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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them

Compromise On the Road With Your Spouse

How one couple makes it work

By Steve Johnson

Editor’s Note: Steve and his wife, Sash, are on an extended motorcycle journey where they are living and working on the road with no set return date. Read part 1 of Steve’s story here.

"No matter what happens between us, even if we're no longer together, I'm always your friend,” Sash said to me placing her hand on her heart.

Even though she and I have traded wedding vows, started a business together and revealed secrets that I wouldn't reveal to my closest friends, the very foundation of what makes us "Sash and Steve” are just a couple of good riding buddies.

"That's the mistake I made with my previous husbands,” she said.  "I looked at them as spouses."

Earlier this month, she and I stood in a birthing room at San Joaquin Community Hospital, in downtown Bakersfield, Calif., and watched this perfectly created, 7.14-pound 19-inch-long human being come out of her daughter, Olivia. Seconds later, the little boy was laid down on its mother's chest, and I couldn't help feeling tears well up in my eyes. It wasn't so much the cries of Sash's first grandchild that got me, but those of Sash and her daughter.

Compromise the road with your spouse sash steve grandson
Heading home after the birth: Steve with Sash, and her daughter, Olivia, with newborn Jackson.

I've never met a mother and daughter so intimately close to one another. In the years I've known Sash, I've watched the two of them interact in ways I thought was unheard of between a parent and offspring. Not a day goes by that these two don't text or phone each other. They are so open and honest—there is nothing they don't reveal to one another. Even on the subject of sex, it's as if Sash had been reading her daughter bedtime stories from a Masters and Johnson manual.

When two people become that close, they trample over each other's insecurities so often that they no longer have insecurities. The two still have moments where they become hurt, but they make up so quickly that it becomes water under the bridge before you ever realize it was a problem.

"We have moments when we're lovers… also moments when we're
 hurting and fighting like little children."

For years, I had always loved riding motorcycles with my friends. There would be those moments when a handful of us would ride side-by-side down a twisty canyon road, able to remain in alignment through tight curves one after another. It felt like we were brothers.

Having ridden all across the country with Sash, I realize now that she and I are really just close riding buddies. We happen to sleep together, sure. But it's riding side by side across the country, meeting new friends and doing business that we really click.

Compromise on the Road with your Spouse Sash Steve motorcycle
Sash and Steve side by side on the highway and in life.

It's kind of like Bonnie and Clyde, where you know the two of them are madly in love, and if they'd just stop robbing banks and shooting people, they'd live happily ever after. Yet, their dynamic works so much better as partners-in-crime.

But Sash and I haven't developed the intricately complex and close relationship that she's developed with her daughter. We're still decades away from that. We have moments when we're lovers who couldn't be any better for each other, but also moments when we're hurting and fighting like little children. We have to make time to be away from one another, just to keep our sanity. Sash likes to set up headquarters at a Starbucks somewhere, starts talking to strangers, makes friends and occasionally meets up with them later on. The introvert in me likes to stay in the hotel room and crank out work on my laptop. Somehow, the separation creates the cohesion that binds us as friends.

If we saw each other as spouses, I'm not sure we'd still be together. It's hard to find value in a set of wedding vows when two people have grown up with divorce their entire lives. But as riding buddies, adventure seekers, troublemakers and partners-in-crime, it's like we're an MC (motorcycle club) of two members. The only promise we make is that we've got each other's backs.

For Sash and her view of relationships, one life cycle is now complete. She went from giving birth to a daughter, to watching her daughter give birth. In some profound way, it's as if a duty has been fulfilled. Now it's now time to leave Bakersfield and get back on the road.

Read Part 1 of Sash & Steve's adventure here. 

About the Author
Steve writes a blog, Motorcycle Philosophy. You can follow him on Google+ and learn more about him on the WRN Contributor's page.

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