January 14, 2021

Several years ago I learned about The Slow Food movement. Have you heard of it? Founded by an Italian, its mission is to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life, and combat our dwindling interest in the food we eat.

There is much about the Slow Food movement that resonates with me at a personal level. I am a slow-thinker-type. I need time to process, ponder, percolate. I speak and hold space well, but I am planned and structured in those situations, leaving little to chance. When I write, I take my time. I research, write, edit, write, think, write, walk around, write, delete, write. You get the picture. My husband is quick on his feet. He can think and respond swiftly. He is an excellent speaker, able to articulate his ideas and thoughts rapidly. It is just one reason he is a gifted litigator. (Incidentally, as the recipient of years of love letters in various forms, I can also say he is beautiful writer). And make no mistake, both traits – quick thinking and slow processing – have value.

What I find intriguing – or perhaps more to the point, what I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about is how marriage aligns with the Slow Food approach. And this thought, interestingly, puts modern marriage at odds with . . . weddings. Yup. I said it. The modern wedding often has little to do with marriage.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, or a good thing. Rather, it’s a truthful thing. Weddings are a one-day affair while marriage is intended to be lifelong. Weddings come with signed contracts, deposits, and reviews. Marriage has no guarantees. Weddings are a celebration, a party, a meal.Marriages are a many-course feast. Weddings are lively, frenetic, fun events full of  flowers and food, dancing and drinking, sparkling rings and photographic moments. Marriage is more about holding hands and long walks, bed-head and budgeting, clothing and hands with creases and wrinkles.

And that’s ok. After all, rituals like weddings mark a moment. Marriage, however, takes time. And not just the passing of time, but also a commitment to time. Honestly, it really cannot be explained. It must be lived.

Marriage is an unfolding even as it is a binding. There are chapters and chapters to be told, linking lives and weaving love together. Marriage requires patience. None of it happens quickly. It is a slow dance, a slow build, a slow (and sometimes painful) burn.

You don’t get vineyards in a year, or orchards overnight. You don’t get delicious barbecue in three hours or meringues in a minute. Weddings are not marriage, and marriage is not done at the point of the wedding. In fact, the wedding is just the beginning of a long, lifetime together.

The Slow Food mission exists to counteract the rise of fast life, and combat our dwindling interest in the food we eat. If there were a mission to marriage, perhaps it might be something comparable to that. “Slow Marriage” is a counterpoint to current fast culture and instant gratification. Instead, it cultivates meaningful companionship, epic storytelling, and a deeply nourishing and satisfying life.