My wife was raised Catholic and has never completely been able to shed some of the chains that they installed.  She had been to church perhaps 4-5 times per year, going with her mother.  We lived out of state for almost 10 years, and she didn't show any signs of religion during that entire time, but since returning will go very rarely with her very catholic mother.  She doesn't agree with most of the stuff that goes along with catholicism and has probably been best described as agnostic/ deist in her beliefs for at least the last 15-20 years.

I just realized that she is trying to sneak in the catholic thing about no meat on Fridays during lent for our entire family without actually saying anything about it to me.  Just trying to slip it past with nobody noticing.  It isn't particularly unusual for us to eat some vegetarian meals through the week, but we are not at all vegetarian.  But she's made a point of planning no meat meals for fridays the last few weeks.  She doesn't like fish and normally grumbles when I make it, but suddenly bought a box of frozen fish filets for the kids and me for tonight (she is working late tonight and won't be home for dinner).  Usually I pack lunches for both of us the night before, but last night made a PB&J sandwich for herself for today.  She started planning out meals and grocery shopping for next week.  Beginning with tomato soup & grilled cheese for dinner next friday.  There's enough of a pattern emerging that I'm 100% sure about what's going on.

What the heck?  I am anti-religious enough that if she suggested that we should avoid meat for lent, that my first reaction is to grill up a nice t-bone bloody and rare, but that's just me. She hadn't been actually religious in decades.  But she's trying to sneak this kind of silliniess past me?!?

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Talk to her about it. It's possible that it is mostly unconscious on her part. Perhaps she hasn't given it as much thought as you have. Perhaps she is more religious than you thought. Perhaps it's a tradition that she has affection for. I guess you won't know until you ask.
Yeah, I know I could have it worse...
It just makes me feel a little creepy and dirty, like some raving Christian sneaked up and sprinkled holy water on me to drive out the demons of atheism while I was asleep.

And we've been together for nearly 14 years- this is a new one. Struggling to contain my inner asshole and discuss it nicely. NOT an easy struggle
In my experience people have different expectations and requirements for people that are very close to them. For example, there are certain things I do that are guaranteed to annoy my wife. If anyone else does it though she will be completely unaffected. I cannot understand this, but it is what it is.

My point is that your reaction to her behavior is likely affected by your feelings towards her. Perhaps that is obvious. If you examine her behavior, and what the effects of her behavior are, objectively then perhaps you'll be able to overcome your inner asshole. :)
I'm inclined to agree.
I feel the same John D. She isn't covertly taking your kids to church/Christening. If she is doing cooking and meal planning, then she can take liberties with what she wants to cook. When I cook/eat vegetarian meals I do it quietly without declaring it all over the place, and she could be the same way with her no-meat-on-Friday thing. It's much sillier and more ornery in my opinion to get offended by this or to want a deliberately non-Catholic (or for that matter non-Kosher, non-vegetarian, whatever else) meal when you have no problem with that type of food. If it was you doing the cooking and she demanded Catholic Fridays it would be very different.
I am doing my part to reduce greenhouse gasses....I am eating the cows.
yes, I was thinking that - the more cows, the more cowfarts you will have. Less cows, less gas emmisions. But I do get the point about the educational idea.
religion is the opposite of peace.
Hi Eric

My situation is very similar. My wife was raised a devout catholic, and can feel the strong emotional tug of her catholic upbringing. She was deeply indoctrinated as a child, joined all the catholic volunteer groups and even contemplated becoming a nun until she was about 16.

At this stage she realized that the god she was being taught about was less forgiving than she was, and she began to drift away from organised religion. But a vague guilty feeling has never quite disappeared. It is hard for me to imagine exactly what it feels like as I was raised an agnostic, but I can see that my becoming a more and more convinced atheist over the past couple of years upsets her just a little bit. She is an agnostic herself, more or less, but it still makes her a little bit uneasy.

We used to do lent every year - in fact this year is the first time it wasn't mentioned. I try not to make a big deal about it one way or the other, bar the odd joke. The kids and us would chose something to give up for lent, as a reminder that luxuries and indulgences do not rule our lives. To tell you the truth, the kids would talk us into letting it slide around about week 3 :)

I don't have a problem with it because I understand that as a good catholic girl, she was always taught that while the non-religious could theoretically be good, there was always a tendency for them to slide into hedonism because they did not have the moral anchor of god to depend on. To be averse to worldliness is one of the doctrines that is rammed home from an early age. If observing these rituals makes her feel good, I have absolutely no problem with them and will even happily join in. Afterall, I don't object to christmas or easter either - both are fun holidays - I just object to the tenets of the religion that invented these rituals.
It does sound like a very similar situation. As I mentioned before, it isn't the non-carnivore aspects that bother me. I am already on board with the health and environmental considerations, and those are factors in why we already eat vegetarian meals probably about half the time already. I actually think that the idea of not eating meat for one day a week as a sacrifice, particularly when seafood is allowed, is rediculous.

The sneakiness of the situation is the entire problem for me.

Look, I respect my wife. Even though I would have struggled to be respectful of the semi-religious roots of her behavior if this had been discussed or acknowledged, then I would have been willing to go along peacefully. But I was not given that opportunity. I realized that I cannot reasonably be expected to be respectful of something that I was never even informed of, so I've been running meat-centered guerilla warfare and sabotaging the whole thing. Throwing a few sausages into the works. Kind of stupid and childish, but what can you do?
Hmmm - meat-centered guerilla warfare. This should be examined as a means of resistance in religious conflicts. Perhaps, all we need in afghanistan is a large consignment of bacon!

It could be a humorous and gentle way to point out that it is a little bit unfair not to talk about it. Have you looked into the inherent sculpture possibilities of meatloaf? An actual crucifix might be going a bit too far, but there must be more gentle ways in which you can say it with minced meat.
Haha, thats awesome.




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