I learned an important lesson on asking for help the other weekend when I was on a bike trip with my husband. It was painful to learn but hopefully my struggle with biking can help you in your marriage. While I regularly cycle to work, this trip was a much more ambitious undertaking—a Two Day 70-mile round trip ride. Even though it was a stretch for my current athletic level, we were excited about our weekend away.

We rented bikes at our destination. They seemed nice and I didn’t think anything of it. Pretty soon I realized that I had no idea how to shift gears! While this isn’t a huge deal in flat Illinois, I was facing a series of inclines and declines on this ride. And I was feeling the burn from inefficient biking.

Now this could have been an easy fix if I just asked my husband or another biker for help. But I wasn’t interested in asking for help. I just wanted to grit my teeth and slog through. I was in pain and exhausted and just pushing forward. Slowly and ineffectually.

Had I reached out for help, I would have learned how to shift gears. This would have allowed me to capitalize on my downward momentum and had more energy to face the uphill battles. I would have been more efficient, less pained, and more likely to connect with my partner. Instead I was hurting and cranky. Not exactly the weekend away we had been looking forward to…

Marriage Lesson: My Pain is your Gain

Many marriages find themselves in this position of gritting their teeth and slogging through. And it doesn’t work. They’re hurting, tired, and without a whole lot left to give. It’s not sustainable. When things get tough, we need a lifeline. Couples who reach out for help can learn better ways of relating, communicating, and connecting. They can capitalize on the good times and more easily face marital challenges.

Once I learned how to shift gears before getting on the bike for Day Two, I took off and soared. Able to ride side by side, I happily chatted with my husband about our dreams and future. Because quality time is my love language, I felt very connected on Day Two and enjoyed the ride.

I want you too to enjoy the ride. I want you to laugh until your bellies hurt and feel like the other person has your back. So I encourage you to ask for help. Ask for help from your partner. Perhaps the way things are going aren’t working for you anymore. Ask for help by reading blogs or books on relationships. Or maybe you’ve tried all that and you’re thinking perhaps couples therapy could be the answer. Whatever it is, reach out. Gritting your teeth and slogging through is MISERABLE. I personally never want to do it again (unless I have to). And, when it comes to marriage, it doesn’t have to be like this. Slogging through is not the answer. You deserve better.

Your relationship guru,