How Cooking with Your Spouse Can Strengthen Your Relationship

Do you like to cook with your spouse or partner, or do you prefer to cook separately?

Vertical image of a couple preparing food together, with text in the middle and on the bottom of the image.

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!

Build Better Teamwork

Teamwork is an area of any marriage or relationship that can be strengthened by working together in the kitchen.

Horizontal image of a woman drinking beer while watching a man prepare food.

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?

Horizontal image of a woman and man preparing a salad.

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.

It’s best to try the most basic recipes first, and you can’t get much easier than cookies. Or spaghetti and meatballs, for that matter.

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.

Horizontal image of a man and woman making food.
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.

Horizontal image of a man and women kissing while eating spaghetti.

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.

Prepare sensual foods that involve a more hands-on experience so you can feed one another, like bruschetta, shrimp, or baked fries.

Make a delicious meat and cheese plate with creamy, indulgent cheeses and finger food munchies like nuts and dried fruit.

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.

Horizontal image of a man and woman preparing a meal in the kitchen.

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.

Horizontal image of a man hugging a woman as they make food.

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.

Horizontal image of a man and woman embracing in the kitchen.

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.

Horizontal image of a couple smiling at one another while making food.

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:

© 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.

41 thoughts on “How Cooking with Your Spouse Can Strengthen Your Relationship”

  1. Cooking with a significant other is always really fun. You can learn different techniques from one another. It’s great to work together and then enjoy the results!

  2. I think i might fall back and let him do all the cooking, i was sharing with a friend of mine…how men are awesome cooks and singers…i’ d be more than filled with awe that he is actually in the kitchen cooking with me…not yet there but am already anticipating…. hmmm!..a cooking date, awesome 🙂

  3. oh yes, this is the perfect recipe for a happy couple and family life!

    I do love sharing responsibilities in the family, and specially on week-ends in an all-family-fun cooking.

    My little ones love getting their hands dirty in the kitchen, and my husband doesn’t mind washing up! Isn’t that amazing?

    I honestly love this king of quality time that we can all spend together, and now that Halloween is coming I can see ourselves all baking chic-chip muffins together.

  4. Performing any cooperative activity/hobby with a spouse is a surefire way to keep the flames burning in the relationship. It doesn’t have to be cooking! However if both of you enjoy food (and I daresay most couples do), cooking is definitely a great way to bond. You could also involve your kids as well if you have any, for some quality family time.

  5. That’s so great. I wish my parents cooked together more. I think it might have helped them get through those rough years much faster if they were doing something together like that. Cooking is a bonding experience for anyone. Even though I am not married, I have definitely noticed that it really is a good way to get to know people to just get in the kitchen and help prepare a meal.

  6. I could not agree more. Myself and my wife set aside some time every weekend to do some cooking. I have tried some new recipes and re-worked some ‘house specials’. It is so much fun, and a great time to spend some quality time together.

  7. Hmmh, I didn’t know those stats. Interesting. I’m not married right now. But to be honest, I was raised in a household where my mama did all the cooking. And when she wasn’t home to do it, then my dad would do it. So, this is a new but cool idea for me. I can see how it would benefit a relationship.

  8. Cooking together really does bring people closer in many ways. Th e simple fact that cooking requires a certain type of coordination and teamwork actually forces you to get along, else you might not eat today! But other than that the communication definitely increases and while the food is cooking you can take time to talk about random subjects. Like, how was your day…

  9. I agree with this post 100%. I have been a relationship for three years with my partner and the one thing we have always done together naturally is cook. After a long day or coming in from somewhere, we always look forward to preparing our meal together which really all in all reduces a lot of stress in our household. No one is really “responsible” for cooking the meals and we always have fun doing it. I can obviously cook on my own but is much more fun with someone, makes for great bonding time.

  10. I’m glad to find this here, because so often we focus on the food, we forget all the other benefits that come with home cooked meals–the memories, the bonding opportunities, and yes, sometimes even the fights. But as you said, cooking together is an exercise in working together as a team. When I am cooking with my husband, sometimes we ruffle each other’s feathers, but you know what? In the end, I am glad we did, because it reinforces the relationship, and we know we can work through anything as long as we maintain respect for each other. A relationship doesn’t work unless you do. Thank you for this wisdom.

  11. My husband and I both like to cook and bake. Are we happy because we cook together or do we cook together because we’re happy? I know we like to do a lot of things together and cooking is just one of them. Our talents sometimes compliment each other. For example, my husband has good knife skills, which helps me a lot because I have arthritis in my hands so I have him do the cutting, slicing, dicing and chopping.

  12. I think the time in the kitchen with my wife leads to some wonderful conversation and the chance to let the busy work day slide away. The conversation often carries over to the dinner table.

