Tell me what you do at night.
February 3, 2010 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Help me come up with some fun two-person hobbies that also can be productive or contribute to personal growth.

I love spending time with my partner. However, when we spend time together, we generally do completely recreational activities, like play video and board games or watch movies.

I'm getting tired of this pattern. I would like to fill this time with more productive hobbies that we can enjoy doing together. I want to spend time with her, while doing activities that contribute to personal growth, rather than feel like time sinks.

Some information on our interests: We're both a little crafty, she more than I. I am more musically inclined than she is, but she has shown interest in learning an instrument. We love the outdoors. Options for exercise would be nice, but there is a difference in our fitness levels (e.g., she likes walking, I like running), so some physical activity where people can work at different exertion levels would be ideal. Neither of us is interested in organized sports. More intellectual games might be welcome, but she didn't like the idea of learning chess when I brought it up the other day.

I'm open to all ideas.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe learn a language together and then travel together to the place that speaks that language?
posted by o0dano0o at 12:21 PM on February 3, 2010

Rock climbing at an indoor gym can allow you to work together (one climbing, one belaying) but you can each do routes that are at your ability level.

My girlfriend and I are going to start taking ice skating lessons together and we recently took a bicycle maintenance class so I guess new things that you are equally bad at could be fun.
posted by ghharr at 12:41 PM on February 3, 2010

I guess new things that you are equally bad at could be fun.

IMHO? This.

Also, maybe volunteering at something vaguely strenuous (eg: not a phone bank)
posted by aramaic at 12:52 PM on February 3, 2010

My partner and I are birders. Well, mostly, we're hawkwatchers - we look at/for other birds when there aren't any hawks to look at.

We volunteer for a local group that IDs and counts migrating raptors, and we also take day/weekend trips, just the two of us, to look for good birds. Some of these trips involve hiking, and some involve driving around farm roads, pulling over and scanning/looking, then driving around some more.

God, reading this makes it sound so boring. But it's not! It's outdoors. It doesn't have to be physically strenuous but it can be physically active. You learn a ton. You get to impress your friends with your ability to identify a raptor a mile away/while you are driving 70 mph.

We both started at the same time, so we both sucked equally when we began, and learned together. It's a great way to spend time together.
posted by rtha at 1:03 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

My wife and I just started taking a beginner ukulele class together. We have totally different musical abilities and tastes (she's a classically trained singer who has sung in some world-class choruses, I'm a guy who never quite grew out of the 'teenager with a guitar' phase) but the uke has been a big equalizer for us. We're the last two people on Earth to jump on the uke bandwagon, but it's been a lot of fun and it's the first time in our 15 years together that we've had something in common musically.
posted by bondcliff at 1:04 PM on February 3, 2010

Look around you and see if there's something that you wish you had - a piece of furniture, a baby quilt, a sculptural lamp, a garden plot... some fairly major project with a physical product at the end. Take a class on the technique, join a club or sign up for tool-sharing (like a pottery studio), or just check out a lot of library books together, and make it happen! It's good to have a goal instead of just a schedule (no, honey, no video games, it's hiking night tonight!) because it's more fun to haul yourself off the sofa when you might get something out of the deal (tasty home-grown vegetables, a bookcase, the perfect christmas gifts for your mothers, etc)

My man and I planned and built a lovely if somewhat simple piece of furniture customized to fit our space. I've always worked with tools but never really made long-term quality pieces, just hacks; he'd done a lot of design but no contruction, but experienced with painting/finishing. Though we were both learning most of the time, we were kind of alternating who was being more expert. A lot of fun, and having those skills was great when we bought our house.
posted by aimedwander at 1:41 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Orienteering is a good outdoor activity for different fitness levels (though that's weekends, not nights).

I like the ideas of taking classes (craft classes, dance classes, whatever) together. But you can also do side-by-side activities -- maybe she could work on a craft that keeps her hands and eyes busy while you practice music so she can enjoy listening, and you can chat in between. I think that would be a lovely evening. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:53 PM on February 3, 2010

Cooking. You can do it every night and you can make it waste a ton of time from prep to cooking to eating to cleanup. You can get into some specific cuisines, more difficult stuff, etc.
posted by kensington314 at 2:10 PM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm in Canada and just started Curling. I'm willing to bet both of you are beginners. It is physical without being intense. It's a team without all that running around and passing and stuff. Also it is followed by beer. They sell beer at the curling club!

It's the middle of snowy winter here - so skiing and snowshoeing come to mind. But similarly outdoorsy things that you can do together are available in other climates. They are great cause you can talk and get exercise. Have you ever tried Geo-caching?

If you are looking for suggestions for learning new skills the city recreation guide has lots of cheap classes from stained glass to tai chi.

Do not underestimate bird watching. Think about how fun it would be to sit in the back of classroom giggling when the very serious man talks about dickcissels.
posted by Gor-ella at 2:13 PM on February 3, 2010

Boyfriend and I are planning to take plumbing and handyman classes before we buy a house, some time in the next two years or so. Facilitates quality time, plus we can fix our own messes when we leave the comfy sphere or renting, and save money.

We're also taking tennis lessons in the spring.
posted by caveat at 2:22 PM on February 3, 2010

Seconding climbing. When you go outdoors asymmetrical abilities work well as the stronger partner can do the leading. Also backpacking, just give more weight to the stronger partner until you are both traveling at the same pace. I'm planning on getting a tandem for the same reason.
posted by Manjusri at 3:29 PM on February 3, 2010

Take a couples massage class.

Plan and plant a garden. If you live in an apartment, see if your city has community plots.

Go Contra Dancing. Fun to learn, good exercise, meet new people.

Volunteer to walk dogs at the pound.

Go on a mission to learn about something neither of you knows much about: art, geology, opera...whatever.

Explore all the state parks you can.
posted by SLOHands at 10:11 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

All great answers! Thanks. I have a lot of ideas to present the little lady with.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 6:59 AM on February 4, 2010

« Older Oh, I thought the book was WAY better.   |   Why did I get a W-9 at my (academic) job interview... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.