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11 People Reveal Why They Chose To Get Married

Marriage: /ˈmarɪdʒ/

Noun | the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship (historically and in some jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman).

I am a happily married woman and I have many happily married friends. Recently I started thinking about why people choose to get married. Do we do it because this is just what people do? Has society convinced us that marriage is something we need to do? Is “being in love” a good enough reason to choose to marry someone?

So, I did some research and got some real life humans to tell me why they chose to get married. I think you might find this interesting. Read to the end to see why I chose to get married.

Related: 3 Things People Don’t Tell You About Marriage

Why do people choose to get married?

– As it’s God design and to have children, creating a family. Gods family!

– A public declaration of your love for each other and a life commitment to one another. And to start your life together officially.

– I wanted to travel and work abroad with my partner and we were required to be married in order to obtain the right visas to work and travel freely together… and in the spirit that we were already in a long term committed relationship with the knowledge that we want to travel and build a life together.

Beverly Clark: “We need a witness to our lives. There are 8 billion people on the planet … I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything — the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things … all of it, all the time, every day. You’re saying, ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.’”

– We got married cos we both wanted to start a family and we wanted our children to grow up in a stable, loving home with parents that are happily married. And of course we got married cos we loved each other.

– The older (outdated) opinion that it is expected of you by society to reach certain goals and achievements such as educational degree, marriage, children to say you have lived an ‘accomplished life’.

– Marriage is about a commitment to each other perhaps just in your hearts…not written into any legal paper…… a wedding now that’s quite different……..something to ponder!!??

– We got married because we loved each other and because we believe marriage is God’s design (not society’s) and we felt ready to commit to that and each others’ purpose in life and helping each other get closer to fulfilling that purpose and become closer to God through His design of marriage, commitment and intimacy. (It seems a lot of people say that marriage is expected from society or you need to get married in order to start a proper family – that was not our motivation!)

– We got married to celebrate our love for each other and make a tangible promise do life together. That tangible promise to someone else both feels wonderful in the good times and might help in the bad times – when relationship motivation is low you have a reason to keep trying and keep working: you made a promise. And then we had a wedding so we could celebrate with all the people we love the most in the world and bring them together in one place. Our families got to know each other a bit better and being able to share our story and special day with all our fabourite people was wonderful (sharing good news is almost as exciting as getting good news). Love should be celebrated!

– To honour God, honour family tradition, honour eachother and have SEX as God intended us to.

– We loved each other. I had refused to move in together without at least being engaged… (He moved up from KZN for me) We realised that if we stayed engaged too long, it might just stay that way forever. (Also, we weren’t too thrilled with “living in sin”).

BONUS: This is why I chose to get married:

Firstly, I love my partner, Glen, very much. I can’t imagine not doing life with him and I wanted to officially do life with him by making a formal commitment to him in the eyes of God, our families and the state. I also believe that our individual effect on the world isn’t as great as our combined effort. We work better as a team and I want to formally honour that. Marriage is a gift from God and I’m happy I chose it!

What do YOU think? Leave a comment and tell me why you are choosing marriage.

Getting married soon and want to know more about this incredible journey you’re about to begin? Join us for a Marriage Preparation and Date Night event in Cape Town.

Most couples spend hours and hours planning their wedding and often forget to prepare for the most important journey they are about to begin: marriage. This marriage preparation event is designed to provide you with important tools that will build a strong, loving and fulfilling marriage.

Guest speakers, Phil and Dale Hartmann, have been happily married for over 37 years and have been running a marriage preparation course from their home. These two experts will teach you how to communicate effectively and resolve conflict in a way that brings you closer together.

In addition, you’ll be receiving some helpful and practical advice on marriage contracts from our friends at Gunstons.

Event details:

Monday 28 August

17:30 for 18:00

Sostanza, Lakeside

Three course meal and beverages included.

For more information, please fill in the form below:

3 Things People Don’t Tell You About Marriage

Marriage is a wonderful, messy, beautiful thing. I have been happily married for just over two years, so I don’t consider myself to be an expert at all. The more I learn, the more I realize I know nothing.

The day I got married, I made some really important promises to my husband in front of everyone we know and love, and before God. I didn’t fully understand what I was promising to do or to be, and the more time I spend learning to be a better wife, the more I realize just how significant those promises are.

Marriage won’t make you happy

If you are unhappy before you get married, you will be unhappy in your marriage. If you are lonely, insecure, anxious or selfish, those things won’t change just because you’re married.

