There are a number of factors that will
affect how well a couple with
dietary differences get along:
1. Was there a change in the diet of
either spouse after the wedding?
2. How strongly does the vegetarian
hold his/her view? Does she/he regard it as a moral
crusade or only as a personal preference? Is he/she
revolted at the sight of meat?
3. How strongly does the non-vegetarian
hold his/her view? Does she/he deeply resent it when
a strong case is made for vegetarianism? Or does he/she
respect the vegetarian position and perhaps even agree
with it, but just feel unable to adopt that diet?
While the above factors should be considered,
it is hoped that the
following suggestions will be helpful in most situations:
SUGGESTIONS FOR BOTH SPOUSES:
1. Recognize that the issues that you
agree on are far greater than those on which you disagree;
2. Recognize that your spouse did not
adopt her/his diet to hurt you or make life more complicated
for you. Try to respect his/her decision, whether
it is based on what she/he regards as great moral
principles, on convenience, on conformity, or on habit.
3. You might both want to take advantage
of the many increasingly available vegetarian substitutes
for hot dogs, hamburgers, and other animal-based meals.
4. Try to be creative in experimenting
with new dishes that do not
compromise your position.
5. Never attack your spouses point
of view, especially in public.
6. Compensate for any friction related
to dietary differences by stressing important areas
7. Try to find restaurants where you
can eat together, without either spouse feeling that
her/his principles are being violated.
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE VEGETARIAN SPOUSE:
1. Play an active role in shopping and
preparing meals. Try to show that vegetarian meals
can look appealing and be tasty.
2. Invest in a few good cook books (see
Bibliography) and try to come up with perhaps 7 or
8 easy recipes that you can both enjoy.
3. If you lack time for meal preparation,
you might find valuable ideas and recipes in Meatless
M deals for Working People - Quick and Easy Vegetarian
Recipes by Debra Wasserman and Charles Stahler and
Conveniently Vegan by Debra Wasserman (see the Bibliography).
4. Try to be a positive role model.
Try to let your good health, cheerful attitude, and
tolerance serve as a positive example of a vegetarian
5. Don't talk about your diet and the
many benefits of vegetarianism unless your spouse
6. Use your improved health and vigor
to be a better spouse.
7. If meat is not served in the house,
be understanding if your spouse feels that he/she
needs to eat meat outside sometimes.
8. If deemed appropriate, have vegetarian
books and magazines around the house, so that your
spouse may read them, and learn about the benefits
other aspects of vegetarian diets.
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NON-VEGETARIAN
1. Try to see the positive side of your
spouse's diet. Recognize that she/he may be having
a hard time defending his/her diet outside the home
and that some support at home can be very helpful.
2. Dont say "how much easier
life could be if you could just throw a steak in the
oven (or on the grill)".
3. Appreciate any improved health and
increased vitality your mate has due to a vegetarian
4. Recognize that if you eat vegetarian
food you are not compromising any principle or belief,
while your spouse would be doing so if she/he ate
meat. Consider, for example, that all meals served
by the Israeli military are kosher, even though many
Israeli soldiers do not normally keep the kosher laws,
so that nobody's beliefs will be violated. (Vegetarian
food is also available for Israeli vegetarian soldiers.)
5. Try to find some good vegetarian
recipes that you find convenient and enjoyable, and
that you can share together.
In conclusion, recognize that, while
eating is one of life's great pleasures, it is not
all of life, so please dont let any disagreements
get in the way of your enjoying your life together.
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