Anyone who’s been in a romantic relationship has experienced it–that new-love rush, when you can’t get enough of each other and think you’ll feel that way forever. But then marriage, jobs and kids come along and you forget all the things you used to love about each other in the first place. Like cooking a flavorful pot roast with all the sides thrown in, marriage is a marathon, not a race. Here are 10 ways marriage is like a slow cooker.
1. Don’t fill the pot too full.
Too much of anything is not a good thing. With any good dish, if you fill the pot too full it won’t cook evenly. We live in a world where everyone is in a hurry and no one takes the time to sit back and enjoy. To connect. But how can we when Joey has football practice, Janie has soccer, the dog has an ear infection, Mom has 250 cupcakes to bake for the 4th grade class and Dad can’t figure out why the car won’t start. And did I mention the dishes? The laundry? Who spilled Kool-Aid all over the floor?! Is that Bobby’s science project taking up the whole kitchen table, less than half done and due tomorrow? And oh, crap! Did I remember to pay the electric bill?
Who wins in this scenario? Not you. Not your kids. And certainly not your marriage. Whether it’s when you get home or after the kids go to bed, grab your beverage of choice, put on your favorite band and just sit with your spouse. Don’t talk. Sit together and decompress.
2. Be patient.
A watched crock pot doesn’t cook! That’s not actually true, but we live in a society of helicopter parents taking away the next generation’s ability to cope and think for themselves. Why? Because we’re the generation of I want what I want and I want it now!
It’s no secret that financial stress is the number one cause for divorce. We sacrifice our souls and Joey’s Harvard tuition (good thing he’s a football prodigy and a shoe-in for a scholarship at his second choice state school) for the perfect house in the primo school district, the top of the line mini van and the annual trip to Disney. What if we filled our slow cooker with healthier ingredients, like maximum 401k contributions, used cars and a trip to Uncle Ted’s lake house instead?
3. Don’t let things simmer too long.
Healthy (as in non-degrading or passive-aggressive) communication is an integral key to a happy marriage. If you have an issue, take only the time you need to cool down and speak rationally. But don’t let things sit too long, otherwise you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and break out the brillo pad to clean up the mess.
4. Scrub the pot.
You went to bed pissed, didn’t you? Time to ditch the brillo and reach for the power washer.
Whether it’s a minor tiff or a major row, it’s not healthy to hang on to anger. Clean up and clear the air. Don’t let yesterday’s burnt dinner flavor tomorrow’s possibilities. In other words, make like Elsa and let it all go.
5). Add spice.
There’s nothing worse than a flavorless stew. Spice is a good thing. Break out of your comfort zone and keep it interesting in the bedroom. Your Fitbit will thank you for it.
6). Different recipes call for different ingredients.
Whips and chains not your thing? Even vanilla can be very flavorful in an unexpected time at an unexpected place.
7). Avoid cross-contamination.
It’s okay to mix chicken and beef. You just have to cook it slow and introduce the meats at the appropriate time to avoid dangerous bacteria. The same is true of other outside influences to your relationship.
Whether it’s the obnoxious fraternity brother who parties with strippers or your well-meaning mother-in-law, as long as boundaries are set and followed, you can all have a seat at the table.
8). Keep the lid on.
Trash talking your spouse to your mom/best friend/hair stylist only breeds more negativity. Hubs might be less than lovable when he clips his toe nails in the bathtub or forgets to put the toilet seat down, but you’re no angel yourself. Have you forgotten that soured load of laundry you didn’t notice stunk until you kissed the kids goodbye in the carpool line? And do you really want him spilling the beans to his buddies about how he spent Saturday afternoon snaking the drain after a year’s worth of pubic hair shavings caused a clog? Your girlfriends really don’t need to know he uses socks for dual purposes. Even when we both know their husband’s do it too.
9. Not all all meats are meant to be slow cooked.
You thought you bought a brisket, designed to be juicy and tender after a long, slow process. When you got home and unwrapped the butcher paper, what you actually discovered was a filet mignon, good in certain settings but meant to be devoured after a hot and fast heat. Don’t force the recipe. Cut your losses and order pizza instead.
10). Slow and steady wins the race.
As any great chili cook knows, slow is the way to go. Not even an adrenaline junkie can survive a relationship constantly moving at warp speed. Slow isn’t necessarily synonymous with boring. When it comes to marriage, happy sustainability with frequent trips to the fridge for leftovers is the goal!
Want some delicious slow-cooker recipes to go along with your relationship advice? Click on the pictures below!