This may come as a shock to some, but you aren’t getting married so you can be happy. And if you are, you’re in for a surprise.

Tyler Ward from Relevant Magazine says it best:

“I’m intensely certain that nothing in life has ever made me more angry, frustrated or annoyed than my wife. Inevitably, just when I think I’ve given all I can possibly give, she somehow finds a way to ask for more. 

The worst part of it all is that her demands aren’t unreasonable. One day she expects me to stay emotionally engaged. The next, she’s looking for me to validate the way that she feels. The list goes on – but never ventures far from things she perfectly well deserves as a wife.”

Something I am slowly learning is to put my husband’s needs before my own. It’s not easy. Sometimes it’s really hard and I am reminded of how selfish I am. But it is so rewarding. It’s funny how serving someone else without expecting anything in return is so satisfying.

There is no Plan B

In marriage, you are stuck with each other forever. Till death. That sounds pretty dark, but it is beautiful. When there is no Plan B, you’re telling someone that no matter how much they fail you and hurt you, they are stuck with you. There is nothing your person can do to scare you.

Wrapping your mind around the fact that you are committing to a lifetime of loving, serving and doing life with the same person means never uttering the “d” word. It means you don’t say or do things that will damage the marriage you should be striving to protect.

Those vows you will share on your wedding day are really important. You are committing to make your marriage work no matter what.

If your spouse doesn’t make you happy anymore, Plan B means that someone else might. In marriage, Plan B prevents you from fully committing to one another with everything you are.

Conflict doesn’t mean things are bad

In every relationship, there will be conflict. Conflict is inevitable and it’s normal.

For some reason we put marriage into a different category. When conflict arises and couples begin to argue, we start to think something might be wrong. We start to think that our marriage might be dysfunctional.

The truth is, conflict happens. It’s how we handle conflict that makes the difference. It’s totally possible to handle conflict in a way that honours each other and works towards a common goal.

When you know that conflict is normal, you’ll be slow to anger and quick to forgive. You’ll aim to be the first person to say sorry.

Getting married soon? You’ve probably already spent hours planning your wedding day, and now it’s time to start preparing for marriage. This marriage preparation event is designed to provide you with important tools that will build a strong, loving and fulfilling marriage.

Guest speakers, Phil and Dale Hartmann, have been happily married for over 37 years and have been running a marriage preparation course from their home. These two experts will teach you how to communicate effectively and resolve conflict in a way that brings you closer together.

In addition, you’ll be receiving some helpful and practical advice on marriage contracts from our friends at Gunstons.

Event details:

Monday 28 August

17:30 for 18:00

Sostanza, Lakeside

Three course meal and beverages included.

For more information, please fill in the form below:

10 Harmless Habits That Could Destroy Your Marriage

It’s no secret that marriage is not all sunshine and rainbows. There will be beautiful, romantic moments, and there will be difficult, testing moments. I don’t consider myself to be an expert on marriage, but I do know that it takes work, and it’s so worth it. Recognizing how we can better honour our spouses is huge!

Heard of The Five Love Languages? Find out what your love language is by taking the quiz.

Habits That Could Destroy Your Marriage

1. Avoiding conflict

Fights happen. This is part of married life. You are two humans living together, and you are bound to argue about something. Avoiding conflict is never a healthy thing. Learning how to resolve conflict immediately helps to foster a loving environment in the home.

2. Resentment

Resentment is what happens when conflict is avoided or not handled properly. “Ugh, this isn’t worth the conversation” is a cop-out, and it’s probably going to lead to negative feelings towards your spouse. It’s easy to think “You did this thing to me, and I’ll never get over it”, but you actually need to resolve conflict, forgive and move on.

3. Criticism

You know that awful feeling you have when your boss constantly points out the things you do wrong? Imagine making your spouse feel that way. Not pretty. Nitpicking (out loud or in your head) will make you only see your partner’s faults, when you should be learning to grow in compassion.

4. Fighting to win

Resolving conflict isn’t about winning the fight. If one of you “wins”, nobody wins. Conflict resolution in marriage is all about team work and an “Us against the world” mentality. Focusing on “being right” and not resolving the issue won’t make the situation right.

5. Pride and selfishness

It’s alright to be the first one to say “sorry”, even if you don’t think you started the fight. Learn to put your pride aside for the sake of the one you love.

