Harmony and Love in a Divided Relationship

meganBio: Megan (a.k.a. The “Crunchy Vegan Gal”) has been veg since 2002. As a passionate advocate for animal welfare, social justice, and environmental protection and restoration, she created the Crunchy Vegan website and online community to be a resource about veganism. When she’s not snapping photos of her food, spending time with her “vegan fam,” or writing about veganism, she’s exploring, she’s creating, and she’s working with residents and communities to collectively plan the future of our towns and cities. At the end of each day, her heart is kept full with the love of her husband and partner-in-crime, Shane, and their fur-baby, Nudge. Stay connected with her online: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter or contact her at crunchyvegangal@gmail.com 


Reflections on a journey to maintain love and find acceptance in a mismatched relationship.

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I was a vegetarian when I met him. And even though they say you shouldn’t expect to change someone in a relationship, the thought remained somewhere in my mind that, one day, he’d be a vegetarian like me.

Seven years later and we were engaged. He was still eating meat, and I was still a vegetarian. Our engagement was only a few months before I would ultimately go vegan. And I would find myself planning a wedding menu that was half vegan, half omnivorous.

To understand our relationship, you must first understand us.

My husband and I are extreme opposites—in every way possible. You name it, and we stand on far ends of the spectrum, counter to one another. Interestingly, our opposite qualities are typically what unite us. These differences make our relationship exciting and fulfilling. With respect to my vegan journey, however, it feels as though there’s a deep divide, and it’s difficult to reconcile.

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I love him.

I fell in love with my husband because I know he is a kind person. He likes to convince his friends that he’s got machismo, but he’s a softie deep down—if only his friends and family knew how his knees weaken at the sight of animals! He’s compassionate, yet stubborn with a hint of selfish tendencies.

And I love him.

I try to be patient.

I very much wish my husband would go vegan—for his health, for the animals, for the planet—and I feel as though he has the information to make the change, but it hasn’t happened yet. He has watched Forks Over Knives (which prompted him to stop drinking milk). He knows about the devastating environmental impact of the meat industry, but can’t grapple with the magnitude. He understands that his eating habits are not in the least bit healthy, yet he persists with his lifestyle. He’s heard me explain the pain and suffering of animals raised for meat, and I can almost hear his heart breaking. It nearly kills me.

Because I love him.

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It’s not easy to understand his decision. In fact, it’s quite painful for me to know that he’s completely aware of the realities, yet feels removed enough to go about life as he always has. It doesn’t seem to affect him that his health, the animals, and the planet are all in jeopardy because of his decision to continue consuming meat.

He doesn’t seem aware that I am so saddened by this.

Yet I love him.

It’s not that he doesn’t care. I love him precisely because he is a kind and loving person. It pains me so to hear him justify, “I understand, and I hate that I’m a part of this—I don’t want to hurt animals—but I’m weak.” He’s so strong-willed in many ways, yet he calls himself “weak.”

My husband is an animal lover. And not just a pet-lover, but an honest-to-goodness animal lover. He has visited animal sanctuaries with me. Oh, I wish I could have captured the smile on his face as we walked over to the pigs and reflect that image to him as a mirror, allowing him to look within…then, maybe, something would click.

Still, I love him.

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Over the years, I’ve become ‘that’ vegan: the one who is so invested in their veganism that they can hardly utter a sentence that doesn’t include the word “vegan.” This is my lifestyle, my ethics, my hobby, and my passion. My veganism is so important to me, and it’s devastating that I can’t share that with the one I love.

But I love him.

This week, we’ll celebrate five years of marriage. We’ve been together for 12 years, and all that time ago, I fell in love with my husband for who he was, and I continue to love him for who he is. I love him regardless of where he is in his journey. While our lifestyle differences create wakes, together, we manage the waves.

Because we love each other.

Every relationship experiences ebb and flow; but how well a couple endures depends on their ability to jointly sacrifice and compromise. There’s a careful balance required to create a lasting partnerships among counterparts. Pairings with intense contrasts, especially, demand careful attention to this balance. Despite all our differences, we share one key mutual interest: we love and deeply respect one another, and are committed to building our foundation stronger each day.

 

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