completely accurate.

If I want a strenuous ride, especially here in flat Orlando, I go on my single bike. If I’m on a rest day, or just want to go on a shorter ride in the evening, we ride the tandem. Honestly, David can’t help it if he does more of the work. He’s stronger than I am. He just naturally pushes harder. Most of the time I don’t mind just coasting along, but if I know I need a tougher workout, I can’t really ride with him. He makes the ride easier.

Have you ever heard anyone say, “Marriage is a 50/50 relationship. We each need to give equally to make it work”? Well, that’s either someone who has never been married, or someone whose spouse is not thriving in their relationship. Marriage is a 100/100 relationship. You have to be willing to give your all at any given moment, because your spouse might need you to. Not everyone can function at 100% efficiency all the time. We get sick. We get stressed. We just get plain old tired.

That’s where the teamwork comes in. If one falls down, the other can pick him up. Together, we are stronger. When David and I went to marriage counseling several years back, our counselor told David that he was not allowed to ask me what I did all day. If I needed to just sit and read a book, I needed to have the freedom to do that. If all I accomplished all day was getting out of bed, getting the kids off to school and maybe getting dinner on the table, that was good enough.

My husband is strong. He’s apparently tireless. He doesn’t like to just sit around. I’d be very happy sitting around the greater part of the day. But I’m not idle. I’m working on the computer or folding laundry or working on school tasks. But my jobs aren’t physical. So it can appear that he takes on the heavier load of responsibilities because he sheds the most sweat. If he were to look at me as a slacker, he could grow bitter.

Like on the tandem bike. We often get comments about how he’s doing all the work and I’m just along for the ride. It’s not true. If David stopped pedaling, we’d still have forward momentum, albeit a lot slower, because I am actually contributing to the ride. If David ever wanted to test that, he could simply take his feet off the pedals and see what happens. But he doesn’t choose to do that. He pedals and trusts that I’m pedaling too, even if my effort isn’t as great as his. I’m contributing what I can at that point of the ride. And if I want to work a little harder? The word, “upshift” tells David I’m ready to take on a little more.

Letting your spouse know you’re ready for an “upshift” in your marriage might just do you a world of good.

Next time: Even the best bikes need a tune up every now and then.

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