6. Unforgiveness

You know the principle “Love keeps no record of wrong”? Your spouse is going to offend you, and you’ve got to forgive and move on.

7. Disrespect

Never ever ever disrespect your spouse. In private and in public, your job is to make your spouse look like a hero. Couples who tease each other often carry subtext underlying the teasing, and this isn’t a good way to speak of your spouse.

8. Busyness

Stop blaming your busyness and start prioritising date nights and other activities that foster intimacy.

9. Addiction to anything

Putting your shopping habit or favourite TV show ahead of your spouse? This isn’t healthy for you or your marriage.

10. Commenting on the attractiveness of others

Even the most beautiful model in the world would hate to hear her husband commenting on other women. Make the effort to praise your spouse solely.

I’ve said these habits are harmless, because they won’t kill you, but if you don’t change them, you could destroy your marriage. Make the effort to create a loving environment in your marriage.

Related: This Is Why I Don’t Laugh At Marriage Jokes

Related: 7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge

This Is Why I Don’t Laugh At Marriage Jokes

This post is a little different to the things I typically write about (how to plan your wedding and how to be an epic wife), but it’s been on my heart for a while now. In the two short years I’ve been married, I’ve heard a lot of jokes about marriage. Most of these jokes were shared in the context of a wedding (crazy, right?).

If this is the first time you’ve thought about it, I’d like to share with you why I think we should take marriage more seriously and stop joking about it [and how we can start speaking about marriage in a better way].

Photo credit: Hayley Takes Photos

Weddings are a celebration of marriage

As a former wedding coordinator I’ve heard my fair share of marriage jokes shared in wedding speeches. Here’s one that really makes me cringe:

Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need is two hearts and a diamond, but in the end you’ll wish you had a club and a spade. 

I see what you did there, but I really don’t think that’s funny. Jokes like this teach us that the happiest day of your life is your wedding day, and that afterwards it’s all downhill. We learn that spouses should come to resent each other to the point of wanting to hit each other over the head with a club. Sound pretty? Not really.

If you are tasked with the job of MCing a wedding or delivering a wedding speech, please do us all a favour and avoid tasteless wedding jokes. You are not speaking at a 21st, so don’t think of this as the perfect time to roast your best friend. Use this as an opportunity to honour your friend, to share lighthearted (and funny) stories that make him or her look great. If you are married, tell the bride and groom how much they have to look forward to. Encourage them that marriage is a beautiful thing.

Related: How To Choose Your Wedding MC

Mutual submission is beautiful

Hear me out. I consider myself to be a bit of a feminist. I believe household chores should be shared. I believe that women are strong and often shushed. My husband brings this out of me and encourages me to speak my mind, and its awesome. That said, I also believe in submission. Mutual submission.

This is my all time worst wedding joke and I’ve heard it many times:

New husband, put your hand on top of your new wife’s hand. Take this moment in and remember it forever, because this is the last time you’ll have the upper hand. 

Essentially what you are saying is that your friend’s wife is going to boss him around and nag him all the time. Jokes like this feed the lie that we’ve been told by the media: wives run the household and tell their husbands what to do. In return, husbands resent their wives for taking control. Sound like a lovely picture of marriage? Nope. But this is what we’re constantly sold in movies and TV shows, and now in wedding speeches.

Mutual submission is about trusting each other. I trust my husband with my life, my finances, my heart and my future children. I don’t feel the need to nag him and boss him around, because I trust him to do a good job. He shouldn’t have to feel like I have the “upper hand”, because that is not what marriage is about.

Related: How To Write A Winning Wedding Speech

Spouses should honour one another in private and in public

Friends, you will not hear me joking about my husband and moaning about him. You won’t hear stories about his embarrassing habits and you won’t hear me mocking him in any way. Why? Because he’s my husband and best friend and I simply won’t dishonour him.

To my unmarried friends: don’t encourage your married friend to complain about her husband. This is never okay.

Your husband should never be the butt of your jokes. Ever. Instead of joking about him, find ways to praise him in front of other people.

Related: 7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge

To help you out, here are a few ways you can speak of marriage and spouses in a way that honours and cherishes them:

  1. Tell your unmarried friends how beautiful marriage is. Married friends, share stories about the blessing of marriage.
  2. Be wise about who you confide in. Maybe a friend could provide a fresh perspective on something specific, but that can be discussed without publicly flogging your partner. Choose someone you trust before entering into a conversation like this.
  3. Spend time with people who already honour each other in marriage,  and their habits will rub off on you.

