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!
Cooking is a process that extends far beyond the confines of the kitchen. Healthy, budget conscious meals require planning, shopping, ingredient preparation, the actual cooking, and cleaning. There’s a delicate rhythm to these activities and trying to synchronize them across working parents’ busy schedules makes it virtually impossible to stay on beat. Throw in busy school aged children and you have the perfect recipe for stress overload.
Instead of sharing all things food in the name of fairness, working spouses would do well to designate just one person as “the cook.” This individual would be responsible for all of the food planning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning.
Don’t be too fast to jump to conclusions.
Rather than overly burden the “cooking” spouse, the whole family stands to benefit from this kind of arrangement in a variety of ways.
A woman is being called “clueless,” after admitting that she will bring baked food items for her coworker even though he’s married and finds the ordeal uncomfortable.
“I like to cook and bake and my roommate is obsessively a healthy eater so I usually have a lot of leftovers and I always bring them to the office,” she wrote in her Reddit post.
About a year ago, another coworker, Denzel, was hired at the company she works for.
Immediately after getting hired, Denzel and her “hit it off” and became friends.
However, after a few months, the woman’s other coworkers began making jokes that she and Denzel were each other’s “work husband” and “work wife.”
She acknowledged that while Denzel is married, she finds the titles “super funny and cute,” but explained that their relationship is purely platonic and nothing has ever happened between them, though she noted that she wouldn’t be opposed to their relationship turning romantic.
Since she and Denzel were fairly good friends, she’d constantly bring him baked goods that she’d made, however, he soon stopped eating the food she’d bring him.
When she asked him about it, he told her that he and his wife were started a keto diet.
“I decided to make some keto snacks so that Denzel could still partake, so I made a batch of Keto muffins the next week,” she admitted.
After bringing Denzel the muffins, she noticed that he didn’t eat those as well, and when she asked him about it, he told her that he was trying to lose weight.
“I said he didn’t look like he needed to, but that I’d try to make some healthy snacks next time so that he could partake in my food without compromising his diet.”
He assured her that she didn’t need to go out of her way to make him food that he was able to eat, but she insisted upon it.
“I found a recipe for low-calorie Keto scones, and I made and brought those in a few days later.”
She even began sending Denzel information “regarding fitness” and “calorie-counting apps” that would keep him informed about his health.
The woman was eventually told to stop or she’d be reported to HR.
One of the woman’s other coworkers, Megan, who is friends with Denzel and his wife outside of work, pulled her aside one day to talk.
Megan told her that she needed to stop “pushing food on Denzel” because it was making him uncomfortable since it seemed as if she were interested in him.
“She threatened to report me to HR if I didn’t stop,” the woman recalled.
She was shocked at hearing Megan’s threat and tried to assure her that she was only trying to be nice to Denzel.
The woman pointed out that Megan threatening to report her to HR seemed like an “overreaction,” and wondered if she should stop baking and offering Denzel food when he doesn’t want it.
A majority of people who commented on the woman’s Reddit post agreed that she was in the wrong.
A woman who enjoys cooking gets up extra early to make her husband delicious packed lunches to take with him to work, but was surprised when his colleagues also wanted her to start preparing meals
An avid home cook was only too happy to make up packed lunches for her husband to take to work with him.
Like many other foodies, the woman, who has been married for around a year, views cooking for her spouse as being one of the ways she shows affection towards him.
The meals in question aren’t simply an old-fashioned sandwich and bag of crisps combo, and inevitably, the husband’s impressed colleagues began to take notice of his enviable lunchbox, one of whom was a manager.
Keen to get on the manager’s good side – with the hope of bagging himself a promotion – the husband went ahead and announced that she would start packing lunches for his colleagues too.
There’s just one issue. He apparently didn’t think to ask her first.
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Taking to Reddit, the exasperated wife wrote: “When he came back home and told me I was quite disappointed because even though I love making lunches for him, for his colleagues (people I don’t even know) it seemed exhausting.
“Moreover, it is not just for one person, which he initially had me believe, but rather five of his colleagues”.
Regardless, she wanted to make her husband happy, and so agreed to try it out for a day, getting up at 3:30 am – as her own shift started at 8 am – to whip up a banquet of Thai green curry, tom yum flavoured wings, prawn fritters, and Thai fried rice.
The food went down well with the appreciative co-workers, but, in the wife’s words, this was “not a pleasant experience”, leaving her rushing around and running late for work. However, her husband now wants this to become a regular thing.
“Although that may seem ‘easy’ I don’t want to do it anymore. I do like sharing the food I make but I don’t want it to feel like a chore”.
Her husband has branded her “lazy” for not wanting to do this, but she doesn’t think that’s fair. Although she liked cooking for her husband, she doesn’t want to do this for his co-workers too.
She added: “For some reason, my husband thinks I’m being unreasonable and that I don’t support him because by me doing this he believes they will be more inclined to give him a raise or a promotion or even a recommendation at work.
“I just find it pretentious that he has to depend on the food I make for a promotion. I am sure that he can get a promotion by his own merit because he is a very smart and accomplished man himself”.
