Give us the spice of your life.
September 6, 2010 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Besides having sex, cooking, eating, watching TV and other day to day activities.... what do YOU do with your SO?

We watch TV too much. We end up simultaneously surfing the internet too much. As a result... we end up eating too much. We don't like this.

When the warmer months are here we've been better about stopping this cycle and taking long walks to fill our time with but we want to have more variety.And then winter comes along! Yikes! No long walks for me in the winter.

We're getting married at the end of next month. We're sort of brokey-broke for now.

What do YOU do? There's gotta be something my fellow mefites do that fill their couple-time that isn't playing video games or sitting on your heiny for hours on end. And again, besides sex. I promise we'll have lots of newlywed sex. But after that!

posted by mittenbex to Human Relations (47 answers total) 122 users marked this as a favorite
What about working out together? I mean, long walks are nice, but exercise is a good thing for everybody to fit into their routines. Do you have a local public rec center that has a free workout room or a track that you can use?
posted by scarykarrey at 8:34 AM on September 6, 2010

Board games, reading books to each other, camping, hiking, riding bikes, walking the dog, drinking beer, making beer, cooking, chores (sigh), listening to records, going to the theater/concerts (especially free/cheap ones), having friends over for food/drinks/games.

Basically, there are more things to do together than time to do them in.
posted by booknerd at 8:35 AM on September 6, 2010 [10 favorites]

Card games are always great and just the cost of a good deck of cards. You can do two player games like gin or cribbage and you can always branch out and make it a great couples activity with friends.

If you have similar book interests you and your SO could always read to each other. It takes effort, but I enjoy the books or articles more.
posted by lamprey at 8:39 AM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Rock Band! It's not exactly like playing other video games, and it can be quite active if you are drumming or dancing around while singing or playing the guitar.

Or, you could play real music together, if you have any skills at such things.

For the long walks, go different places. We have discovered dozens of tiny nature preserves and weird little historic places near our city just by looking at the map and picking a place to go. Or, pick a big state park nearby and aim to do all the hikes there over the next few months. You can do things like pick a park that's a couple hours away and then google around for a good restaurant/weird museum/antique store (whatever you're into) that is also in that area and make a day of it.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:40 AM on September 6, 2010

There's a lot to be said for just sitting on the porch watching cars go by — or on the couch, watching a fire in the fireplace, that sort of thing. Back when gas was cheaper, we went on long drives. We run errands together, even when they're not necessarily two-person errands. If I'm cooking, Girlfriend will sometimes just hang around the kitchen, and vice versa if she's doing laundry.

This all sounds pretty boring. But in a way, that's the point. You want to arrange to be bored together, because shared boredom is what motivates you to pay attention to each other, to find things to talk about, all that good stuff. The problem with TV is that it's just barely interesting enough to keep a real, natural conversation from developing.

Also, yeah, card games.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:48 AM on September 6, 2010 [9 favorites]

posted by sunshinesky at 8:49 AM on September 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

gardening! even if you have no ground to plant things in, you can do some containers.

volunteering! check out your local food bank or soup kitchen and sign up for a shift together.

the farmers' market! related: if you get involved enough in cooking food, you won't have time to sit in front of the TV after. Embark on a complicated cooking project that will challenge you both and work on it together.

State or County Park! Look at the hokey visitors' center, go for a hike or jog, take pictures of each other, sit under a tree together and play cards.

Ride your bikes! Even errands are fun on a bike.
posted by juliapangolin at 8:49 AM on September 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

You have kids and then they take up all your time and make this question seem amusing in retrospect.
posted by smackfu at 8:53 AM on September 6, 2010 [27 favorites]

We've taken up bowling. You don't have to be in great shape, and there's not a big investment in gear until you decide to get serious. It's a low-key air conditioned way to do something non-sedentary and exercise-ish out of the house.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:53 AM on September 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

You can go for walks in any weather, if you have appropriate clothing and good hiking boots. We know people who go backpacking in the wilderness in the snow, which makes a walk in the neighborhood seem like nothing in comparison.