Related: Get to Know Your Partner’s Love Language

Related: Nine Prayers To Pray For Your Husband

7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge

Hi friends. Today I’d like to invite you to join me in experiencing a 7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge. Below, you’ll see seven simple things you can do to demonstrate selfless, Christlike love to your partner. These are things that ultimately, you’ll want to do more even when the challenge is over.

Perhaps you’re going through a tough time and you’re finding it difficult to love your partner. Maybe you’ve been together for so long that things have gotten a little stale and you feel like you’re craving more romance. Or maybe you think you’re doing a great job of loving each other but you want to take things to a new level of selflessness. Regardless of where you’re at, it’s possible to soften your heart even more, and to show deeper love.

Side note: This is a challenge for you! Don’t tell your partner you’re taking part in this, because that defeats the purpose of it all. Just follow the steps and start to serve your partner more selflessly, without asking for anything in return. Don’t use this as an opportunity to invite your partner to join in so that he/she can learn to serve you better. You’re here to learn to serve. There’s something so significant about having a servant heart and it’s something I’m working on!

You’ll love this: Get to Know Your Partner’s Love Language

Day 1: Thank him for something specific

1 Cor 1:4 “I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.”

There are so many verses about the importance of being thankful. There is a direct link between being thankful and being joyful. Yes, most of the scriptures are talking about being thankful to God, but the principle is still the same. Being thankful for things your partner does for you, for who he is, and for the fact that he is in your life, will generate an attitude of being grateful.

Today, make a point of thanking your partner for something specific.

“Thank you for making me coffee today. I really appreciate it!”

“I’m so glad we got to spend the evening together. Thank you for spending quality time with me.”

Day 2: Pray for him

James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

When you pray, God hears you. Your prayers never fall on deaf ears, so today I want to encourage you to spend some time praying for your partner. You don’t have to pray with your partner, but rather do this during your own quality time with God. Not only will God hear you, but your heart will be softened towards your partner.

This list will help you: Nine Prayers to Pray for Your Husband

Day 3: Leave him a note

Prov 12:25 “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” 

Write a note that you can slip into your partner’s work suitcase, his pocket, his favourite book or onto his pillow. Leave it as a surprise that will cheer him up and put a smile on his face. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what to write, but don’t overthink it. If you aren’t usually a letter-writing person, keep it simple and just write something that your partner will appreciate.

Day 4: Hug him

1 Cor 7:3 “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due to her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.”

Hugs are great. Men, in particular, love to be shown physical affection. So, today, make a point of hugging him three times for no reason at all. If you don’t usually do this, it will catch him off guard and make him feel awesome. That’s the point, right? To make him feel so loved!

Day 5: Go a whole day without correcting him

Eph 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Today, don’t nag him about things he hasn’t done. Don’t moan about the pile of socks he’s left on the bathroom floor or the fact that the you had the put the toilet seat down. Don’t get irritated that he was five minutes late and you had to wait for him. Think of today as an exercise in grace.

Day 6: Honour him in front of other people

Rom 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour.”

There are plenty of ways to honour your partner in public. Pick a way that he will appreciate. A Facebook status, a cute Instagram picture, or a simple “Wow, Glen is such a talented musician” in front of his friends. Make a point of honouring him in front of other people today.

Day 7: Plan a date that he will love

Prov 11:25 “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”

When planning a date, think of things your partner will love. His favourite meal or drink, an outdoor hike, a visit to his favourite coffee shop. Make a point of keeping your phone packed away in your handbag so you can have quality time together. The date doesn’t have to cost you anything, but it should give you an opportunity to give your partner your undivided attention.

Here are some more date ideas: Date Ideas

Every day: Say “I love you”

To help you keep track of the 7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge, download the image below and save it on your phone:

This challenge is meant to encourage us to be more selfless for more than just these 7 days. I hope and pray that we are all inspired to love in a more deep and selfless way, and that this challenge overflows into a longlasting attitude of servanthood.

I’d love to hear how this 7 day challenge has enriched your relationship, so please get in touch and tell me about it! You can leave a comment below, or you can connect with me via email. If you click right over here and you’ll also get some awesome free printables right in your inbox.

Our Anniversary Dinner at Chef’s Warehouse

Last week, Glen and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. We went on a weekend cruise, which technically wasn’t an anniversary celebration because Glen was invited to perform on the ship. You can read about that in this blog post and check out our cruise photos.

