Photo by vis photography
Of all the relationships I’ve had in my life, my relationship with Christian is my favorite for so many reasons. But one of the biggest reasons? He lets me ride my own bicycle.
Check out the adorable couple in the picture above with the super cute tandem bike on their wedding day. Awwww. So precious! Looks like the bride is going to hop right on and never let go, right? One problem. With my ex-husband, I did that emotionally.
Once upon a time, I had my own bicycle. But when I got married, I ditched mine. I hopped on the groom’s bike and never let go. And boy did he take me on a wild ride! At first it was fun. We stayed on the road, and the ride was as smooth as silk. But then he suddenly veered off onto a strange dirt path. I knew the ride wouldn’I always be blissful–that eventually we’d have to pedal up some hills, but this new tangent seemed ludicrous. First there were little bumps and sharp stones. But then we plunged into some shady forests and thickets laced with thorns. I felt confused and lost. I cried a little and told him the branches were scratching my skin and tearing at my hair and pretty white dress, but he didn’t seem to hear me.
Soon, I noticed he wouldn’t glance back and smile at me anymore. I started getting tired, but I was willing to keep going. We had made a deal. I would be there for him. We were inseparable, a team. Right? But I was so exhausted and uncomfortable. I began to feel ragged and dirty. And so thirsty. I begged for water, for respite, but he put in his earphones to block out the noise.
Before I knew it we were stopping alright, but not for me. For him. Every once in a while he would pause and hoist a beautiful woman onto his lap and bring her along for the ride too. After that, he didn’t see me anymore. I was only there to pedal–my hair tangled, my face tearstained, my filthy feet straining with the effort. My once beautiful gown was now just a mass of torn blackened rags. Occasionally, the current mistress might cast a condescending look my direction as her sleek beautiful curls bounced in the wind–her bright eyes flashing and crimson lips curled in disgust.
Then suddenly, something changed. One day, my bike pedal came apart and I fell, shattered, onto the ground. Detached. Broken. Abandoned.
I watched the other two ride away.
At first I just lay there–a huddled mass on the dirt road in the middle of nowhere. In the middle of nothing. I gasped for air. I reeled at the sensation of detaching from the only reality I had known for ten years. Pedaling. And pedaling hard. And never imagining it would be any different for the rest of my life.
I fell. And then as twilight set in, it began to drizzle. As the last hope of warm sunshine slipped beyond the horizon, the clouds exploded and the dirt road turned to mud around me. Lacking the strength to lift my aching, broken body from the ground, I sank into the muck. The torrent grew, pounding in my head, flashing in my senses. Little rivlets formed, swirled and circled, laughing at my pain. I was sure I would drown.
The gray dawn found me face-down on the roadside. I had survived through the night, but only just. And then I felt it, a slight warming sensation on my shoulders. Still unable to move or see, I knew the feeling well. It was the sunrise. And then a voice. A man’s voice. Calm, peaceful, and familiar. He had found me. Of course he had. Deep in my heart, I knew if I could hold on long enough, he would come.
It wasn’t Christian. It was Christ. My Savior. He is the one who bound my wounds. And I will never be the same.
I haven’t healed completely yet, but I’m on the right track. I can look back now and see my progress. I’m off the tandem bicycle. I’m not a shattered heap on the road anymore. I’m out of the muck. Mostly. Some days it still rains, but I’m stronger now. And even better, I have a new bike–custom made, just for me. The Lord showed me how to build it. I’m still tinkering with my bicycle, though. I think I always will be.
But what about Christian? Where does he fit in all of this? I’ll tell you. He has is own bike too. And his isn’t a tandem like my ex-husband’s. Funny thing is, Christian has been through the same process as I have. He was the one doing all the pedaling in his marriage too, and the Savior found him on the road-side as well.
Christian has worked just as hard to build his bike as I have. Besides that, he has made it clear that he loves my bike and won’t ever ask me to give it up. So instead of feeling an irresistible urge to ditch our bikes and hop on a tandem, we are perfectly happy to ride side by side along the road–today, tomorrow, and the next day. Does that mean we’re not devoted to each other? No. We are still a team. We’ve learned how to be a better team, though. We take the same road because we choose to.
In a way, I’m thankful for my ‘bike accident.’ I’ve learned so much because of it. But most importantly, I now know that a healthy marriage–or any kind of relationship, for that matter–includes two bicycles. From now on, I want to ride my own bike, the one I built. Christian lets me do that.
That’s why I know he’s right for me.