Monday, May 11, 2009

A Modest Proposal: More Beer and Running at Weddings

Last weekend, I was at a wedding of some friends of mine. It was a great wedding, and I find weddings are often introspective events. Everyone rallies around the couple, and also think of the important events in their lives as well. The wedding was in Livermore, and that morning, I ran a 10 kilometer race in nearby Pleasanton. Warming up, I realized that a race is a lot like a marriage.

There's all sorts of nervous anticipation, hope, and apprehension before the start. Then the gun goes off, and there's a lot of excitement, but you really need to stay in control and pace yourself. Too many runners and couples have crashed and burned getting too caught up in the early moments. The early parts are relatively easy, but sooner or later, there are hills to climb, unexpected conditions to deal with, and the pace can become relentless. And if couples make it to the finish line of retirement, they often end up like most runners after crossing the finish line: Too tired and worn out to do much of anything. But looking back, all the preparation, effort, and sacrifice is rewarded in the end.

Maybe couples would be better prepared for marriage if a running race for the bridge and groom was held the morning of the wedding? What better way for the couple to prepare for the discipline, determination, and effort required for a successful marriage? I can't imagine why this hasn't become a tradition already.

And like most wedding receptions, beer was de-emphasized in favor of wine. Why is that? Beer is a wonderfully diverse beverage, and is more representative of the twists and turns the couple is about to embark on their marriage than wine. There will be zippy, spicy, and boozy times, like a good Belgian Triple. Children come with funky smells but are ultimately a highly rewarding experience, just like an ale made with funky smelling Brettanomyces yeast. There are care free, easy times where a good lager or Hefeweizen hits the spot. There will be bitter, complicated times, like a Double IPA. And we hope the couple finds the right work-family right balance, much like the malt-hop balance of any good Pale Ale. Instead of just red or white wine, a full compliment of beer styles should be served at all weddings, to better prepared the couple for what they're about to get into.

I dare say, if there were more running and beer at weddings, there would be more successful marriages, and a lower divorce rate. Some might ask, since I am divorced and have no professional wedding planning or marriage counselling experience, why do I feel qualified to tell people what they should and shouldn't do on their wedding day?

Having experienced the up and downs in my only marriage, I think I have a pretty good idea what it takes, but I'm not going to go into the trials and tribulations of that marriage, especially since I already paid a lot of money to a therapist for that. And I moved in with my girlfriend six months ago, and so far, so good, and that ought to count for something.

There was little beer or running in my first wedding. Could that have been the problem? Unfortunately, my first wife and I had far more differences and conflicts that could be solved by beer and running. She really wasn't into either of those things. My girlfriend and I both enjoy running, and while wine is her drink of choice, she is a closet hop-head. I have a pretty good feeling about this go around.

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