Monday, November 02, 2009

Can "Mixed" Marriages Really Work?

This is not going to be a post where we rehash the shameful story of the New Orleans justice of the peace who refused to provide a marriage license to an interracial couple (he's being sued by the way.) No, the mixed marriages I'm wondering about are of a different ilk.

So we're sitting at the dinner table this weekend with some new friends of ours. She's from Ecuador and he's a true man of the world, born in Lebanon to a German mother and a Lebanese father, raised on three separate continents, fluent in several languages, and so on and so on. Well, it's Halloween and we were eating pizzas and a fresh salad I had prepared but to my surprise the husband declined the salad. "He doesn't eat vegetables," his wife groaned in exasperation.
"What do you mean you don't eat vegetables," I asked?
"I don't like them," he said.
"All vegetables," I pushed, because I don't understand how an entire food group can be found to be unpleasant. To prove his point, he reached for another piece of the white pizza, because he couldn't even abide by tomato sauce. "That's right, all vegetables," he said.
His wife looked at me with regret in her eyes. "My mother told me not to marry him because this vegetable thing would become a problem, but I didn't listen. I was young and in love. I should have listened."

So that got us on the conversation about mixed marriages. Could you marry someone with drastically different food habits than yourself? I saw a segment on one of the morning news shows once that claimed that food habits were right up there with financial habits when it came to deal breakers between otherwise happy couples. Vegetarians with Omnivores? Kosher vs Non-Kosher? Organics vs. The guy who eats neon green breakfast cereal and pop-tarts? I don't know, can it work? El esposo and I claim it's food that actually brought us together and over the years, things that I love he has grown to appreciate (chocolate chip cookies) and things that only a Spaniard could love (pig fat and green olives) I too can enjoy.

So what do you think? Do you have a Mixed marriage or relationship by this definition? How does it work? Please share.



Curly Film Chick said...

I am in a culturally mixed relationship. My food habits include eating food from many different places, but my fiance whose Puerto Rican only really ate his native food and pasta (being the NYer that he is). It was terrible going out to eat when we were dating, he never ate anything! He frowned at the food i liked to eat (Japanese, Mexican thats NOT taco bell, and traditional West Indian dishes) and never ate veggies. but now he's gotten rid of his stubborn self and ironically has become a chef; he is more open to all sorts of food and we have actually found food I won't touch! It's been a long time in the making but it's working out well now =]

I think it could work, so long as the person isn't so stubborn and turns his nose up at everything like my fiance once did. He finds ways to eat the foods he once didn't like to have it to his liking.

Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

Heh, no. I love variety in food and I couldn't stand being with a picky eater. Would drive me nuts! Even my mom is Thai and cooks with garlic a lot but my dad hates garlic. Unending source of conflict in our lives. :)

glamah16 said...

Mine likes his meat and starches. I like everyhting and bake a lot( he doesnt do sweets). I go crazy on the vegetables and other stuff when hes away. but we find middle ground. I dated a conservative Jewish guy who ws vegan and kosher, that was tough.Needless to say it didnt work out.

JBH said...

Yikes! Good thing my hubby and I like the same foods:-) And by that I mean QUALITY food! Not sure what I would do if we didn't agree on that?

My sympathies to the "mixed food marriages" out there...And I look forward to hearing how it works for you:-)

Tikki said...

It would drive me insane-I eat practically everything. And, call me crazy, but I always feel that there is something a little off with people that have food issues.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

No. A really picky eater usually has other issues.

I'm an omnivore (who has cut way back on meat since moving overseas) who loves to cook and eat.

I cannot date a man who cuts out entire food groups, is vegan, always on a diet, etc. etc. life is too short.

Nif said...

My wife was just remarking the other day about how hard life would be if we didn't like the same foods. Much of our bonding happens over food and our food politics. We eat as many meals as possible together, shop for food together, and I love it when we cook together.

Yes, we make compromises, because no two people can always like exactly the same thing. But the sacrifices haven't been dire or even annoying.

I think fondly of the people I've lived with who have expanded my food horizons. Don't mind dealing with dietary preferences, but get irritated with people who are self-righteous or rude about what others like.

Heather said...

I think the toughest/most-challenging kinds of "mixed" relationships (marriage, true-friendship, or any kind of real meaningful relationship actually) are class-mixed. Social class ramifications are huge (food preferences being just one potential outgrowth of it). I think that socio-economic class is the toughest challenge to overcome in terms of 'mixing.' This is just in my own humble opinion, but wanted to throw it out there into the mix.

Martine said...

I once went on a date with a guy who asked where we should eat. I sugeested cajun, he was horrified. I knew immediately that it wouldn't work out.

LT said...

I love your happy ending. Perfect!

I feel you. Picky eaters would be a major turn-off for me.

Good to "see" you again. "vegan and kosher?" ouch! sounds painful.

I agree, quality is key.

Tikki and Ragazza,
See Jade's response above. Food issues that aren't allergies = turn off.

You make a good point, it really is all about the person's attitude with the food issues.

Thanks for making a deeper point about this topic. Food issues don't usually spring out of nowhere.


LMAO! I say if a person can't eat a big bowl of ramen noodles with a fried egg and lots of fatty pork, what is the point of living then?

Anonymous said...

"Mixed" marriages? Aren't all marriages some form of mixed cultures coming together to form a coherent bond. Lifestyle, race, age, etc. Its how we choose to view, tolerate, or accept our mate throughout the relationship. A reason marriage fails is the lack of communicating these differences or the willingness to accept them. If we let society stereotype our individuality marriage as we know might not exist!

Mrs. E. said...

I am in a mixed marriage, it can work. I dont see where it can be a problem. I think the vegatable thing may be a bigger problem because how do you cook. lol

soy yo said...

I am an American married to a Finn and we live in Finland. No one comes to Finland for the food, this I can say. You can find pineapple in almost any dish here.

That said, there are wonderful wild berries here, great coffee pastries, and some other good stuff.

My husband had never really eaten much besides Finnish food, but he has loved all the new foods that I have gotten him to try. It's been fun.

We have now gone vegetarian together and that has been great!