July 20, 2018 03:39 PM

Three and a half decades into his marriage, Denzel Washington has learned a few things about what makes his lasting love with wife Pauletta work.

“I do what I’m told. I keep my mouth shut,” Washington, 63, joked to PEOPLE.

The Equalizer 2 star also revealed that when he and his wife celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary in June, they did so in a low-key way. “We just chilled, had some dinner,” he said. “It was kind of quiet.”

So what is their secret? What makes a marriage work for three decades?

For much more on Denzel Washington, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on newsstands now

“There’s too many things!” said Washington of what he appreciates most about his better half. “What pops into my head: security, food, a beautiful home. The difference between a house and a home, it’s a big difference. You can buy a house, but that doesn’t make it a home – and not to say a man can’t make a home a home, but my wife has made our house a home, and raised these beautiful kids [John David,33, Katia, 30, twins Olivia and Malcolm, 27] and protected them and sacrificed for them, she did the heavy-lifting.”

Speaking of good food, Washington went on to praise his wife’s cooking skills.

“She has a few [specialties]. I’ve been eating her curry chicken since I’ve known her,” he said. “I used to make it too, but not as good as hers.”

And what’s Washington’s specialty?

“No, let’s not go there. I don’t want to get caught lying,” he joked.

The Equalizer 2 is now playing in theaters.

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