Vegetarian Carnivore Marriage

So I married an omnivore.

That sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Apparently it is a big deal that Josh and I are happily married despite our differences of opinion regarding meat. According to some sort of reasoning, I was supposed to cave in soon after we were married and mend my evil vegetarian ways.

That didn’t happen. Shockingly enough, most days it simply isn’t an issue.

I suppose that many once-vegetarian women1 start eating meat simply because it is the norm for our country and so it is easiest to go along with whatever is, well, easiest.

But to me, that doesn’t make sense at all. In my mind, the vegetarian should almost always “win out” because vegetarianism tends to carry the weight of some sort of ethical choice, whereas the arguments for eating meat usually tend to come down to a perfectly legal form of self-indulgence. And in our relationship, the person who is motivated by something more than selfishness tends to “win.”

I won’t declare victory until Josh is the one pressuring me to engage my conscience more in food choices, but I will admit that we’ve both already “won” in the sense that we are happy with how things have worked out.

Here’s how it has worked for us:

We dealt with the issue prior to marriage. We did not live together before getting married, but we did seek out the benefits of living together without the downsides. That meant that we spent a lot of time grocery shopping, cooking, and eating together. There was no shock of going from only sharing meals together in a restaurant, to being married and really sharing meals. Because of this we were able to work out differences gradually. When I made Josh cook the chicken when he came to visit me he not only learned what a pain chicken is to cook, he also realized how much faster the other food was ready.

I adjusted my cooking to vegetarian and then vegan foods prepared in a style that Josh loves. Josh likes spicy foods. More to the point, he does not enjoy anything that he finds bland, and there is a lot that he finds bland. So instead of just making lentil soup, I started making curried lentils. A few trips to international food stores for lots of cheap spices and Josh was suddenly quite pleased without meat. I don’t even bother to hide my pleasure when he raves about an Asian fusion dish I whipped up with cabbage and tofu. Sure, I still think that it is odd to dump peanuts into the pan when cooking dinner, but I would much rather us eat peanuts than hot dogs.

Josh is free to prepare and eat whatever he wishes. We’re not under the impression that I must do all of the cooking or run the kitchen simply because I am a woman. If Josh wants to buy and cook meat then he can. In reality I like cooking more than Josh does and he finds it much easier to eat whatever I make. But he does not ever resent the lack of meat because if he really wanted it then he could cook it himself.

While I would be very happy if Josh stopped eating meat altogether, I find the low level of meat-consumption in our house ethically tolerable. I still have a long ways to go on the journey of wise eating, and I am pretty pleased that Josh and I will at least be staying in sight of each other during this grand adventure, even if we’re not always walking hand in hand.

The stereotype at least is that women tend to be vegetarians, and the few posts (with one exception) that I’ve seen about this were from the former-vegetarian woman’s perspective.

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9 thoughts on “Vegetarian Carnivore Marriage

  1. Rebecca

    Oh, you and The Man would not get along at all. His dad is vegetarian and has frequently shaken his head and wondered aloud ‘how did I end up with such a carnivore as a son’ (with a smile on his face of course). Need proof? When we pass a cow pasture while driving he says ‘mmmmmm’ and when asked what his favorite food group is he will tell you ‘pig’. Yea, I know, this is not exactly the comment you were looking for – but hopefully it made you smile a little.

  2. Marc Cardaronella

    You know, honestly I can understand this. I’m not anywhere close to being vegetarian but I don’t eat a ton of meat. I really like vegetarian dishes and tend to use only a little meat.

    However, if someone is cooking something as awesome as curried lentils and enjoys doing it, I’d be all in! Besides, it’s boring just cooking for yourself.

    That being said, I wouldn’t be able to pass up the occasional All-American steak cookout now and then. Josh, you just need to buy yourself a good grill, get a NY strip every now and then and go to town. You could even cook awesome vegetable on it. The rest of the time, I’d join in the fun with Rae and cook cool vegetarian dishes with her. It’s more fun to cook with company.

  3. felicemifa

    Well thought out, and perfectly in line with my usual rationale on these things, which is “people should eat what they want”. And right now I want to eat what’s in that second picture.

  4. Kristy

    A very good friend of mine – she’s a…pescatarian, we’ll say, since she does eat seafood – is very nearly engaged to an omnivore. She’s actually started teaching herself how to cook meats & chicken because she doesn’t want to deprive him of food he enjoys eating. (Not to say that it’s her job to cook because she’s a woman; she just enjoys it and cooks more often than he does.) Plus, since they plan to have kids one day, she doesn’t want them to not be able to eat meat because she chose not to; she’d rather they make the decision for themselves.

    And given the fact that she gagged and spat out a piece of chicken at Panera once while we were at lunch (it was shredded and she thought it was a piece of mozzarella – it wasn’t, and she was mortified), she certainly won’t be abandoning her mostly-vegetarian ways.

    If you ask me, though, everything’s better with a little bit of bacon. ;) (Okay, fine, not really. I just had to poke a *little* fun.)

  5. Elisa

    Ok, that is just not very nice, you know…posting all those yummy pictures and not having any recipes!! I’m so hungry right now! I’ve no veggie-tarian person, but I’m European and grew up with almost no meat, cuz the cows over there are mostly used for milk. Anyways, I once had the bean burger at Fudruckers and LOVED it. Where can I find a good bean burger recipe? Also, I don’t actually like the taste of red meat. It used to be much better. Anyways, hook me up with some good recipe websites if you have time. I do know of vegan yum yum, but vegan’s too extreme for me since I never have the unusual ingredients on hand. =l

  6. Craig

    I’ve always been of the opinion that these “canine” teeth in my mouth meant I was a carnivore – and the molars meant I was a veggievore. I think the term is omnivore. But I guess the big thing we have in Our Lord is freedom – freedom to choose him – or not – to sin or not – to be modest (◠‿◠) or not, to love or not – to be veegivores or carnivores or omnivores – God bless you Rae – and your hubs – I always heart your words.

  7. Mandi

    This is similar to my situation…I don’t eat meat, but my husband does. I don’t usually cook meat, although sometimes he does to go along with a meal and I try to make meals that the meat can be “thrown in” if he wants some (I make a great coconut curry and we cook tofu and chicken separately, then add the rest to our respective “protein” pan). He doesn’t seem to mind and has actually commented on how much healthier he feels now that he eats less meat (although I’m not altogether convinced that it’s due to less meat, but to less fast food and more vegetables than he ate before we got married!).

    I just looked up your blog since you commented on mine, and I love it so far. I look forward to reading more!

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