We go for a walk together every day, regardless of weather, even when visiting relatives who live in colder climates. Sometimes we go to the shopping mall or a big box store to do our walking, if the weather's unpleasant enough. You have to get your exercise in every day, anyway, and treadmills are just too boring.
posted by Ery at 9:05 AM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by Mike1024 at 9:07 AM on September 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

See a lot of good answers to this question from February.
posted by limeonaire at 9:10 AM on September 6, 2010

We run/bike together (I run, he bikes), window shop, have theatre dates, play with the cat, vacation, plan vacations, etc.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:11 AM on September 6, 2010

We go to Nationals baseball games - expensive, yes, but if there's a minor-league baseball team where you are, those tickets can be quite cheap, and minor-league teams usually have great promotions.

Even if you don't particularly care for baseball (we're both hard-core fans), the late summer picnic atmosphere is great. Bring some food and sunscreen, and you're golden. We also watch lots of sports together on TV, particularly now with baseball and college football going on.
posted by timetoevolve at 9:12 AM on September 6, 2010

Gardening, swimming, cycling, scrabble... Go out and take photographs together. Window shopping... Check out any free things going on in your town. Hire a tandem, have friends round for dinner. Take a language class or similar together.
posted by lizabeth at 9:31 AM on September 6, 2010

We too have a tendency to do extremely sedentary things much to the detriment of our waistlines, and our first step out of this into something more active has been bowling. A place near us has an ongoing special price of three games plus shoe rental for $10 apiece, so for $20 we get an afternoon of entertainment and exercise. It's been a lot of fun, and being that we're starting from near-total couchpotatohood, we can definitely feel that we are getting something of a workout.

One thing that I like to do that we haven't done for awhile is enjoying the trails at our nearby state forests. I'd hardly call what we do "hiking" but it's more intense than a stroll around the neighborhood.

I was also thinking that tossing a frisbee back and forth would fun and cheap. I've also had fun with an SO going on the swings at the park.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:34 AM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Learn to make things, together. Beer, Wine, cooking, paper, gardening, art, music whatever. Find something you both might be interested in, even if it's building computers or making videogames and develop a few projects to work on.
posted by nomadicink at 9:43 AM on September 6, 2010

We do many of the things mentioned above. But we also instituted what we call the "Hell Yeah! Doctrine". We were finding interesting events and opportunities would come our way but we would make excuses for ourselves to not go. (It's a week night, too tired, etc.) So now when these things come along we sat Hell Yeah! we're gonna go. A couple of examples are a silent auction and talk about our city, and a crafts night at the museum.

I am often feeling tired and don't want to go right before the event but I always have a great time and am glad we got out.
posted by sadtomato at 9:44 AM on September 6, 2010 [6 favorites]

Being married with kids has taught me that going to the grocery store together absolutely qualifies as a date. If we have time to lounge at Starbucks for an hour prior to getting groceries even better.
posted by COD at 9:51 AM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Let one person show the other person something they like to do. (Yeah, much of this should have come up already, but you never know.)

We've gone geocaching together, for example, which is something I love but which she was only mildly curious about. We've gone on apple-picking trips and then cooked: when she makes apple pie I am the assistant who washes & peels, but when I made something else, she lets me take the lead.

We've been married for 14 years, and kids mean there's not much strictly one-on-one time any more, but it's still good. There are a few things we return to time after time when we do get away, like a walk through Providence's Federal Hill [="little Italy"] to the dessert place Pastiche for their wonderful strawberry shortcake.

We like working on the yard together, though we're both headstrong so unifying two visions of the 2010 veggie garden was tougher than I expected. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:55 AM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Orienteering. Sadly only once a month for us locally. Somehow the winter orienteering experiences are more memorable ... especially when the weather is really god-awful. We like the hiking, I like having a goal when we're hiking, he likes nerding out with maps, and it's fun and a bonding experience to solve the problem together.

