Have you ever tried to ride a tandem bicycle? It’s harder than it looks, for many reasons. After recently taking a spin on one with my wife, it dawned on me that having fun in marriage is a LOT like riding a tandem bike.
Having fun together might be the most under-estimated investment married people can add to their marriage. I know all too well that as the years go by and with the addition of kids, life only gets more busy and we get more tired! That is not a great recipe for fun. I really wish there was a Bible verse that commanded married couples to have fun together, but frankly there isn’t. However, in Proverbs 5:18 Scripture says, “Enjoy the wife of your youth…” This may not be a command to “have fun together” but it does indicate that God’s ideal is for marriage to be enjoyable all the days of your life - not just when you are young!
1. Proximity - Get on the bike!
The whole idea behind riding a tandem bike is being together. In your marriage, you will have to prioritize proximity if you are going to enjoy one another for the long haul. There is no replacement for simply being together. Like marriage, there are ONLY two seats on a tandem bike - one for you and one for your spouse. Enjoying the ride means being near one another in a way that is reserved for just you and your spouse.
2. Oneness - share the steering!
There are two seats on a tandem bike but only one person gets to steer. This is where you really find out how much you trust one another! It is more than a little unnerving to give up control and trust someone else with the steering. That’s what needs to happen in marriages. Fun has to be something both of you agree on. The goal is oneness and unity. The goal is a common direction that allows both of you to have fun no matter who is steering. Do you and your spouse have some common interests? If it’s only fun when you get your way, you send the message in no uncertain terms, this is all about me! Fun happens when couples both give a little to enjoy one another a lot!
3. Effort - pedal hard!
One of the first questions people ask when looking at a tandem bike is, “are the pedals connected?” the answer is YES. It matters that both people pedal. Strong marriages are not perfect marriages. Strong marriages are those couples who have decided to give their full effort. Have you resolved in your heart to pedal hard in your marriage no matter what? From time to time in marriage you may discover that your spouse is not giving full effort, they may stop pedaling altogether. When this happens (and it will) you have a couple of options…you can get frustrated and stop pedaling yourself. The one thing I can guarantee you is you will stop moving forward. But, you have another option…you can pedal hard no matter what. You may slow down, but you won’t stop. In marriage, effort communicates commitment. When you give your best to your marriage it can only help. make the decision right now to pedal hard!
4. Distractions - watch out for traffic!
Distractions and traffic are two of the greatest threats to a bike ride. It doesn’t take much for one person on a tandem bike to shift their weight and cause a crash. Having fun in marriage often boils down to paying attention, staying focused on one another and looking out for traffic. Stress from work, the demands of children and the plethora of activities we feel so compelled to do all count as distractions and traffic in our world that keep us from connecting and having fun. Your spouse truly wants your attention. When your spouse eliminates distractions to be with you, you feel loved. If you’ve been married for more than five years, this will not get easier, you must fight hard to keep distractions out and your focus strong toward a marriage you enjoy.
Some of you have been thrown off of the bike in your marriage and have simply never gotten up and tried again. I urge you to get back up, this ride does not have to end, learn from the past and head for a new and fun future together! Enjoy the ride.