Matthew Cuddeback, LCSW

There are many things that couples can do together to strengthen their relationship, but one I often recommend and have found to be highly helpful is cooking together. Cooking together can help bring people closer together and help them better understand and appreciate each other. Below are a few reasons why it is worth a try:

  • Teamwork: One of the key reasons cooking together can be so useful is because you are working together. Often times we can forget we are on the same team when we compete or are in conflict. This is a reminder that you are working together, you may have gotten competitive keeping track of who is doing more laundry or offering more bids for affection, or you are on opposite sides of an argument. This helps you see that you should be working together to build a meal (and not to put to fine a point on it, a relationship.)
  • Creation: One of the most therapeutic things a person can do for themselves is to create something. It is tangible, it is something that came from your hard work that you can see and touch. This is why so many people find art, gardening, writing, etc. so good for their mental health. You made this thing together and now you get to enjoy it together.
  • It Builds Understanding: You have to collaborate and coordinate when you are cooking with another person. “You chop the onions, I will cut the carrots.” When you are done you see you both cut the carrots. That shows you that neither of you were listening or paying enough attention. So, you start to understand the way your partner does things. You notice your partner really likes to do the mixing and you like the prep work, that’s something you can use to build on in the future. You like to listen to music when cooking, your partner likes to listen to podcasts, talk about why, it’s an opportunity to learn more. 
  • It’s Productive: What I mean by productive here, is that instead of ordering out, or sitting on the couch watching TV you are together, talking, touching, and communicating. You are being productive in your relationship by interacting like this. If you aren’t together, or connecting, you are missing out on a great way to build that time and routine together.
  • It’s Healthier: Cooking meals at home is typically healthier than eating out. So, not only are you doing good work to connect in your relationship, but it is better for your health too. 
  • It’s Attractive: A lot of studies show that people across all gender identities often find cooking attractive. Your partner is working hard and creating something for the both of you, and they’re good at it. This is an attractive quality for many, if it builds positive feelings among the both of you it certainly is worth a try.

Cooking together is just one possible way to connect with your partner. It is something you are doing together instead of being in separate rooms or not talking, you are creating something together, and it is a way to just connect and doing so in a way that may feel safer than having a serious conversation while staring into each others’ eyes. It’s also something you can make a regular part of your routine without having to put too much thought into it. You can make it fun too, work together, drink some wine, put on some music and just connect. Added bonus, you have something (hopefully) delicious afterward to enjoy.

If you’re struggling with your relationship, our therapists in Chicago would love to help. Contact Symmetry Counseling for marriage counseling in Chicago.