How Cooking With Your Partner Can Deepen Your Connection

Cooking is a unique task in that it is a chore, a joy, an obligation, a creative outlet, and an absolute necessity. For some, understanding the way flavors develop and textures interact is an inherent talent (via Physiology & Behavior). For others, these concepts are foreign and intimidating. Often, these two types of people end up in a relationship and decide to live together. Everyone has to eat, and eating out for every meal is not financially feasible for most households. So, why not embrace cooking as an activity you can take on together?


In 2016, FoxNews reported that 87% of adult Americans surveyed believed that cooking together is one of the best ways to strengthen a relationship. This gives weight to the age-old saying, "the couple who cooks together stays together." When you break down the elements within the act of cooking, it all makes sense. Here's exactly why you should give it a try, even if neither of you has any idea what you're doing. 

Caring for each other

Beneath the surface of presentation, seasoning, and flavor balance, food is nourishment. The building blocks of food — protein, salt, fat, sugar, water — are also the building blocks of the human body. We get the energy we need to move our bodies and use our brains from the calories in the food we consume (via Britannica). Without food, there is no survival. Cooking for someone, then, is an act of great care. It represents your desire to nourish and fuel that person. The same is true of two partners cooking a meal for and with each other.


Spending the time to cook together is a beautiful way to show that you care for one another. This is the origin of the concept of cooking with love or adding love as a secret ingredient. In many ways, to feed a person is to love and care for that person. When done intentionally, cooking is a deep form of loving expression (via Frontiers in Psychology). 

Quality time

Modern life is hectic. Schedules are packed and even time spent at home isn't necessarily quality time with the ease of interruption that comes along with email, text messaging, video chats, and side hustles. If you have children in your home who require your care, this struggle to find quality time with your partner may feel tenfold, as detailed by Healthline. No matter what else ends up being sacrificed, eating is mandatory. Teaming up to put dinner on the table each night can provide you with a guaranteed window of time in which to check in, unwind, and connect.


While you're chopping onions and your partner is peeling boiled eggs, you'll find yourself venting about your coworker who won't stop talking to you through your shared cubicle wall. They'll share with you that they discovered a new art form on YouTube that they feel compelled to try out. Without even trying, the level of intimacy within your relationship will increase (via PsychCentral). From petty complaints to serious concerns and loving affirmations, all the details of life are shared in the kitchen when cooking together becomes the norm. 

Sharing responsibilities

Ensuring that the tasks it takes to run your household are divided equitably is a task within itself and not an easy one at that. It's important to note that equitable division and equal division are two different things (via The George Washington University). An equal division of labor would look like you and your partner each working the exact same number of paid hours and then putting in the exact same quantity of unpaid household chores. An equitable division looks like both of you contributing 30% of your free time, for example, to managing household tasks.


Historically, women have carried an unfair share of the household labor, regardless of how much they work outside of the home, as explained by Berkeley's Greater Good Magazine. Cooking together means that getting food on the table is no longer a chore that needs to be divided or negotiated. Each night you choose to spend together in the kitchen is one step closer to a fair and equitable division of household labor. 

Working together

You and your partner are a team. When is the last time you worked together like one? Cooking as a team is an excellent way to learn each other's communication styles and to model assertive expression (via Lifengoal). The kitchen can provide a safe space to explore and accept your and your partner's strengths and weaknesses and use them to forge an unbeatable alliance. Rather than being upset that your partner has the knife skills to finely mince anything you can throw at them while you can barely manage a rough chop, you'll learn to embrace the fact that you're a goddess of seasoning.


Together, you'll make amazing food that neither of you would dream of attempting on your own. Sometimes, greatness takes two, and being a part of a partnership that operates like a well-oiled machine is a great confidence boost for your relationship. Soon, you'll be applying the cooperative techniques you learned in the kitchen to the other areas of life you tackle together. 

Making memories

When you think back to your warmest childhood memories of your grandparents or parents, where do they take place? Most likely, in someone's kitchen, according to Harvard University Press. If your relationship survives the test of time, the memories you and your partner someday relive will revolve around the everyday tasks you spent time completing together. That time you accidentally put a cup of salt into your collaborative chocolate chip cookies instead of a cup of sugar will go down in history as just one of many funny anecdotes traced back to your cooking together in the kitchen.


If you have children, these warm memories around food, cooking, and togetherness will be passed on to them, and then on to their children, and so on. Before you know it, you'll be the grandparents with the treasured book of recipes and secret techniques the rest of the family fights over getting their hands on. 

Trying new things

New experiences, no matter how small, stimulate the ventral striatum region of the brain and trigger the release of dopamine and other feel-good neurotransmitters (via Reuters). You might not be able to fit adventure in the form of bungee jumping, sky diving, or even camping into your routine on a regular basis, but you can cook and try new foods together. When you do so, you'll both experience a mood and energy boost that provides you with lasting positive associations with food, cooking, and each other.


Once you form a solid habit of cooking together and get familiar with each other's strengths in the kitchen, shift your focus to getting adventurous. Hit up the international aisle at the grocery store and try new and exciting ingredients. Set a goal to try a new recipe that's completely out of your wheelhouse once a week. Tie it in with a date night for bonus points, as recommended by Kitchn. Life can be as exciting as you choose to make it, even within the walls of your own kitchen. 

Creating recipes

If you're new to cooking, don't feel pressured to create your own recipes. As you and your partner learn how to work together and what you each like, experiment with a wide variety of recipes on Pinterest, from cookbooks, or from other home chefs on Pepper. As you each progress in both skill and comfort level, you'll find yourselves making more and more changes to the recipes you follow. Over time, you might find that your favorite dishes barely resemble the original recipe any longer.


Next, you'll find yourselves coming up with spinoffs of all your most loved recipes, and before you know it, you'll begin to create your own. Try your best to write them down, type them out, or record them in your voices. Someday, it will be the recipes you and your partner tweaked while discussing your workdays, future dreams, and chore lists that your grandchildren reach for when they host their very first Thanksgiving dinner.