We got back from the cruise and the sea sickness kicked in! We spent our actual anniversary sleeping, watching series and feeling tired and sick. The following day, we ventured outside to experience the greatest food experience of our lives. Hello Chef’s Warehouse!

Before we dig in, you should know that the head chef of Chef’s Warehouse is Ivor Jones, who used to be the head chef of The Test Kitchen. We had really high expectations, because Ivor and The Test Kitchen both have a reputation for creating some of the most incredible food experiences.

Chef’s Warehouse is situated among the vineyards of Beau Constantia, just a short drive from our house. It was easy to find, and we were greeted by the security guards, who helped us find a good parking spot. The very first thing we noticed was the amazing view of the night sky and the city. I wanted to take a photo, but you have to see the view for yourself. Photos don’t show off the entirety of this spectacular view.

We walked into the cozy restaurant and we were greeted by a friendly waiter who showed us to our little table. Something I loved about Chef’s Warehouse was that the kitchen is visible. You can watch Ivor and his team preparing food and plating their dishes. I love knowing what’s going on in the kitchen!

Our waitress came over to greet us and she explained how the menu works. Chef’s Warehouse is known for their “Tapas for 2” shared meal, and that’s exactly what we wanted. There’s nothing more romantic than sharing food with someone you love.

In addition to the “Tapas for 2”, we chose to order a bread and butter platter, and Ivor so generously sent over a complimentary platter of Oysters. The menu described the platter as “Oysters with Flavours from the Garden”. This was my first oyster experience and I probably won’t order them anywhere else, because I know they won’t taste nearly as good as these did.

The “Tapas for 2” is a set menu, served in three courses.

Course 1:

Linefish Sashimi with Lemon Achar, Buttermilk Dressing, Toasted Garlic and Smoked Paprika Oil.

Coal Seared Tuna, Hand Chopped Baba Ganoush, Parsley Dressing.

Seared Blesbok Rump, Whipped Ricotta, Pickled Daikon Salad and Kataifi.

Course 2:

Celeriac Risotto, Pickled and Fire Roasted Celeriac, and Hazelnut Beurre Noisette.

Slow Cooked Egg Yolk, Miso and Butter Poached Mushrooms and Brioche Soldiers.

Course 3:

Grilled Kingklip, Cape Malay Dressing and Tempura Mussels.

Roast Pork Belly, Spiced Sour Cabbage and a Coconut Salad.

Persian Spice Lamb Rib, Spiced Yoghurt, Chickpea Salad and Lamb Jus.

Excuse the blurry photo. Clearly we were excited to eat!

In addition to the amazing starter, bread and butter platter, and the three course tapas menu, we decided to order dessert. Our choice: Wild Honey and Lavender Creme, Honeycomb and Smoke Cassia Bark Ice Cream.

We seriously recommend Chef’s Warehouse for a date night or anniversary celebration. The food is absolutely amazing. We couldn’t choose which dish was our favourite because they were all delicious and full of flavour. This has been the food highlight of the year for us and we can’t wait to be back.

Open for Lunch Tuesday to Sunday from 12h00 – 14h30 (Kitchen Closes)  |  Open for Dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 17h00 to 20h00 (Kitchen Closes)  |  Closed on Sunday Evenings, Mondays, Christmas Eve & Day, Boxing day, New Years Day and Good Friday  |   GPS: S 34°0’ 48.57” | E 018° 24’ 21.67”  |  Maximum of 8 guests for Restaurant Reservations, no more than that will be accepted.

Reservations: +27 21 794 8632  ext.1 | Emailcw@beauconstantia.com 

Nine Prayers to Pray for Your Husband

I fully believe in the power of prayer. I’ve seen God answer prayers, even silly ones, and it is because of His faithfulness that I can pray to the Creator for myself and for my husband. Believe it or not, as godly women, we have a responsibility to pray for our husbands.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16

Running out of ways to pray for the man you love? Here’s a list of scriptures you can pray over your husband:

Pray for his relationship with God

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23

Pray for his role as the head of the home

But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. – 1 Corinthians 11:3

Pray for his ability to love you deeply

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. – 1 Peter 3:7

Pray that your husband would make wise choices

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. – Galatians 5:13-15

Pray for your husband’s mind

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:1-2

Pray for your husband’s role at work

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:58

Pray that your husband would rely on God when he is stressed

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Pray for your husband’s power to resist sexual temptation

I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me. – Song of Songs 7:10

Pray that you will treat your husband with grace, kindness and respect

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. – Proverbs 31:11-12

This Valentine’s Day are you heart-eyed or forever-alone? Here’s what you should cook.

