Dave has always believed in the adage, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Granted, sometimes there isn’t a way even when there’s a will, but you get the point.
There’s not a lot my husband won’t tackle, especially if it’s something he knows his bride wants to do. So when the option of a trail ride on bicycles for a family reunion came along, he decided we wouldn’t let a sore knee keep us from having a good time.
He signed us up for a tandem bike.
That’s why he’d come in from work and serenade me with “you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two!”
So on a sunny day a few weekends ago, the Shuttle Shack rental company drove us and our bikes to the beginning of our trail. Then they adjusted our seats and handlebars and hooked up kiddie carts to bicycles.
There were forty-plus of us who made that 17-mile trek on the Virginia Creeper Trail from White Top Station to Damascus, Virginia.
While the scenery was lovely, the part I liked best was being with my man on that ride.
I learned some things that day. Well, let’s just say that I was reminded of some things that day.
The main one is this:
Riding tandem is like being married.
There’s a song about that, and it’s called “Daisy, Daisy.” One of the verses begins with,
We will go ‘tandem’
As man and wife,
Down the road of life,
I and my Daisy Bell!
Riding tandem is like riding the trails of married life. It’s like a bicycle built for two.
And if you’re considering marriage, don’t even get near a bike unless you’re sure about certain characteristics of your relationship. You might get to the end of the trail, but it will be a most miserable ride. So just don’t get on the bike unless you’ve got a guarantee on these important qualities.
If we’re going to successfully complete the ride, there are three attributes that must happen in marriage – just like what is needed to get onto a bicycle built for two.
Target. A husband and wife need to have a target – and it needs to be the same goal.
We had a goal, and we headed in the direction of our goal. Both of us had to head in the same direction. It certainly wouldn’t have worked to have me lean to the left while he leaned toward the right. Marriages won’t succeed if we’re not headed in the same direction.
If our goals are opposite, there’s no way we can reach a destination together. Keep the same goal, and your ride will be smoother.
If you’re considering marriage and you realize that you really don’t have a common goal or target in mind, then don’t get on that bike. If you don’t know where you’re heading, why should you get on that bike?
Trust. I had to trust Dave – and he had to trust me. We were in this together, and for me to brake when he was pedaling would have made the ride complicated. Most of the time, I couldn’t see the road ahead. I had a wonderful view of the sky and the sides of the trail. But I couldn’t see the path we were traveling, so I had to trust him. He had to help me know what was ahead.
Riding across the trestles was easy riding, but the end of each trestle brought extra jostling, especially when I wasn’t prepared for the jostling. So Dave had to tell me ahead of time. This helped both of us brace ourselves for the drop. The journey became easier when Dave let me know we were nearing rocky trails. We couldn’t keep secrets from each other; that’s part of trust.
If you’re thinking of getting married and you don’t really trust your teammate, don’t get on that bike. If you keep secrets from him or he keeps secrets from you, don’t think it will be easier to share secrets once you’ve said your vows. And don’t think those secrets you keep will never be found out. If you can’t be honest with each other now, then just don’t get on that bike.
Teamwork. Had we been riding different bikes, we could have each done our own thing and gone our own way. Because we were on the same bike, we had to work together. Somebody had to be in the lead. If Dave fell off his bike or wrecked, it would have affected me. And if I had become incapacitated, it would have affected him.
My husband believes that if he belittles me, he is actually belittling himself because we are one. We are a team. Everything we do should be for the good of the team – and not just for one individual. If our actions are for the benefit of the team, then we are working together.
If you’re considering marriage and you find yourself unable to work – and work things out – as a team, then don’t get on that bike. If he belittles you now, don’t think that will change once you’re riding tandem. If you can’t give up your wants for the good of the team, then don’t be on the team. Don’t get on that bike.
Once you get on that bike, you’ll be riding for life. There will be twists and turns, surprises and bumpy places. Life is difficult enough without riding a trail with someone who isn’t on your team, someone you don’t trust, or someone whose goals are different from yours.
You’ll want someone who will protect you over himself when the brakes fail. You’ll want someone you can trust to steer you when a tire goes flat. You’ll want someone who won’t jump over the handlebars when the going gets tough, leaving you to commandeer alone. You’ll want someone whose focus is on the end of the road and not just the next curve in the bend.
I can guarantee you that if you’re with the right team member, marriage will be a wonderful ride.
Difficult at times? Yes.
Frustrating? For sure.
Wondering why you wanted to marry/him her in the first place? Sometimes.
I can also guarantee you that if you have these three things (Target, Trust, Teamwork) in your marriage, you’ll make it to the end of the trail still together, more in love than ever, and at home with each other.
We’ve been riding tandem for thirty-plus years, and it’s been worth every hill, every storm, and every mile. We’re still smiling, and you can be, too – gliding along on the marriage ride of a bicycle built for two.
Photo credits to the following Slabach family members: Mindy Emswiler, Addy VanBenschoten, and Mimi Warnock
If you’d like to hear the song A Bicycle Built for Two written by Harry Dacre, you can click on any of these links. Take your pick.
family sing along – Muffin Songs
young boy and girl in park – English accent. By Kid’s Music Shop
by Gerald Adams, 1931 (World War I images and songs)