One person commented: “Your husband should be grateful that you get up every day to make him lunch, and that you prepared lunch for his colleagues to make him look good.
“If he wants packed lunch for his colleagues, he needs to get up and prepare it himself. And as for the colleagues, if they want a private chef, they better pay for one. Some people mistake being nice with being an idiot”.
Another advised: “Don’t be fooled. He isn’t ‘just a foodie’. A foodie values good food. He implies that the money and work you put in is not a big deal and devalues it. He acts very ungratefully.
“Also, the thought of making it a weekly thing and then calling you lazy is not okay either. You are not lazy. He is. He could make those lunches and pay for them”.
I’m a traditional housewife and I love spending hours cooking and cleaning for my husband – I’m subservient to him, but in a ‘healthy’ way
08:54 BST 20 Feb 2023
13:48 BST 20 Feb 2023
- Estee Williams, 25, from Richmond, Virginia is ‘subservient’ to husband Conner
- The couple live according to very traditional value where she cooks and cleans
- Read more: My best friend ‘proposed’ so I could have a wedding day before I die
A self-proclaimed ‘traditional housewife’ who spends six hours a day cooking and cleaning and celebrates being subservient to her husband says it’s ‘her choice’ and ‘the way she likes it’.
Estee Williams, 25, from Richmond, Virginia, has dubbed herself a ‘trad-wife’ and spends her days tending to the home while her husband, Conner, 23, an electrician, goes to work as the family bread-winner.
But far from resembling The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Estee says she leads a ‘humble’ existence and is ‘subservient’ to her husband but ‘in a healthy biblical way’.
While Estee stays at home baking bread, cooking meals from scratch, cleaning, and learning to sew her own clothes, Conner makes a living and goes hunting for food on the weekends.
The 25-year-old, who said she takes inspiration from the Bible, added she has nothing against women who work and thinks no one should be judged for their choices.
Estee said: ‘The husband is a provider, the protector and supports the family financially, and the woman is the homemaker in my view.’
‘This is a choice my husband and I made together and I’m very happy with it. It’s very fulfilling, and it’s an honor for my husband and I to live this lifestyle.’
‘People are afraid to completely depend on a partner, but in an ideal world that’s what marriage is about.
‘I worked as a nanny until we got engaged in 2022, but I stopped because I’d always aspired to this lifestyle.
‘I’ve had tons of criticism since I started posting on social media. A lot of people think I’m taking women back to the 1950s and find it completely distasteful. But I believe nobody should be shamed for their choice.’
“Tradwife’ is a lifestyle trend which involves women adopting traditional gender roles in their marriage.
Beyond the division of gender roles, Estee and her husband’s lifestyle is steeped in tradition.
They have ‘a freezer-full’ of meat which her husband hunts with his six guns and a bow and arrow.
She wears 1950s-style clothing – choosing to don dresses rather than leggings. She also only watches television on the weekends.
Although Estee makes small purchases – such as buying coffee – without asking her husband, she said he has the final say on any big purchases including buying their house.
Estee’s Christian faith has inspired her decision to serve her husband, which she described as ‘an act of honor in the eyes of God’.
Despite online critics calling Estee ‘backwards’, she believes being a tradwife gets a ‘bad rep’ and said she and Conner are ‘equally reliant on each other’.
‘Women don’t need to do what men do to be equally important in the world,’ she said.
‘I think we can be equally important by believing in our roles.’
Estee and Conner met in 2020 and quickly realized they both longed for a traditional relationship.
‘I’ve always wanted this lifestyle but kept it to myself as I knew how people would view it,’ she said.
‘On our first date he said that more than anything, he wanted to give a woman the stay-at-home role.
‘As we began talking about the future, we developed this plan to lead a more traditional lifestyle.’
The inspiration for Estee’s lifestyle stems from her faith.
‘The bible talks about home making and a woman’s place in the world,’ she said.
‘It’s not The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, it’s a humble lifestyle.
‘Making your own bread, learning to sew, making your own clothing sometimes – it grounds you.’
For Estee, cooking is a big part of fulfilling her responsibility to her husband.
‘I spend anywhere three to five hours in the kitchen every day,’ she said.
‘It’s important that my family has home-cooked meals and to not have overly-processed foods.’
The couple also hunt their own food – including deer, doves and rabbits.
‘My husband is an avid hunter and we usually keep game meat in the freezer all year round,’ she said.
‘Our freezer is full of hunted meat. The only other thing we can fit in there other than that is a bag of frozen fruit.’
On top of cooking for her husband, Estee keeps their house looking spick and span and believes in ‘serving him completely in the home’.
‘I usually clean for one hour a day,’ she said.
‘I get everything cleaned around the house so when my husband comes home we can spend time together.
‘He doesn’t have responsibilities at home other than heavy lifting and hanging up pictures.
‘It’s important that when he comes home from work he can relax.’
But despite admitting she is subservient to her husband, she insists he doesn’t treat her ‘like a slave’.
‘I’m subservient to my husband but in a healthy biblical way,’ she said.
‘I’m happy to do all the laundry, but he doesn’t just throw his shirts on the floor.
‘He’s very respectful and will always take his plates to the sink – he doesn’t treat me like a slave.’
