Tag Archive | communication

Tandem Living: Have a Little Faith!

tandem bike drawingSo far in my tandem cycling and marriage series, we’ve seen how tandem cycling–and marriage–require that you go in the same direction and that you communicate. Today, I want to talk about a 3rd requirement: trust. I trust that my tandem partner is not going to lead me somewhere dangerous. I trust that he is going to tell me when there’s a hazard in the way. I trust that he’s going to get us where we want to go. And I trust that he knows what he’s doing, not only because he’s been riding for a long time, but because he has leaned upon the wisdom of others.

David is a big Googler. By that I mean that he likes to look things up using the Google search engine. He recently bought a motorcycle and has spent a lot of time on websites and forums seeing what other people are saying about his particular model. He also borrowed a DVD about riding safety from a neighbor who rides.

He has had occasion to Google things about cycling also. When he wants to buy a new bike, he will search online and weigh the merits of different brands. Because of his thoroughness, I trust that he knows what he’s talking about. If I question every decision he makes, our rides would be very unpleasant.

Trust and communication go hand in hand. I need to be kept in the loop. If he chooses to go a different way than we usually go to get somewhere we’ve been before, just the words, “I thought we could try a different route today,” go a long way to diffuse any concern I might have. Getting me involved in the decision works even better. The more we communicate, the greater the trust level is going to be.

The same holds true for marriage. If David doesn’t answer his phone, I need to trust it’s because he’s busy, not because he’s doing something he’s not supposed to be doing and doesn’t want me to know about it. If I go shopping, he needs to trust that I’m not spending money haphazardly and wastefully. He trusts me to be in charge of our budget. I trust him to lead our family in an upright and godly manner. He needs to know that I trust him to care about our well being. In order for him to know that, I need to tell him. In order for me to know that he trusts me, he needs to tell me.

I trust that David doesn’t wake up in the morning and think, “How can I annoy/bother/disrespect/hurt/whatever my wife/kids today?” When we jump on our tandem bike together, I trust that he’s not thinking, “What hazardous/arduous/sticky situation can I ride us into this time?”

Think the best, trust the other person, have a little faith. It goes a really long way in tandem cycling–and in marriage.

Next time: How people react when they see us riding our tandem–and enjoying a happy 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.

Speaking the Same Language

I attended the wedding of my friend Danielle yesterday. Hers is a pretty fun story: she met her husband on a mission trip in Brazil. He wasn’t supposed to be on the trip, but at the last minute, his plans changed and he went along. Something clicked for them on that week-long trip down the Amazon River and, just a short time later, via Skype, they became engaged. He’s Brazilian, she’s American. They have a lot to learn about each other in the days ahead, and they have a language barrier to overcome. But they both know that God brought them together, and keeping Him in the center of their lives will make all the difference.

David and I are approaching 22 years on our marriage journey. We still have a lot to learn also. We might both speak English, but we don’t always understand each other. Dani and Jose know that they have to be patient in order to understand each other. David and I assume we’re speaking the same language, and therefore get frustrated when one or the other of us doesn’t understand.

Maybe if we all went into marriage knowing that we have a communication gap to overcome, we’d be a lot better off. Here are a couple of examples of what women say and what we really mean. I pulled these off the website Funny2.com

ARE YOU WILLING TO: This means you better do it.

FINE: This is the word women use to end an argument when they feel they are right and you need to shut up. Never use “fine” to describe how a woman looks. This will cause you to have one of “those” arguments.

FIVE MINUTES: This is half an hour. It is equivalent to the five minutes that your football game is going to last before you take out the trash, so it’s an even trade.

NOTHING: This means “something” and you should be on your toes. “Nothing” is usually used to describe the feeling a woman has of wanting to turn you inside out, upside down, and backwards. “Nothing” usually signifies an argument that will last “Five Minutes” and will end with the word “Fine.”

We can laugh at those things, but real communication does take work, no matter how long you’ve been married–or even if you’re not married. All relationships take communication if they are to grow.

I had a conversation with my 10-year-old daughter last night. She had said some things that made a friend feel uncomfortable, and she needs to make a phone call today to talk to her about it and apologize. You would have thought the world was coming to an end. Training a child to have those difficult conversations is one of the most important things a parent can do. She will have that conversation today, and I will help her. Maybe I can learn something myself along the way.

Thankful today for:

650. weddings

651. breaks from school

652. dates (the going-out kind, not the eating kind)

653. music

654. flowers

655. tasty food that others prepare

656. wonderful trips my friends get to take

657. photos from afar

658. French toast on a Sunday morning