  13. I remember when my husband, and I first started dating. When it came to the kitchen we were as different as day and night. It took some time to adjust to each others cooking skills.

    Now 15 years later we are comfortable in the kitchen together. He loves to grill, and I must say he is damn good at it. He takes care of the grilling, and I do the rest on the stove. We are now a cooking team that can make some mouth watering meals.

  14. I have heard this before and it makes me so happy. Me and my hubby have a great relationship and I am so happy to say that we cook together at least once a day. Whether it is a small meal or a big meal you will find us in the kitchen together and we love it. It is great bonding time:)

  15. I believe with all my being that cooking together is one of the best therapy methods for husband and wife. The experience could be very intimate for a couple. I wish my husband and I could do it more often. But we purposely stay out of the restaurants on Valentines day so that we can cook together. I love it!

  16. I love cooking with my husband. We come from completely different cultures and backgrounds, and this has made it all the more interesting to do as we’ve shared stories of our childhoods and how food played a part in celebrations and rituals as we were growing up.

    Whichever one of us is cooking, the other will chop, peel, fetch ingredients, and generally keep the area clean and tidy. We talk the whole way through the process, and I always feel very close to my husband during those times.

  17. The title of this article grabbed my attention because I actually just refused my partner’s help in the kitchen and wanted to click to figure out if and why I shouldn’t have. I never realized that couples who cook together are more satisfied overall. I do totally agree that sharing activities is a boon to any marriage, and that cooking together improves communication- though sometimes I do get frustrated since he’s a bit clueless in the kitchen. I’ll make a point to invite him in for a few weeks and see how it goes- thanks!

    • I’m the same. I used to like cooking with my spouse but now I just get frustrated. For me it’s not because he’s completely clueless, instead I realized how messy and careless he is. He makes huge messes and doesn’t clean up to completion, takes shortcuts on recipes, almost never takes measurements seriously, and has ruined some of my expensive pans and other equipment.

      Sometimes his maverick methods pay off because he’s really good at cooking by taste and not by measurements alone. But it also means sometimes wasting food when it goes wrong, or destroying a pan because he wanted to take a shortcut and it went horribly wrong.

      These days I either have to sit back and let him do it all himself, or I have him do something really controlled and simple like chop things in a corner when I’m cooking. Otherwise we’re stepping on each other’s toes (literally and figuratively) and I get super frustrated with his chaotic style, and wanting to do the recipe his way (which means chaos and destruction).

      It’s disheartening to see this article. I guess it means we don’t work well as a team.

  18. I’m always trying to get my husband to help with the cleaning more. He is great at cooking, but he leaves a big mess behind. I have been trying to help him more with the cooking, and in return he has to help me clean up.

    • Oh god yes this. My spouse loves to cook but he isn’t going to clean up after himself. Doesn’t matter if I help or not, if I don’t supervise I’ll be chiseling off dried up sauce on the counter the next day.

  19. Wonderful article! My husband and I cook together whenever I we get the chance. We live with his parents so it doesn’t happen as often as we like but when we do, we have loads of fun! Everything that you stated in this article holds true for us. Communication, team work and you are spot on about kitchen skills mirroring life skills. As we cook we talk about our day or talk about what bothering us. And what’s great is that I am more of a baker while he is more of a cook, so we are always learning something new from each other while we are in kitchen. It’s a wonderful bonding experience.

  20. Me and my boyfriend do not cook together all the time but when we do we have fun with it. We each get a task and hold a lot of conversations during this time of getting stuff ready to be cooked. It can be a fun activity compared to the usual ones.

  21. I absolutely love cooking with my wife. Our communication has increased immensely and our relationship overall has strengthened. We have also been trying to implement our children into the mix. Hopefully they love cooking as much as we do.

  22. Personally, I couldn’t think of anything worse than OH hanging about in the kitchen! I much prefer to cook alone, without anyone getting under my feet telling me the “right” way to do thngs. I cook it, he washes up and that’s the way I’d like things to stay!

  23. My husband and I both cook, although I do more of the cooking than he does. We do cook together at times, and it’s always fun preparing a meal with each other.

    This is really good advice for anyone, but especially for young and new couples. Start out on the right foot, working together. It creates a great foundation for your relationship.

  24. My fiance and I both love cooking and it definitely helps our relationship but it also helps our relationships with my children. We treat cooking as a family activity and everyone gets involved. Working together helps me to forge a bond with my children and has drastically improved my France’s relationship with them.

  25. I get it. I understand. I just…can’t…agree. It’s immensely difficult trying to feed four people on a 3 times a day schedule while also having my children in the kitchen & finding I have to watch my spouse more than the kids. That’s insanity. I’m perfectly fine with you offering to clean afterward. I much prefer that. However, trying to balance everyone like so many spinning plates is a lot more difficult than I feel was examined above.