If you’re going to spend Valentine’s Day with a special someone – woohoo, I’m happy for you. May I suggest you consider eating a special meal at home rather that fighting your way into a terribly clichéd, overpriced and crowded restaurant? I have a menu and recipes for you down below.

If you’re going to spend Valentine’s Day alone with your own awesome self, you have three options: 1: Make the heart-eyed menu and eat it all yourself. You’ll probably hate yourself, but there are worse things than eating fantastic food alone. Just keep your tears out of the pavlova, else it will go soggy. 2: Make the heart-eyed menu and invite some platonic friends over. You could have a ro-tic evening (you know, romantic without the man) and watch chick flicks. Or (this is what I’ll be doing) 3: make the forever-alone menu below. It’s the perfect “I can eat whatever I feel like eating” meal. I recommend you pair it with either About Time if you want a great love story movie or The Martian if you want “I don’t need anyone because I’m awesome enough to survive anything”.

Heart-eyed Menu

Here are my criteria for a good Valentine’s Day recipe:

  • It should be prepared in advance.
  • It should be so delicious it makes you groan. You know, that “umhmh, so good” as you take mouthful after mouthful.
  • It should have that special something, either in terms of presentation or awesomeness of the dish, or both.

This is the menu I’d put together for a couple adventurous enough to try something slightly unusual:

Starter: Bacon-wrapped dates, stuffed with goats cheese (ahem, no pun intended)

Main: Lebanese-style stuffed eggplant

Dessert: “I’m in love with this chocolate pavlova”

 

Recipes

Bacon-wrapped dates, stuffed with goats cheese, from Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine (Zondervan, 2013).

Recipe online here. As Shauna writes “Bacon-wrapped dates? More like bacon-wrapped clouds of heaven!” They are the perfect combination of salty, sweet, gooey and crispy.

For 2 people maybe you should halve the recipe? But my cousin Paula and I once ate an entire batch, just saying…

Let me give you some South African translations:
– 8oz is 226g of pitted dates.
– 4oz is 113g of goats cheese. Get soft goats cheese like this. And don’t be shy, it just tastes like a smooth, soft, slightly crumbly cheese. Not goat-y at all.
– 16oz is 450g of bacon. I’d get streaky, because imo it’s the most like typical American bacon.
– Bake at 205°C.

 

Lebanese-style stuffed eggplant, from Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen

Here’s the recipe. I suggest you halve the recipe for two hungry people (i.e. 3 eggplants and 1/4 cup rice etc.)

Some South African translations:
– You’re looking for the small eggplants / aubergines / brinjals we often get – about 13 to 15 cm long.
– In place of the 1 cup of chicken stock I’d use 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of chicken stock powder (or equivalent. Be careful of chicken stock cubes, they are super salty, so use about ¼).
– The tin of chopped/diced tomatoes the recipe tells you to use is the standard 410g one we get. So use half if you are halving the recipe
– Full quantity “ground beef chuck” is 340g of beef mince. Remember to use 170g if half quantity.
– Ground allspice is possible to get. I got mine from Woolworths. It’s worth looking for, because it really gives the recipe the perfect flavour. But this recipe does use very little, so I’d understand if you pass on it. I suggest ground cumin as a replacement.
– Don’t have a melon-baller? A spoon will work, just be careful. Or make hollowed-out boats instead.
– Attaching the eggplant tops back on with a toothpick makes them look like they have little hats on.

 

“I’m in love with this chocolate pavlova” from Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen

Recipe here. Seriously, go read her writing. She’s awesome.

You should 1/3 this recipe for 2 people (so 2 egg whites). Even so, you’ll have a lot of dessert!

Never separated eggs before? Here’s the traditional way or the life-hack way. Just make sure there is no yolk in your whites, else they won’t fluff properly.  

Some South African translations:
– Granulated sugar is ordinary white sugar.
– Semi- or bittersweet-chocolate is dark chocolate or extra dark chocolate. I’d use Albany Dark.
– Heavy cream is cream for whipping. Don’t get pouring cream or the cream that foams out of a can.
– 350°F is 180°C. When the pavlova goes in drop it down to 150°C (that’s 300°F).
– Parchment paper is baking paper (find it with the tinfoil at the shops). It will make serving your pavlova happy rather than chipping-it-off-the-tray-sad. Don’t get wax paper, because wax on pavlova isn’t yummy.
– If you are one-thirding the recipe you should make a circle a bit smaller than 22cm (9in). It will spread, probably not quite as far as 30cm (12in) across.
– To serve, she means invert the pavlova to peel off the parchment, and then flip it right way up to serve, obviously.

