According to a study by relationship expert Dr. John Gray, more than 70% of surveyed married couples enjoy cooking together and were significantly more satisfied in all areas of their lives than couples who don’t cook together.
We chatted with nutritionists and relationship experts to help you discover how cooking together is the perfect recipe for a stronger marriage, leading to improved physical health, stronger communication and memorable experiences.
Control the ingredients and improve your health
Without the regular practice of making meals at home from scratch, families will be less equipped to make informed food choices. So many deaths are caused from diet-related conditions like heart disease or strokes – a tragic event that can leave a spouse feeling stranded in the wake of their loved one’s passing.
To prevent these ailments, we recommend pairing an active lifestyle with a balanced diet, namely one that is low in fat.
Food Network nutrition expert Toby Amidor notes that cooking your own food can help you achieve healthier eating habits, adding that restaurant meals often have more fat and calories than you might expect. “You have more control over the ingredients and dishes when you cook at home,” she says.
Tag-team your meals and strengthen your marriage
Making meals together also teaches you to communicate and work toward a common goal, such as deciding which groceries to buy or who will perform which task in the kitchen. Nutrition coach German Lam, founder of Glam Foods, suggests couples compare kitchen ingredients to the individual gifts each partner brings to the marriage.
“In marriage, when you join together, what do you have in your ‘kitchen’ that you can make together? Those ingredients include work ethic, substance, pride and quality,” Lam says. “When you’re working together, you’re creating your creation.”
Keep in mind that “working together” can also mean dividing up responsibilities in the kitchen. If you are not interested in cooking, Amidor suggests you keep your spouse company in the kitchen and then offer to wash the dishes after.
Look forward to memorable experiences with your spouse
Relationship experts suggest couples use cooking as a way to invest in the marriage by intentionally spending time together.
“Having a special time to look forward to helps sustain good feelings and promotes positive anticipatory emotions,” says licensed marriage therapist Sharon O’Neill, author of A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage. “Such behaviour shows that the couple is making their relationship a priority.”
For example, research indicates that preparing meals as a couple significantly influences how spouses view their relationship. In Dr. Gray’s survey, 82% of couples who made meals together rated their marriage as excellent, while only 25% of couples who didn’t cook together affirmed their relationship as strongly.
“Since food is part of our everyday life, it becomes an extension of our marriage,” says Laura Cipullo, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, on how the mealtime experience can influence marital life. “Taking time to center and breathe one deep inhale/exhale before meals allows us to develop a positive relationship with food. Taking this approach to our communication with our spouses can be just as rewarding.”
This article was published with permission from Focus on the Family Malaysia. For more information, please visit or contact us.
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