  26. I love to cook with my boyfriend. After work and such we always put the time together to cook. It’s the one time of the day when our attention is on just us not the tv, not Facebook, just us. It is our time to communicate talk about our day and just be together. There is always a little discussion at the end about who does the dishes so I think it might be time to invest in a dishwasher !

    But we both love to try new things and explore new countries cuisines. Sometimes we don’t succeed in making something extremely edible but we always laugh along the way which I think is the most important part 🙂

  27. These are lots of great reasons to cook with your spouse or significant other. For those reading who don’t know how to prepare homemade meals, or aren’t confident in their abilities, taking a class with a spouse or someone else you’re close to is a good introduction to the subject. Both starting off on level ground, is good so one won’t feel inferior. Even if you’ve been together a long time, you can achieve the same effect by taking a cooking class for something totally new to both of you, such as making sushi, Indian or Mexican cuisine (assuming you’re not familiar with them), and learning from the start together can help create a bond of teamwork.

  28. I guess I am blessed with a partner that not only likes to cook with me, is way better then me! I also count my blessings at her patience, showing me the finer points even if it takes awhile for me to get it lol.

  29. This is a very interesting article, and makes alot of great points! I try to get my significant other in kitchen all the time to cook with me. The few times I’ve been successful I love the fact that both of are working together to create something we will both love

  30. This article is a great read. I’m also fortunate enough to be in a relationship where my partner enjoys cooking. We really enjoy trying out new reciepes on the weekends when we have time. In my opinion cooking together is more satisfying them going out to eat. We have so much fun testing out different dishes from a variety of Cusines.

  31. Amazing article! Right on the money! I can’t count the times planning and cooking a meal together has lifted our spirits. We usually start off kind of out of slow and clumsy, but we quickly and almost magically fall into sync, remembering, and figuring out, which tasks we should each do separately, and which ones we should share. It all sort of comes together regardless of what we try to cook. And yes, It has strengthened our relationship.

  32. Even though my husband and I don’t cook together–except for pizza night. I think this is a wonderful article about spending time together and learning to work together.

  33. My husband and I cook together a lot! I highly recommend it! It definitely helps bring a lot of intimacy into our relationship as it involves a lot of teamwork. Working together helps reinforce the basis of the fact that you are committed and there for on another. We feel good after we’ve finished cooking and can sit down together and eat something that we’ve worked on all by ourselves. Although date nights on the town are fun, I agree that eating a home cooked meal that your spouse helped you prepare is definitely something special!

  34. This makes so much sense! All of my girlfriends complain about their boyfriends or husbands not doing any of the cooking, and their relationships always seem so strained. My fiance loves to cook with me — even though our meals are usually pretty simple rice-and-potatoes type dishes, it still relieves me of a lot of stress and I love the quality time spent with him. Great article!

  35. While I’m happy to let my partner help out at a minimum in the kitchen, I’m much happier letting them sit nicely behind the counter and maybe chop up some veggies, but stay out of my way for the most part! Too many cooks spoil the broth in my house unfortunately, but it’s nice to have someone there out of the way just to chat. My best friend and his boyfriend however are unbelievable to watch in the kitchen – they are so in sync it’s like watching cooking ballet! Makes me smile every time!

  36. I would say this is definitely true. My fiance works long shifts at work 5 days a week, while I am a stay at home mother/housewife. Its VERY rare that I can get my fiance to come cook with me. On the rare chance that he does, maybe once a year, I have always felt that we were closer, and it was sort-of a form of bonding for us.

  37. WOW! What an emotional article as evidenced by all the equally powerful comments elicited. I think, maybe that you and others have put into words what really happens when you hang in the kitchen as a family. Nothing about being an expert is needed, just a willingness to share the duties. These are great thoughts for children, young couples and even a grandma like me. Thank you and happy holiday eating!

  38. I need advise men and women!
    My husband loves to cook with me but there are the basics that all woman complain about that I have always held my mouth shut on, even to this day. Also (to me) if he plans the meal, he is the cook, and vice versa. If we plan it together, we both are the cooks. But when he is the cook I believe it is not my place to say, example: You don’t use a spoon to flip hamburger meat. Or how to season it, or to drain the fats. I let him do his things because he is the cook. (I also expect the same in return).
    I also have a tendency to put my hands up and be done in the kitchen if I am the cook and he tries to tell me what and how to do what.
    He doesn’t agree I do that, and neither does this article. Please help me and teach me and correct me. I have found by this article that I am supposed to accept criticism in the kitchen with my husband. Help me!


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