Did you know that 70% of surveyed married couples actually like to cook together, and those couples that do enjoy cooking together are significantly more satisfied in ALL areas of their lives than couples who don’t cook together?
This was the surprising result of a study conducted by noted relationship expert Dr. John Gray. If that’s not a catalyst to get you into the kitchen with your husband or wife, then I don’t know what is!
Happily for me, my husband and I both love to cook, and we love to get into the kitchen together.
Even if only one of us is preparing the meal, often the other will just hang out in the kitchen, and we’ll talk about everything under the sun while the food is cooking.
I have found over the years that this relationship in the kitchen really has a profound impact on all the areas of our marriage, so I guess the results of that study aren’t that surprising to me.
If you’re skeptical about all of this, let me give you a breakdown of the ways I have found that bonding over the stove positively impacts our relationship and give you a few pointers on how to get your spouse more involved if he or she isn’t a big fan of cooking.
HOW CAN COOKING TOGETHER HELP IMPROVE YOUR MARRIAGE?
For me, the most obvious change in my own marriage is better communication. When you’re cooking a meal together, from picking out recipes to try to putting together a grocery list to the actual preparation of the meal, communication is the key to success.
This is even more the case in your relationship, so it stands to reason that developing strong communication skills in the kitchen arena would only strengthen your ability to communicate well in other areas of your life.
You’ll be forced to buy food intentionally when you sit down together and write out a menu plan for the week, which is in itself a practical exercise in communicating expectations to each other. This also helps to ensure that, in this area at least, you and your spouse are on the same page.
Plus, let’s face it: once you become comfortable in offering constructive criticism on how your husband is chopping an onion, it will be that much easier to verbalize how you’re feeling during a discussion about how to be more intimate together.
Secondly, it’s a known fact that couples who share activities together have stronger marriages. Not into going out hunting with your hubby?
You both have to eat, right? Why not start helping each other in the kitchen?
My husband will even watch Food Network with me and actually be interested in what they’re cooking. If you don’t have many common interests with your spouse, cooking is something that you can both do, become better at, and maybe even teach the other a thing or two. It can become an intimate experience, too.
Have the kids sleep over with their grandparents and make a date night out of it. Cook foods that are known aphrodisiacs, like shrimp, light some candles for a little mood lighting, and enjoy the fruits of your joint effort with a glass of wine.
When you’ve both put in the effort, it gives such a sense of satisfaction to share a meal together, and it doesn’t hurt to be able to compliment each other’s cooking to get the feel-good mood just right.
Having a special at-home date night where the two of you cook the meal together can become a weekly or monthly ritual that you can both look forward to. Having that special time to look forward to helps keep good feelings in your relationship at a high level.
Teamwork is another area of the marriage that’s strengthened by working together in the kitchen. Making meals together teaches you how to tag-team a situation and work together toward a common goal.
You have to divide up the tasks in the kitchen, either by working together on the same dish or each of you making a certain thing for the meal, and work to have everything ready at the same time.
Of course, this is strongly tied to communication, but this also teaches you how to have a fair division of labor. Even if one of you hates to cook, agreeing to keep the kitchen cleaned up during the cooking process and to do the dishes later works out the same way.
You are still working together to get the job done, as a team.
Sit at the counter with a glass of wine, keeping your spouse’s glass filled while you’re at it, will only build on the sense of intimacy that working together can bring.
One final point I’ll make about cooking together is that it can bring some of your partner’s strengths to your attention that you may not have noticed before.
In my own marriage, my husband’s skills in the kitchen mirror his life skills exactly, and watching him cook has really highlighted these strengths for me so that I’m more appreciative of them than I might be if I didn’t cook with him so often.
For example, I’ll go into the kitchen, peer into the pantry, fridge, and freezer, and declare, “There’s nothing to eat in here!” My husband will look at the exact same things and miraculously create a fantastic meal as if out of thin air. He is the king of making something out of nothing.
Me, I need my recipe to follow and all of the exact ingredients called for. Him, not so much. It never ceases to amaze me how he can make such great food when we are down to the bare bones of the cupboard.
He’s the same way outside of the kitchen. I’ll view some problem as insurmountable, thinking there is no way to fix a situation, and then he comes along, takes a different view, and, like magic, everything is resolved. This same characteristic also reflects his spontaneity.
I always like to have a plan for the way everything should go, and, if things go awry, I lose my cool. For him, he can roll with the punches better than anyone I’ve ever seen. I really feel like I am so much grateful for these aspects of his personality than I would be if I hadn’t seen them at work in the kitchen.
HOW TO GET A HESITANT SPOUSE INTO THE KITCHEN
So, if you want to get cooking with your spouse, but you’re married to someone who either is all-too-skilled at burning toast or who has never set foot in a kitchen to cook before, I have a few tips that might help get the ball rolling in the right direction.
First and foremost, make it a family affair to begin with. If you have kids, get them in the kitchen with you. Kids love to help cook; I think it makes them feel grown-up or something.
Even if your husband is just helping your son butter the bread or organizing the setting of the table, it’s a start. Maybe make pizza together and have everyone in charge of putting a different topping on. Start small.
Sometimes it’s fun to teach your spouse something new. If your husband has never chopped an onion before, take the time to show him how, and let him become your sous chef and get all your veggies chopped and ready to go.
Since it’s prep work and he won’t be holding you back when you’re in the midst of the actual cooking, he can work at his own pace, even if he’s slow as molasses, and still be contributing to the meal.
I love to be my hubby’s sous chef. I especially love it when he calls me his sous chef.
Try baking first.
If your wife has no clue how to do a thing in the kitchen, have her follow a basic cookie recipe first. There is nothing simpler than following the directions for chocolate chip cookies on the back of the chocolate chip bag. It’s easy, and the instructions are very exact, so there’s really no way to mess it up.
It’s best to try the easiest things first, and you can’t get much easier than cookies. Or spaghetti, for that matter.
Showing someone how easy it can be to follow a recipe is usually all it takes to get them to feeling more comfortable in the kitchen.
Finally, if your significant other has a favorite restaurant dish, you can always entice them into researching how to make it at home. This could be the start of your special at-home date night!
Google the recipe online and look for what seems like the closest match to what you would normally get at the restaurant. Then, make a special trip to the store the get the ingredients you’ll need.
Work on making it together and following the recipe exactly. It’s fun to see how your version stacks up to your inspiration.
Is it better or worse?
Brainstorm together ways you think you can change the recipe to make it closer to the original. You may notice a certain flavor lacking but not be able to put your finger on what it is.
You might then be surprised at how good your husband is in identifying what’s missing. This is such a fun way to start working together in the kitchen!
Well, I hope I’ve given you a few ideas on how to get started cooking with your spouse in the kitchen, not to mention a few reasons why you might want to in the first place. Now, get into that kitchen!