 

Forever-alone Menu


My criteria for the perfect alone-meal:

  • Cook whatever I want
  • Eat it all
  • No one to judge me if it’s all carbs

Here’s the menu I’d suggest:

Starter: Why waste time with a starter? Spaghetti is waiting for you
Main: “Just me and a bowl of pasta” spaghetti with caramelised onions
Dessert: “I’m going to eat this all myself just because I can” pizookie

Recipes

“Just me and a bowl of pasta” spaghetti with caramelised onions. Adapted from Andy Ward from Dinner: A Love Story.

Follow the recipe for Cacio e Pepe here, but after melting the butter and olive oil you must caramelise some onions:

Slice 1 or 2 large onions thickly (they cook down a lot, so I’d go with 2, because caramelised onions are everything). Sauté them over medium heat until deep brown, softened and sweet.

It will take about 45 minutes, but you’ve got time – you aren’t going anywhere tonight.

Just keep stirring them every now and again, and sprinkle with salt half way through.

Then proceed with the Cacio e Pepe recipe.

 

“I’m going to eat this all myself just because I can” pizookie

A pizookie is a deep dish chocolate chip cookie, served slightly undercooked and gooey, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. We’re making a single-serving size, and you’re going to eat the whole thing. You’re welcome.

Recipe here.

Some South African translations:
– We usually get salted butter here, so use that and skip the pinch of salt.
– Granulated sugar is ordinary white sugar
– Baking soda is bicarbonate of soda
– Semi-sweet chocolate is dark chocolate. I’d use a slab of Albany Dark chocolate, chopped.
– 375°F is 190°C.
– 6 oz ramekin is a little, oven-safe, round dish about 9cm across. If you don’t have something similar, an oven-safe mug would work. Or use a mug and cook it in the microwave; it will probably work fine. I’d estimate about 1 min cooking time in the microwave, but keep an eye on it and go longer or shorter.

 

I hope that your Valentine’s Day contains some really good food, whether or not there is a significant other there with you!


If you cook one of these recipes, tag me in the photo on IG (@homemadecookza) or share it on The Homemade Cook Facebook page. I’ll give you a round of applause!!

If these recipes seem like gibberish to you or if you feel like you don’t have the skills to even attempt them, you should probably sign up for the online cooking course I’ve made. It’s for beginner cooks (read: non-cooks), zero previous knowledge required. Next courses start on Monday 13 Feb 2017 – just a few days!


MORE INFO: https://goo.gl/co3kmL
EMAIL me with questions: megan@thehomemadecook.co.za
SIGN UP NOW: https://goo.gl/Jp7w3a 

An introvert who loves people, Megan needs time alone to stay sane and time being hospitable to stay happy. She’s happiest when she has a group of people crammed into her little flat and is making food for them. She can’t live without pasta (and butter, and parmesan cheese), her journals (yes, plural), her sisters (they live nearby and are her closest friends) and trees.

 

What’s the difference between spending time together and having quality time together?

Today, Glen and I are celebrating seven wonderful years of being a couple. He asked me to be his girlfriend on 24 October 2009 and since then I’ve upgraded to “wife” status and I couldn’t be happier.

We are by no means relationship experts, but we’ve figured out a few things that work for us and help us to love each other and demonstrate our love better. We’ve always known that romance doesn’t always come easy and sometimes it takes more work than other times. Sometimes we have to make a little extra effort to show our appreciation and it is totally worth it.

are-you-spending-quality-time-together

Glen and I both work from home so we get to spend a lot of time together. We pretty much spend 95% of our time together and we aren’t sick of each other. However, because we spend so much time together we can easily be tricked into thinking we’ve had loads of quality time together. But really, how much of our time together is quality time? We often have to evaluate how much of our time has been spent watching TV and just doing things in the same room.

Think about how much time you spend doing things with your partner where you are both facing the same direction. Watching TV, playing Playstation, and driving in the car. Now, I will say that there is a time and a place for doing things together that allow you to both “switch off”. After a long day of working hard and being exhausted, it is totally okay (and sometimes necessary) to watch TV and just veg on the couch. Being able to do nothing together is a sign that you are completely comfortable together and you don’t have to be entertaining one another in order to relax.

