I have to come clean with you …. I’m not a very good cook.  I think the cooking gene just isn’t part of my “23-and-me” DNA profile.  But, lately I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone and making more home cooked meals for my husband and me.

Most of the time, I follow a specific recipe – Gordon Ramsay’s pan-seared filet mignon, Master Chef winner Luca Manfe’s Sicilian meatballs, or my mother in law’s spaghetti carbonara.  To my surprise, most of those meals have turned out amazing!!  Other times, I walk into the kitchen with a very deluded sense of confidence and I’ll just start throwing ingredients together, sans recipe.  In those instances, the meals have been less Master Chef-worthy and more “you should try out for Worst Home Cooks in America” worthy.  YIKES.

The bottom line, at least for this novice chef, is that without specific measurements of essential ingredients and respect for tried-and-true cooking protocols, sometimes I unintentionally cook a cringe-worthy meal that leaves a bad taste in my husband’s mouth and sends him running for the Golden Arches.

Kind of sounds like a relationship, right?

If there’s too much criticism, emotional withdrawal, and a lack of trust in a relationship, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.  Conversely, healthy amounts of affection, emotional support, and security create a recipe for lasting romance.

With that in mind, here are my essential ingredients for making love last:

  1. Intimacy (Into-me-I-let-you-see).  I fully believe that our deepest desire as humans is to be known by another person; to be truly seen and loved despite our flaws, imperfections, and insecurities.  When romantic partners do this, they not only create a safe space to be themselves with each other, but they feel lighter, more accepted, and happier.  They take more risk and are willing to be boldly themselves, even in a world that’s trying to make them like everyone else.
  2. Emotional and Physical Affection.  Like the eggs that cook from the heat of the al dente pasta in spaghetti carbonara, without it, a relationship doesn’t have that warm feeling deep inside.  Expressing and receiving emotional and physical affection maintains the “drunk on love” (aka “honeymoon”) feelings over time.  Sadly, most couples allow this part of their relationship to fade and, as a result, the emotional connection, intimacy, and passion fade as well.
  3. A Strong Friendship. This is the melted Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheese of the spaghetti carbonara.  Without it, the relationship wouldn’t feel special or taste very good.  A strong friendship is the foundation of a strong relationship.  It prevents you from feeling like an adversary against your significant other.
  4. Relationship Security. This is the beautiful bowl from which you serve the finished Italian masterpiece.  Without commitment, trust, and emotional responsiveness, all of the above items will fail to fill you up.  You need a large bowl with no holes to be able to be intimate, emotionally and physically expressive, and build a strong friendship.

Okay… That’s a lot of pasta talk.  It’s making me hungry!!

As the old saying goes: “Always make time for the things you love” … like eating delicious food!


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