7-11-21 | Worth It! | Lavern and Ronda Nissley
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Reflections on two bicycle falls

By Lavern & Ronda Nissley


A traumatic pair of falls from our tandem recumbent bicycle made their way as an example into our Worth It! marriage messages we shared over the weekend. We hadn’t fallen in about 9 years, and within a week we fell twice. The second fall shook us and actually raised the question on whether we should just stop riding tandem altogether. Kind of like divorcing our bike!


For some time now we’ve seen tandem biking as a metaphor for marriage. It requires a great deal of working together with each other to make it work, and our actions/movements on the bike affect the other!


We’re so grateful that most of our memories on the bike are positive. There are way more good things we’re experiencing together than bad things. But what if those memories were reversed and the negatives were outweighing the positives? Would we continue riding? What adjustments would we make?


That is exactly what couples face when their marriages are no longer VITALIZED, the most healthy of 5 tiers that describe marriage health. As marriage health slips to less healthy tiers like COEXISTENT, CONFLICTED, or DEVITALIZED, partners face a choice on how to proceed from here.



Several options exist:

  1. Continue without making any changes at all. This would be the definition of insanity, “Do the same thing again and again while expecting different results.” The problem with this option is that the pattern of hurting each other will continue and most likely lead to the 2nd
  2. End the relationship. In extreme cases, this may be the best option for the sake of physical and emotional safety (especially where abuse is happening). But it is also a sad option because it is bringing to an end any possibility of growth and change toward a healthier relationship.
  3. Make adjustments. Although this may require the assistance of a friend, a coach, or a counselor, it is definitely worth exploring versus #1 and #2. Many couples who seek help and embrace transformation are much happier and glad they DIDN’T end the relationship.


We’re going to continue riding our tandem recumbent bicycle. After reviewing both of our falls we have made adjustments that we believe will keep us from falling, or at least decrease the risk. We’ve ridden too many miles (12,175 in 11 years) and spent too much time (780 hours, almost 4 ½ weeks) to end the relationship with our bike.


Our desire is to see couples face their current relationship health with courage and commitment. To do whatever it takes to move from way more negatives than positives to a place of connection and vitality. Had we NOT done that for our relationship in 1990, eleven years into our marriage, we likely wouldn’t have shared the messages on Healthy Again over the weekend. Much less written this blog post reflecting on two bicycle falls. We wouldn’t have had a bike to fall off of.


We appreciate the combined impact of 5 Worth It! Messages on marriage that point us all in that direction. Healthy marriage make healthy families which build healthy churches and communities.


“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8