We bundle the baby up good and stick him in a pack (front when he was tiny, back now that he's big) and we go out in just the worst, worst weather. And then we go home, eat something really warm, and feel justified in sitting on the couch snuggling to get re-warm. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:04 AM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Shooting. Fishing. Dancing. Cooking. Gardening. Walking the dog.
posted by Night_owl at 10:08 AM on September 6, 2010

My wife and I are taking a sculpture & bronze casting course this fall. Continuing education programs for artsy-crafty things can be relatively inexpensive.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:21 AM on September 6, 2010

My wife rides horses. I help clean up the inevitable natural fertiliser. (Contributed just to prove that couple activities don't have to be fun in the normal sense ...)
posted by Logophiliac at 10:22 AM on September 6, 2010

We bike together, go hiking/camping, go to hockey games, go ice skating, and do the weekly shopping together usually. This weekend we went kayaking and spent a lot of time sitting on the porch reading and enjoying the nice weather.
posted by ghharr at 10:33 AM on September 6, 2010

We have a 2-year old so the time after 7:30 pm is time that we generally have to spend at home and are still trying to figure out how to make that "couple"time. We've done a few crafty projects together and have planned to learn Italian together via DVDs (but haven't done that yet). Since we do end up watching DVDs of movies and TV shows a lot, we've also made it a point to find series that we enjoy together so that they also become a discussion point. Some things that we've watched together as marathons over a few weeks or months: Lost, Mad Men, Deadwood.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:42 AM on September 6, 2010

Doing chores and home projects together is a great "team building" activity. Washing the car, raking leaves, painting a room, cleaning out that closet that's become a "junk room."
posted by SPrintF at 11:03 AM on September 6, 2010

If you want to get out of your house regularly, I would suggest getting involved in more of a "leadership" position in a local Church, charity, or non-profit. There are various "Friends of [local landmark]" groups near where I live that have regular meetings and activities. If you can find one that you're both interested in, you could take on positions that fit your personalities (ie, he could be the secretary and you could be the tour guide, or whatever). This gets you involved in the same thing, and it's fun to have regularly scheduled activities to do together and plan for and discuss in your down time.

My boyfriend and I are involved in our local Church, and it's great because it incorporates a broad range of things, from charity work, to socialization, to deeper conversations. We've also made a awesome group of mutual friends, and have a constant roster of things to do together.
posted by fermezporte at 11:04 AM on September 6, 2010

We take walks, sit on the porch and talk, and make mead. We used to play games like chess, checkers, and backgammon but we don't do that as much anymore.
posted by maurice at 12:01 PM on September 6, 2010

We enjoy meeting at a particular cafe for a cup of coffee. Late in the morning, after a couple of hours of work. It gives us a chance to leave our offices, stretch our legs, and bask in each others presence. We do this a lot.
posted by okbye at 1:13 PM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do you belong to a church or other place where couples organize themselves? We end up finding a lot of activities through that - either church sponsored things (especially volunteering), or other community things that are advertised.

Also, if you live somewhere of relative size, there's almost always free music to be had somewhere - seek it out if you like music. Live music is almost always good, as far as I'm concerned, so if it's free live music I am THERE.
posted by dpx.mfx at 4:31 PM on September 6, 2010

Advice from a get-happy book (I forget which but I'm sure someone will recognize it) suggested that creating rituals of things you enjoy is one of the biggest things you can do to increase your happiness. Not only do you regularly do something you enjoy very much, you get to look forward to it, too, as a consistent part of your life. Maybe you can pick a night of the week to ritualize one of these new things you enjoy. (I am partial to Bananagrams.) Good luck!
posted by shortyJBot at 5:24 PM on September 6, 2010

This is my parents' thing, not mine (except when I'm visiting) but geocaching! There's an initial outlay for a handheld gps receiver (or the iPhone app), but after that the world is your oyster. My mom and dad are outside every day, seeing parks and cool places they never would have known were right down the road. They've met tons of people, gotten creative with their own cache hides, and gotten so in shape I can't believe it sometimes.

Do a little reading online then jump in. At the least you'll be outside, being active and having a bit of a mental and physical challenge. At the best you'll find new friends (usually other couples even) and have a new hobby that never quite seems to get stale.
posted by kostia at 5:44 PM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Want to work off the pounds you've gained from eating too much, and manage to go walking in the winter? Get some good cold-weather clothing and snowshoes, and go for little hikes in whatever trails you can find in your area.

