personal essay

He Cooks, I Clean — It’s Our Love Language

published Feb 13, 2023
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Although our second wedding anniversary isn’t until November, my husband Dave and I will be celebrating a decade together on Valentine’s Day. Throughout the last 10 years, we have evolved our love languages in the same way we’ve evolved as a couple and as individuals. In this time, we’ve learned how to express love in meaningful ways that not only bring us closer together, but also make our daily domestic routine a breeze to navigate. 

Understanding the Five Love Languages, a concept and book by author and pastor Gary Chapman, means understanding the ways in which people like to accept and give love. In romantic relationships, knowing your partner’s love language makes it easier to recognize each other’s needs and wants, and makes the little moments of everyday life worth a greater appreciation.

Since moving in together five years ago, both of our preferred love languages to receive and express love have been “acts of service” and “quality time.” Because of Dave’s experience in the restaurant industry combined with his personal passion for cooking, he has taken on the role of the home chef. Lucky for me, Dave not only loves to cook, but also is excellent at it. On the other hand, my connection to cleaning, along with my own persistence for perfectionism, has made me the housekeeper. Despite fulfilling these necessary roles or chores, cooking and cleaning are ways in which Dave and I can remind ourselves daily how much we love each other and the labor, both mental and physical, we’re willing to put in to speak each other’s love languages.

“More than the act of cooking itself, I enjoy the nice meal and conversation we get to have together,” says Dave. “And not only is choosing recipes together a way to simplify my task, but it also helps the outcome be more comforting and gratifying.”

For me, cleaning means that we both get to bask in the peacefulness of a decluttered space so we can spend more quality time together watching a movie, playing with our dog, or just continuing our dinner conversation over a glass of wine. While our 50/50 dynamic of cooking and cleaning is definitely helpful (I never have to worry about what I need to cook for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and Dave never has to worry about cleaning after he cooks even the messiest meal), it has become a significant way in which we show love and feel loved.