Matzo ball soup! If your family is of Ashkenazic origin, it appears every week at the Shabbat table, it’s served at festive meals, and it’s brought to every relative and friend who’s feeling under the weather. Your family recipe started in Poland, or Russia, or elsewhere in Europe, and it’s been handed down through the generations like a family heirloom. It is a beloved—edible—member of the family.

But did you know that chicken soup with matzo balls can also teach us about shalom bayit, peace within the home?

Learn how to make traditional chicken soup

1. It Starts With Good Stock

A tasty chicken soup starts with a good stock. If you begin with high-quality ingredients, combined and balanced in proper proportions, you’ll make a rich stock that is better than the sum of its parts.

You and your spouse each bring individual personalities to your marriage. You are different, but if you enter the marriage with “wholesome ingredients,” i.e., good character traits and values, you will enhance each other and build a family that is stronger and better together. The result will be delicious!

Read: Practical Tips for Picking a Soul Mate

2. Seasonings and Spices Keep It Interesting

Some like their chicken soup salty. Some like it peppery. Others like it flavored with leeks, or onions, or celery, or thyme. The spices and herbs may vary, but those little extras raise the soup from a bland, boring bowl of liquid to a golden elixir that piques your senses. Marriages also need “spice” to keep things interesting—new things to talk about; new activities to try.

I once jokingly worried to my husband that we’d run out of fresh things to bicker about. My solution? To buy a $1.00 lottery ticket every week, so we could “argue” about what to do if we won! We actually did it, and in the process learned all sorts of new things about each other. I wanted to travel the world living in hotels. He wanted a huge mansion where he could set down roots. I wanted a chauffeur and a limousine to take me everywhere, he wanted sports cars and his own racetrack. We laughed and had great fun with this game every week, even though we never won anything. Keep things spicy!

Read: Shalom Bayit: Marital Harmony

3. Keep It Kosher

We want what we eat to be delicious. But we are not just animals, living from one meal to the next. We have souls within us, and we want what we eat to feed our souls, too. The Torah is our guide for that. It teaches us what foods are best for our souls.

Of course, the Torah is not (just) a cookbook! It is our Divine handbook for all areas of life, including marriage. A kosher soup, a kosher home, and a kosher marriage are all Torah in action. They raise everyday life above the mundane, help us become our best selves, and connect to G‑d. And isn’t that what real happiness is all about?

Read: What Is Kosher?

4. There Needs to be Meat in Every Spoonful

Chicken soup without actual chicken is just broth. Tasty, but not satisfying. You cannot stay strong and healthy living on broth alone. Marriages also need “meat.”

The meat in a marriage is cooperation. Marriage is a partnership, and in the happiest marriages, the partners work as a team. They are not two individuals living two separate lives. They have shared goals as well as individual ones, and they know reaching those goals requires teamwork. Besides, success always tastes better when it is shared, and failure is less bitter. The same way that meat in the soup fills you up and satisfies you, daily cooperation is the meat that makes a marriage satisfying and fulfilling.

Here’s how to make a chicken soup that literally has chicken in every bite

5. Don’t Make it Too Hot or Too Cold

If you’ve ever burned your mouth on hot soup, you know that every mouthful after that is painful and tasteless. And cold soup? Completely unappetizing, you don’t want to eat it.

Uncontrolled anger is like hot soup. It’s painful to the recipient, and the discomfort lingers long after the episode. Even as the soup cools, the burnt mouth still hurts. But while strong marriages can’t be filled with burning anger, they also can’t exist by avoiding all disagreements. That’s like cold soup, where communication is replaced with a cold shoulder.

A happy, warm marriage, like matzo ball soup, is best served with the perfect balance of hot and cold. It fills the home with a delightful and inviting aroma and nourishes your insides with its warm goodness.

Read: How to Transform Anger

6. Keep Your Spoon in Your Own Bowl

It can be tempting to take a taste of your neighbors’ soup. Maybe they added some crackers, along with the matzo balls, and you’re curious. You want to see if it’s better than yours. Resist this temptation. You have your soup and they have theirs.

Some married folk like to snoop in other people’s marriages. Resist that urge, too! Don’t compare marriages. Don’t covet other people’s matzo balls. If you want to try crackers in your soup, buy your own. Don’t let your spoon wander!

Read: Is There a Cure for Jealousy?

7. Keep the Matzo Balls Light

I know there are some who like their matzo balls dense and hard. I am not one of them. To me, it’s like swallowing a stone, and it lays on my chest like an elephant’s foot. No, I think the best matzo balls are light and fluffy. Light as a feather, they tickle your insides.

Every happy marriage has its fair share of fluffiness. Nothing is as nourishing as a good laugh! It can make even the darkest times easier to swallow. Yes, marriage is work. There are bills to pay, children to raise, and all the mundane tasks of everyday life. But marriage must also be fun. It must tickle your insides the way a light, fluffy matzo ball does. Laugh every day, and keep it light!

Check out this recipe for perfect matzo balls

8. It Gets Better with Time

And finally, like matzo ball soup, a happy marriage improves with time. The soup is delicious the day it is cooked. But the next day? The flavors have melded, the excess fat has risen to the top and can be skimmed off, and what was good yesterday is heavenly today. Happy marriages also mellow and improve. Separate personalities learn how to blend and coexist. Unhealthy personality traits, like the fat that rises on refrigerated soup, can be eliminated as couples make the transition from being me-centered to we-centered.

So, the next time you sit down to a delicious, steaming bowl of matzo ball soup, think of all the lessons that little bowl can teach you!

Read: 10 Great Things About Growing Old