Besides cooking and cleaning, Estee and her husband remain very traditional in most aspects of their lives.
‘We don’t keep a TV in the living room or bedroom,’ she said.
‘We minimize usage and only watch on the weekend. If we want to watch a movie, we’ll watch on a laptop.
‘A lot of women today wear leggings the whole time – and I used to be like that.
‘But outside the house, I believe in wearing dresses that cover your body a little bit better.’
Estee said the secret to their relationship is trust.
‘A lot of people think because the division of labor is split, it’s unbalanced, but the whole thing is we are both dependent on each other,’ she said.
‘We trust each other completely and that’s why we devote ourselves to each other.
‘People think that depending on a man financially leads to domestic abuse.
‘But sadly plenty of women who go to work get abused by their husbands.’
Estee also doesn’t have any issue with women who choose to be financially independent.
‘If women want to be career-based it is completely their choice,’ she said.
‘Women fought to have the choice to work and vote.
‘But when I say I don’t want to work and want to build a home instead, I have women call me a 1950s housewife and say “you can’t do that”.
‘What happened to the choice part?
‘This is modern home making with a little vintage twist.
‘It’s not an outdated lifestyle – this lifestyle doesn’t have a date. It started in the beginning of time.’
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.
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!
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.
Fewer Opportunities for Spousal Conflicts
Grocery store out of chicken? You have to text or call your spouse and see what they want to replace it with since he or she was the one planning on cooking chicken tonight.
Husbands, how many times have you been accused of “never getting the right thing” at the grocery store?
It’s amazing how much coordination goes into putting a meal on the table. When that coordination needs to happen across two work schedules it becomes a massive headache. By designating just one spouse to be in charge of all the “food stuff,” it greatly reduces the mental gymnastics required to get dinner on the table.
This Arrangement Is Smart, Not Sexist
Contrary to popular belief, assigning just one spouse to all of the food related chores is not sexist. There is no rule that says women must be the ones to take on the role of cook; men are just as capable in the kitchen. Deciding which spouse takes on the food responsibilities could be as simple as identifying which spouse gets home earlier from work or which spouse enjoys cooking more.
As reasonable, family oriented adults it’s important to tune out the naysayers who A) discourage women from taking on traditional roles in the home simply because they’re “sexist” and B) disparage men for doing “women’s work.”
Do what’s best for you and your family, everyone else and social stereotypes be damned.
Improved Mental & Physical Health
And that doesn’t just apply to fish.
Good food in, good mood (and body) out.
When one spouse takes on the role of cook and masters producing nutritious meals for the family, everyone wins. The cooking spouse has a creative outlet and potential source of personal accomplishment (it’s a big deal making the perfect roast chicken or loaf of bread!) and everyone’s diet stands to improve.
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!
Continue growing your kitchen confidence by reading more of our how-to articles, and encourage your spouse to read them, too:
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.
Better Tasting Food & More Time for Other Things
Thanks to ample practice opportunities the cooking spouse’s skill and efficiency in the kitchen stands to improve dramatically.
(Lack of practice is one of the leading reasons why it takes people longer to prepare a dish than what a recipe calls for.)
Know what better cooking skills and efficiency result in?
Better tasting food, more varied meals, and more time for other activities.
Instead of taking 2 spouses 45 minutes to make dinner, 1 highly skilled spouse can have everything ready and in the oven in just 30 minutes. Both spouses end up with more free time to do other things and thanks to practice, the cooking spouse has perfected making the recipe. This may be a vague example but you get the point – specialization leads to a certain economy of scale.
And I mean really, who doesn’t want to eat delicious home-cooked food?
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.
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.
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.
But There Is One Caveat…
Mr. Carol the Cook and I have tried just about every permutation of work, household chore, and child rearing arrangements you can think of. In the end we’ve found that me taking on all of the cooking responsibilities (even when both us work full-time) works best for our family.
With one catch.
Mr. Carol the Cook has single-handedly shouldered a lot of other responsibilities. Like keeping the floors clean (since I really dislike vacuuming and mopping for whatever reason), all vehicle maintenance, and most of the yard work.
You see, the key to ensuring the cooking arrangement is fair is for the non-cooking spouse to take their newly found time to manage other responsibilities, not just veg out on the couch watching TV. A family is a team and each member must pull his or her own weight.
In the words of John C. Maxwell, teamwork makes the dream work.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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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.
Cooking takes a lot of time and effort and can quickly becomes relentless if you let it. It’s a lot of work to provide three meals a day, 365 days a year.
Cooking spouses can do a lot on their own to prevent meal prep burn out by taking advantage of batch cooking and freezer meals or planning the occasional dinner out. And of course the non-cooking spouse can always prepare a meal now and again as a special treat. After all it is beneficial for kids to see that both of their parents can cook (and learn that everyone should have at least basic cooking skills) even if one parent does most of the cooking.
All family members would also do well to show their appreciation for how much work goes into putting food on the table day in and day out. You want your cook to keep making delicious, healthy food, don’t you? Remember to clearly express your gratitude and say thank you!
How about you and your family, have you tried this cooking arrangement? What works best for you? Other readers and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
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