Tag Archive | communication in marriage

Tandem Living: Communication is Key

tandem bike drawingLast time, I talked about how important it is in tandem biking–and marriage–to make sure you’re going in the same direction. This time, my observation is that communication is a must in order to ride smoothly. My husband is an internal processor. He thinks about things and then makes a decision. Problem is, because he’s been talking to himself about things, he thinks he’s been talking to me about them. We often have conversations like this:

Me: Where are you going?

David: Home Depot

Me: What are you going to get?

David: Supplies for the fence project.

Me: What fence project?

David: You know, the fence project. I told you about it.

Me: Umm, no, you didn’t.

David: Yes, I did. You just don’t remember.

I may forget things, but usually it’s not about conversations we have about projects around the house. Every once in awhile, I have to ask him, “Thinking of anything I need to know about?” just so these things don’t come out of the blue.

In tandem biking, it is important for the “captain,” the one in the front doing the steering, to tell the “stoker” what is coming up. If there’s a low branch in the way, if there’s a big bump, if the stoker needs to signal a turn, the captain needs to communicate these things in order to make the ride more pleasant for both parties.

Likewise, if the stoker wants to go a certain way, and there’s not a specific destination in mind, then the stoker needs to communicate that. And the captain needs to listen. Recently, on our trip to Colorado, we rented a tandem bike. We let the owner drive off before making sure the bike was completely rideable, and therefore we ended up with a stoker’s seat that kept tilting as we rode. Every few minutes I would need to tell David to stop so that I could readjust the seat to a position that wouldn’t make me feel like I was about to fall off. I could have just kept that information to myself hoping he would notice how uncomfortable I was, but that would have just made me fume and him continue in cluelessness. My discomfort wasn’t his fault, but he certainly needed to know it was there so that he could help alleviate the problem. As soon as we got to our destination, we called the shop and the problem was fixed. Why go a week with a tilty seat when a little communication can solve the problem?

Communication in marriage is not an option. Small problems can become huge irritations if we don’t let our spouse know that something is bothering us. If husbands and wives don’t let some of the internal processing they’re doing become external, then misunderstandings will ensue.

Tandem biking is a partnership, and tandem living works the same way. Don’t let me get blindsided. Tell me about the big branch in the middle of the road as well as the cute little rabbit you know I’d like to see.

Next time: In tandem biking–and marriage–trust is essential.