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Marriage Is Like a Formal Dinner in Reverse

Editor's Note: The following illustration was adapted from a German pastor who wrote a meditation for a couple's 50th wedding anniversary service.

Germans sometimes use a culinary metaphor for marriage, comparing the lifelong journey of marriage to a formal French or German dinner menu—except the courses are served in reverse order.

According to this analogy, marriage actually begins with the last course—dessert. There's a season of sweetness. But, sadly, the sweetness doesn't always last. Temptations and distractions often follow this dessert-like honeymoon phase. In a formal French dinner, the second course includes a seductive selection of cheeses. At times there are so many cheese selections that diners get focused on flirting from one plate to the next. The third course consists of a beautifully prepared salad that adds freshness and vitamins to the meal. The fourth and main dish is the red meat course, the long, substantial, satisfying and nutritious body of any good dinner or marriage. The fifth course consists of a light fish or seafood dish that can be fraught with dangerous bones. Finally, the menu of a marriage ends with an enjoyable tray of hors d'oeuvres. After decades of commitment, mastering all the earlier courses of marriage, a husband and wife are rewarded with the delight of remaining committed throughout the entire journey of life.

In the end, they've truly become one. The French might compare their union to the blend of two famous kinds of grapes—Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. When these grapes are blended together they become the mellow Bordeaux wine that is loved around the world.

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