Do you like to cook with your spouse or partner, or do you prefer to cook separately?
In my own relationship, my husband and I both enjoy cooking and baking, 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 we cook.
There are multiple studies that reveal how couples have more positive emotions and better perceived levels of relationship satisfaction and commitment when they experience ritualistic experiences together, such as cooking, compared with those who do not.
If that’s not a catalyst to get you into the kitchen with your partner, then I don’t know what is!
I have found over the years that the expression of our relationship in the kitchen really has a profoundly positive impact on all areas of our marriage.
If you’re still skeptical about any of this, let me give you a breakdown of the ways I have found that bonding over the stove strengthens a relationship.
And I’ll give you a few pointers on how to get your spouse more involved if they’re not a big fan of cooking!
How Cooking with Your Spouse Can Strengthen Your Relationship
Build Better Teamwork
Teamwork is an area of any marriage or relationship that can be 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 with each of you making a certain thing for the meal, and work to have everything ready at the same time.
This teaches you how to negotiate a fair and respectful division of labor.
Even if one of you hates to cook, agreeing to keep the kitchen clean during the cooking process and do the dishes later can bring about the same results. You are still working together to get the job done as a collaborative team.
And even if you aren’t physically involved in the cooking process, it’s important to still be in the same room together!
Hanging out at the counter with a bottle of beer or refreshing splash, chatting and keeping your spouse’s beverage filled while you’re at it, will only build on the sense of unity that working together can bring.
Develop Culinary Skills and Confidence
So, what if you’re starting from ground zero?
Does your partner not like to cook, or do they not feel confident enough to prepare a meal from scratch?
Don’t lose hope – you are here to act as a positive support system for your hesitant spouse. And vice versa, if there are areas where you could use some support!
Sometimes it’s fun to teach your spouse something new. If your significant other has never prepped a certain ingredient before, with no experience doing tasks like removing seeds from a pomegranate or roasting and pureeing whole squash, take the time to show them how.
Allow them to work at their own pace, without stressing them out, so they can feel comfortable and confident in contributing to the meal.
Encourage your partner with love and patience – cooking and prepping for the first time can be a sensitive experience that leaves them feeling vulnerable, especially if your partner is not too skilled with different pieces of kitchen gear, like knives and mandolines.
A few words of encouragement will certainly be the right kind of positive boost – even if they can only slowly peel one carrot to your fast five!
Just start small with an easy recipe, with simple and recognizable ingredients and culinary techniques that are easy to follow.
You can also review our 3 simple steps when starting out cooking in the kitchen.
Showing someone how easy it can be to follow a recipe is usually all it takes to get them to begin feeling more comfortable in the kitchen.
Discover Hidden Strengths
Cooking together 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 in other areas, and watching him cook has really highlighted these strengths for me so that I’m more appreciative of them.
For example, I’ll go into the kitchen, peer into the pantry, fridge, and freezer, and yell, “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 always amazes me how he can make such great food when we are down to the bare bones of the pantry.
And 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.
You’ll appreciate the unique strengths of your own partner as they are highlighted when you cook together, and you will feel grateful for these aspects of their personality.
Exercise Hands-On Intimacy
Cooking together can also become a romantic, intimate experience.
If you have children, schedule a night when the kids sleep over at a friend or family member’s house and plan a date night at home.
Light some unscented candles for a little mood lighting, put on your favorite music, – you know, the playlist you both like – and enjoy the fruits of your joint effort with a glass of wine.
When you both put in the effort, it can give you such a sense of satisfaction to share a homemade meal together.
And it doesn’t hurt to compliment and rave about 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 ritual every few months 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.
Pursue Creative Challenges
Working on a unique recipe or culinary project together in the kitchen is a great opportunity to give you both a creative challenge to work together towards a fun and common goal.
You can start a serious project together, like making kombucha or a sourdough starter – these fermentation methods often take weeks to develop, and will require patience and creativity from both of you.
As another example, if your significant other has a favorite restaurant dish, figure out together how you can attempt to recreate it at home.
Research and choose the recipes together. Then, make a special trip to the store – the both of you! – and hunt for the ingredients you’ll need.
Work on making it together and following the recipe. It’s fun to see how your version stacks up to your original inspiration.
Is it better or worse?
Brainstorm together for ways you think you can change the recipe to make it closer to the original next time. You may notice a certain flavor lacking and you’re not quite able to put your finger on what it is. But you might be surprised at how good your partner is in identifying what’s missing!
Share Similar Interests
Couples who enjoy shared activities and interests often have stronger marriages.
Not into most of your partner’s hobbies? No problem! Knitting and gaming can stay separate!
But you both have to eat, right? Why not become more involved in what the other is cooking in the kitchen?
My husband and I will watch cooking shows and competitions together, a perfect opportunity to bond.
We also listen to similar food podcasts together, and love to discuss what we’ve learned about a new cocktail, current trends, and more.
If you don’t have many common hobbies with your spouse, cooking is something that you can both do and aim to become better at, maybe even teaching one another a thing or two along the way.
Consider signing up for a cooking class together – it will be a fun activity to do outside of the home, and will help you have some fun with this particular shared interest.
Practice Straightforward Communication
When you’re cooking a meal together, from picking out what recipes you’ll cook for the week to putting together a grocery list to the actual preparation of the meal, communication is the key to success.
This is already true of any relationship, so it stands to reason that developing strong communication skills in the kitchen arena will only strengthen your ability to communicate well in other areas of your life.
You’ll be forced to buy your 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 with 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.
Full of Food – And Love!
I hope I have inspired you with these fun ideas on how to start cooking with your spouse at home, and given you a few reasons why you might want to that you hadn’t already thought of.
All of these suggestions offer encouraging ways to start working together in the kitchen, gain more confidence with cooking skills, and build a stronger connection as a couple.
Not to mention, you’ll get to savor the final results of all the delicious recipes you’re cooking and baking from scratch!
Now, help each other tie your aprons on, and get into that kitchen! And pretty soon, you can graduate from cooking with your significant other to cooking with all of your children!
How do you bond with your partner when you cook and bake at home? Share your ideas below in the comment section.
Continue growing your kitchen confidence by reading more of our how-to articles, and encourage your spouse to read them, too:
- 30 Time-Saving Kitchen Hacks
- 11 Top Tips for Kitchen Safety
- How to Exercise in the Kitchen and Burn Calories
© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 29, 2014. Last updated on March 4, 2023. Uncredited photos via Shutterstock. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone.
About Ashley Martell
Ashley has enjoyed creative writing since she was six years old, when she wrote her first short story. She majored in English literature at the University of Montevallo. After years of professional work, she is now a stay-at-home mom of three, who uses her craft to write about her life and adventures in and out of the kitchen.