Nothing like a little snowshoeing for some serious alone time with the SO.
posted by dondiego87 at 7:18 PM on September 6, 2010

Definitely make things together. It helps if one person is already into it (my S/O loves to do projects: building things, canning things, playing things). Sometimes we read outloud to each other. But I get bored too, and I love to organize social activities with other friends. Like at least twice a week we'll have people over for either dinner or maybe just lunch on the weekends. It gets us out of our rut, plus it's an excuse to clean the house and get off the internet. Or if you don't like hosting, just going out with other people.
posted by Rocket26 at 7:19 PM on September 6, 2010

We make jerky every year, then give it away for X-mas. We also make our own cheese, yogurt, and sauerkraut. We grow herbs in containers. Once we find a mini-fridge we can cheaply modify, we're hoping to try our hand at making cured meats. All of this can be done very cheaply.
posted by Gilbert at 8:49 PM on September 6, 2010

Reading to one another is wonderful.
posted by number9dream at 9:12 PM on September 6, 2010

We try to make some time to homebrew beer every month or two. The whole process takes several hours over a couple weekends, so it's good bonding time.
posted by deludingmyself at 6:04 AM on September 7, 2010

hiking to waterfalls or just hiking
going to the flea market (lots of exercise, too)
garage/estate sale hopping
board games/cards
tubing on the river
old school video games
day trips to nearby cities/towns/parks
cheap/free museums
getting drunk and smoking on the back porch
going to a bar
hanging out with friends
making art collages (current project is cutting out pictures and words from magazines and adhering them to an old table we found at Goodwill for a few bucks)
posted by KogeLiz at 7:20 AM on September 7, 2010

My spouse and I read or do puzzles side-by-side a lot. We occasionally play board games. The winter is great for going to the climbing gym, because it's not too hot.
posted by endless_forms at 11:08 AM on September 7, 2010

We live about an hour's drive from a BIG ASS antique mall, and we like to drive out there every couple-few months and just wander around.
posted by endless_forms at 11:10 AM on September 7, 2010

We go to the grocery store together and call it a grocery store date. We go to dinner together every once in a while too. We're kind of dull, but we've been married for almost 29 years.
posted by Daddy-O at 1:06 PM on September 7, 2010

Experiments with vaseline gone horribly wrong.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:54 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

- play with our cats (a lot, probbaly too much)
- walk (for fun and for errands, sometimes for hours)
- bike
- talk about/plan where to travel (even though we can't afford it right now)
- clear out the basement (a long, drawn out, stupid process)
- paint (every room of the house)
- work on art projects (either colaboratively or just in the same room as each other)
- go to see our favorite bands
- be alone together (no pressure, just being)
- get mad at/celebrate the same things (though this can't be planned)
- movies

"Walk" is one of my favorites. It seems to stand out in my memory as much as any real travel we've done together.
posted by marimeko at 5:15 PM on September 7, 2010

We took a community ed welding class for our anniversary this year. That was awesome.

We have dogs. We play with them, take care of them, make things for them like a grooming table with a ramp so I don't have to bend over or lift them, a raised food bowl for the one who can't reach the floor anymore, etc.

Depending on what my health will allow, we've done things like planting and tending veggie gardens (very satisfying), and getting season tickets to nearby-ish roller coaster parks and going for a couple of hours or so fairly frequent weekday afternoons. If you have a season pass, it's not a big deal if you don't stay for long; you can just come back later. Those are the things I'm really missing this year.

We hang out with his family. He has a great family and they're mostly local. We go play cards or watch movies or just hang out.

We do home maintenance and improvements; some of this is pretty fun, when it involves something new that we don't yet know how to do, or involves putting a lot of thought into how to get it to work.

When we need to do something unusual for my health (ie, go to an out-of-town specialist), we often take a side trip on the way there or back and go see something touristy that we're going to be passing.
posted by galadriel at 1:57 PM on September 8, 2010

I'd rather work on my own interests than watch TV with the SO, and prefer they do the same; it makes for a more interesting SO, and a more interesting me!
posted by talldean at 1:58 PM on September 8, 2010

Contradancing. Super fun, not too expensive.
posted by jvilter at 6:59 PM on September 8, 2010

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