How Cooking Together Can Help Foster Healthy Relationships

You can strengthen your love in the kitchen.

A happy couple cooks dinner together in a white-tiled kitchen decorated with plants.

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Do you ever get to the end of the day only to sigh and realize you still have to cook dinner? If the answer is yes, you're not alone—making dinner day after day is one of those things that can get a bit monotonous. And when it comes to cooking in relationships or as a married couple, there can be tension around agreeing on what to have for dinner every single night, and who cooks. But according to one relationship expert, cooking as a couple can actually be a very healthy practice; there's a lot more to it than putting dinner on the table night after night.

"When a couple does activities together within their home, it strengthens their bond. They say home is where the heart is. When you've found your person, you feel like they are "home," therefore spending time together at home can only help a couple thrive," explains Jaime Bronstein, a licensed relationship therapist. "Creating memories in your home helps to nourish your sacred connection as privacy in a relationship and intimate time together, prioritizing each other makes both people feel loved."

Meet the Expert

Jaime Bronstein is a licensed relationship therapist and author of MAN*ifesting.

The Benefits of Cooking as a Couple

Whether both partners in a couple love to cook, neither enjoy it, or one partner tends to spend more time in the kitchen, a relationship can definitely benefit from this practice—and there are plenty of ways to disrupt the repetition. Here, Bronstein explains how couples can strengthen their bond through cooking, whether it's just on occasion or daily practice.

Showing Love With Acts of Service

"Many people love the phrase 'food is love,' and it could not be more accurate," explains Bronstein. Think about it—there's a good chance you and your partner have shared some amazing meals together on a date, or maybe you treat each other to a special kind of food when the other is feeling down (chocolate, anyone?). "Whether you are cooking for your loved one or cooking together, you are sharing, giving, and receiving love; it's a win-win scenario," she says. No matter your love language, finding common ground with food is a great way to express your love for one another, and doing something for the person you love is one of the best ways to show your appreciation.

Of course, you don't have to cook together in order to bond this way. "Switching off cooking works as well. People have busy schedules, so if the couple comes up with a cooking plan that works for them, more power to them. They can switch off and then order in some nights or go on dates together as well."

Practicing Working Together

It may sound a little corny, but cooking together is a perfect way to work together—something that can translate to so many areas of a relationship. You'll be communicating, sharing responsibilities, and maybe even practicing some patience! "Cooking together takes cooperation and planning. I believe a couple that cooks together stays together," says Bronstein.

Sharing Responsibilities

When one partner in a couple finds that they might be shouldering more of the cooking responsibility, Bronstein suggests having a conversation to express why it might be healthier to cook together, or split up the responsibility a little more. "Some people wouldn't mind if they did all the cooking; however, for those who feel there should be more equality in the kitchen, I recommend being honest with your partner," shares Bronstein. "Always start the conversation with 'I love you' and share how grateful you are for all they do for you, and then add your request in a loving and compassionate manner. Explain that it makes you happy to cook for them; however, you would appreciate it if they could cook for you some of the time—or at least help."

If you find that your partner isn't willing to cook or take on some of the tasks in the kitchen, and it's not sitting well with you, consider seeking help from a couples therapist or a counselor, as there may be a larger issue about sharing responsibilities in the partnership.

Just Having Fun

Simply put, cooking can just be a great way to unwind and have fun together while spending quality time with your partner. "It's all about having a positive and light-hearted attitude," explains Bronstein. "If the couple looks at cooking together as playtime versus a chore, the experience will be pure fun."

Aside from changing your perspective around cooking dinner together, Bronstein says that it's a great opportunity for couples to plan something special together. It can be more than chopping veggies and sitting down to eat! "Cooking dinner together with some music in the background, drinking a glass of wine, or perhaps dancing in the kitchen in between chopping and baking can be quite playful and fun, and there's always the chance that it can lead to intimate time after dinner as it gets couples in the mood."

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