We will continue to switch off together because it’s something we enjoy. During our lunch break we watch MasterChef Australia and we love it. It makes us cook better and we find ourselves emotionally invested in a stranger’s food journey. We like it and I know a lot of other people who do too. I’m not telling you to stop watching TV together, because I’m sure as heck not willing to make that sacrifice.

So, something we have implemented is quality face-to-face time. Every day, we try to spend at least an hour together where we are facing each other. This is a great time to make a cup of coffee and chat, to bring out our favourite board game or to read to each other.

We’re also making more of an effort to sit on the same couch. Our lounge is laid out in such a way that we could each have our own couch that faces the TV. It’s pretty comfortable, but it makes it really easy to each be doing our own thing in the same room. So, now when we watch TV we try to sit on the same couch. It’s more of a squash, but it’s totally worth it. I’m not a huge cuddler but I do like to be close to my husband, and sitting on the same couch allows me to do that.

Here’s my challenge to you: this week, find an activity that you can do with your partner where you are facing each other. Make a point of getting at least 15 minutes of face-to-face quality time together. You don’t have to have deep conversations. You just have to be looking at each other.

Get to know your partner’s love language

There is something really special about learning how to show love to someone in a way that really resonates with them. People require different things to feel loved and the goal for today’s blog post is to help you understand what makes your partner feel loved and cherished. Saying “I love you” is super important and you should do it every day, and you should back it up with your actions too!

Get to know your partner's love language

There is a really great book called The Five Love Languages that explores this concept. If you’ve never heard of this before, these are the five love languages:

Touch – A person who values physical touch isn’t only concerned with that happens in the bedroom. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder or face are ways of showing care and love. Neglect or abuse is destructive, so focus on offering physical touch that creates a sense of security in your relationship.

Words – You know the saying “Actions speak louder than words”? For someone who values words, this isn’t always the case. Compliments, hearing the words “I love you” or “I appreciate you” are really important to someone like this. Avoid insults and focus on being kind, encouraging and positive towards your partner.

Quality Time – Nothing tells this person that you love them more like your undivided attention. A person who values quality time doesn’t just want you to be there, but they really want you to be there. Being distracted, putting off dates or failing to listen can really hurt your partner who appreciates quality time. Make a point of sharing quality conversation and activities together.

Gifts – The person who loves to receive gifts thrives on love, thoughtfulness and the effort it takes to create or buy something special. Giving a gift can show your partner that he/she is prizes and valued above whatever sacrifice you had to make to bring the gift. Missed birthdays or anniversaries and thoughtless gifts don’t communicate love, and gifts are a visual representation of being loved and treasured.

Service – Anything to do with easing the burden of responsibility speaks in a huge way to someone who values acts of service. Helping to clean the house and run errands are examples of small ways in which you could communicate that you love this person. Breaking commitments and creating more work for your partner shows them that their feelings don’t matter. Find ways that you can serve your partner.

Let me give you some examples of where you could be showing love to someone in a way that doesn’t resonate with them:

Scenario 1: My husband’s love language is quality time. He absolutely loves having me sit with him while he’s working, reading or cooking. We are really blessed to be able to work from home together so we get a lot of quality time together which is a huge bonus. Imagine for a second that we don’t work together all day and my husband has just come home from a long hard day at the office and all he wants is some quality time with his wife. If my love language is service, I’ll most likely show love to my husband by cooking for him and then doing the dishes. Picture my tired husband sitting in the lounge by himself just wanting to be loved, while I’m slaving away in the kitchen thinking I’m showing him love by serving him.

Scenario 2: Imagine you really love words of encouragement. A simple, handwritten letter can really make your day and show you how loved you are. And now imagine that you are married to someone whose love language is gifts. Sure, you’d still feel loved by receiving pretty things, but your partner would be able to show you love more effectively by telling you how incredible you are.

I’d encourage you to do a little exploring and take this quiz to see what your love language is. Get your partner to do the same and spending some time chatting together about how you could love each other better. There really is no downside to learning more about each other and learning what really makes you feel awesome and loved!

You or your partner might have one or two dominant love languages, which is totally normal, and regardless of the outcome of the quiz, you shouldn’t neglect the other love languages. The point here is to know what really speaks to your partner so you can show the type of love that is most appreciated.