Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Omnivorous Marriage

I will say that deciding to go plant-based 5 months into marriage did throw a little wrench into our newlywed machinery. I often joke that they should write "for meat or for not-meat" into wedding vows, since Zach certainly didn't get what he started out with when he married me (but I guess such marital surprises take all sorts of forms, which any couple can attest to). 

Upon hearing about my new diet, one of the first questions I get from people is, "And how does Zach feel about all this?!" Perhaps they imagine that my still meat-and-dairy-eating husband must be stashing ice-cream bars away in the garage and hitting up pig roasts everyday on the way home from work... and perhaps he'd like to. :) 

But we strive for compromise and thankfully I have a tremendously understanding and easy-going guy, so my answer usually includes some of the following... 

Thus far in our marriage, our differences have primarily centered around food (which you don't realize is such a central issue in one's day-to-day life until you actually try to shake things up a bit!) And so while Zach doesn't feel as strongly about the connection between diet and disease as I do, he realizes the importance of eating well and has been totally appreciative of all my meal-making. He's adjusted to and grown to enjoy a bunch of new foods. He totally supports my efforts to promote the well-being of our little family and is definitely pleased that I've been getting healthier as a result. 

But even with all that going for us, we've still hit a few bumps while trying to strike the balance between compromise and mutual understanding (usually because I'm being a typical sensitive female who wants him to looooove everything I put on the table. Yeah... not reality, folks).

Our desire is to encourage and bless one another in all things, but I can't make Zach love bean dishes or carrot juice any more than he can make himself love them on my behalf. People are different! Even married ones, believe it or not. :)  

And I realize I'm asking quite a bit from the guy. I try to imagine how I would feel if I were eating new foods and less-than-decadent dinners throughout the week all because of someone else's personal convictions. All things considered, he's giving me a ton of grace. 

So does Zach still eat ice cream and bbq ribs? Yes, indeed. He can eat according to his own convictions. Every week I actually buy the ice cream for him and sometimes I throw a piece of chicken on his stir-fry, to boot. 

But because I've been working part-time and actually prefer doing the shopping and cooking, the kitchen has been entirely my domain. So when I cook a meal or dessert, it needs to be edible for us both, and that means it needs to be meat-and-dairy-free. And so I find myself constantly having to keep my own health convictions and my desire to please my husband with food in tension. 

This "torn" feeling strikes hardest when I'm shopping. My mental vacillations usually go something like this: "Okay, I've gotten a lot of natural foods for myself, so I should get Zach some goods. He loves Hot Pockets... and I love Zach. He does put up with my vegan meals all week long, so maybe just this once... let me look at the ingredients. Uh, yeah, never-mind.  Because I love Zach, I am not buying something with an ingredient list like that!... Yup, he's getting trail mix.

I really do feel for the poor guy. 

But most days I focus on what we have to be thankful for and try to keep my eyes on the big picture. We're newlyweds. We're newly "omnivorous" as a couple (Z=meat/L=plants). I trust that as we prayerfully pursue health, godliness, and marriage, God will provide us with the wisdom we need for the task! 

And actually, Zach came up with a great idea to help us along the way. One day while we were discussing the tricky integration of health and food preferences he suggested, "Why not let me plan the vegan menu one week?" And I said: "You got it!"    

So this was the first of three meals he selected for the week.

Meal #1:
Strawberry salad with chickpeas and walnuts and a balsamic dijon dressing 

We love berries and vitamin-packed berries love us! So this was definitely a fun meal for us both. 

Stay tuned for meal #2 tomorrow! 

1 comment:

  1. It cracks me up how similar our marriages are when it comes to food. I also started on this journey 5 months into our marriage and have been extremely blessed with Mike's understanding along the way. As you have said, he still occasionally eats meat, but only if we ever go out for food. It's been 1 year and 6 months since we've purchased meat for our home (ice cream has occasionally made it in...our only dairy) & I'm so thankful Mike has come around to it and learned to be honest about what meals he likes and doesn't like. It helps tremendously and keeps me from worrying about whether or not he's pleased with his food. Now, if only I could get Mike to plan some meals, that'd be awesome! Haha