Reasons Couples Argue Over Cooking, And How to Avoid Them

“I want you to want to do the dishes.”

If you’ve seen the movie The Break-Up (2006) starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, you know just how hilarious this statement is.

Cooking can be a great way to spend time together as a couple, but many common issues that start in the kitchen can cause flare-ups in any relationship, including:

Leaving a mess behind.

There are two types of cooks in the world: those who simultaneously clean up while they prepare a meal, and those who leave the kitchen looking like it was hit by a tornado by the time the meal is served. Whichever type you are, acknowledging the different approaches to cooking is key. Try to help out, get out of the way, or maybe a little of both. As long as the cleaning gets done in the end, that’s what matters.

Imbalanced responsibilities. 

Feeding your family can be a lot of hard work. Meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up can add stress to an already time-strapped schedule. Balancing responsibilities when it comes to these tasks can help alleviate this and ensure each partner has a chance to contribute.

Do you loathe battling the crowds at the grocery store? Maybe your partner enjoys getting the steps in. If one partner shops, perhaps the other can put the groceries away. Or, one partner might take over grocery and cooking responsibilities entirely in exchange for other responsibilities around the house (such as getting the kids ready for bed or yardwork). Find the unique balance that works for your relationship, but remember balance means “an even distribution of weight.”

Spending too much money on groceries. 

Budgeting is hard, and eating healthy on a budget is even more challenging. How much was that jar of organic almond butter? Take advantage of coupon and reward programs and check the weekly sales sections. Look above or below eye-level items on the shelves to find better prices. Cook batches of meals to help make the most of what you buy, while also providing leftovers for easy lunches.

Remember, produce that’s not in season will be more expensive. A visit to your community farmers market can go a long way in saving on local, fresh produce. In addition, you might find it saves to buy certain items in bulk (think paper products, pet food) at wholesale stores once a month, instead of weekly.

Eating out too often.

It’s Thursday night. You’ve got a fridge full of groceries but nothing sounds appealing. You’re exhausted and just want to go out and be served an over-sized, sodium-loaded fast casual meal somewhere. We’ve all been there. Just remember portion control!

In addition to budgeting for groceries, set a budget for how much money should be spent dining out each month, week, or whatever works for you. Setting spending alerts on your debit or credit cards can help keep you on track with your goals. Or, try making a healthier version of your favorite dishes at home.

Do any of these sound familiar? Share your advice with others by leaving a comment below.

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Photo credit: Dan Phiffer

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