Oh how willing women are to dole out relationship advice to other women. Don't Go To Bed Angry! Dress Up And Get His Attention Once In Awhile! Plan Date Nights! We're inundaded with all sorts of unsolicited "advice," whether or not we even really know the person dishing it. Fortunately, this is not another attempt to offer up more helpings of Keep The Spark Alive! How-Tos. This is merely a "Show and Tell," spurred by observing good friends in good relationships and how they've built more common ground with their partners simply by being open to something new.
Ieesha & Corey
Corey and I met three weeks after I moved to Minneapolis. We were instantly drawn to each other because we're both really outgoing and talkative. Since our first date, Corey and I have ended up at sports bars over happy hour where we’d sit and talk for hours, to each other and to strangers. This whole "Don't Talk to Strangers," concept never really jibed with us. When there aren’t random folks to chat up at the bar, we tune in to whatever sport happens to be on at that time. It might seem trivial, but watching sports together has honestly brought us closer. I have picked up a genuine interest in learning the rules to different sports and Corey really loves explaining things, so this became an easy hobby for us. He's taught me the rules of tennis, football and hockey. We've also been digging into more obscure sports like MMA and Grid League recently. Now Corey not only has a game day viewing partner, but he also gets the satisfaction of watching me call a flag on a play and spot fouls instantly.
Cally & Nick
I met Nick at a Halloween party my former roomate and I hosted. He left a good impression on me, but I was dating someone, so I didn't think much of it. Fast forward a few years later when I would go rock climbing at Vertical Endeavors and frequently bump into Nick there. We'd always have a friendly exchange, but one day I made it quite clear to him that I was single. The rest is history, and we defintely have rock climbing to thank for reuiniting us. While we have a lot of common interests—camping, bike riding, running, traveling, eating popcorn as a meal—one thing Nick has introduced me to is how to make The. Best. Pickles. The pickling process is tedious and time consuming, but it reminds me of my geeky love for sterile procedures in my nursing practice, so I have come to really love it. It was eye-opening to realize how much we both enjoy structured, step-by-step processes. I probably never would have thought to try pickling prior to meeting Nick because no one in my family does it and it's never crossed my mind. Now, I am hooked and can hardly wait until next season when we can start the process all over again. Until then, Nick will be joining me in hot yoga classes, one of the only hobbies that keeps me going through the harsh winters.
Lauren & Michael
Michael and I met in April of 2012, just shy of my 24th birthday and while I still reparing wounds from a relationship that left me feeling depleted and unbalanced. I was healing, but very self-aware and ready to welcome the new with my whole heart. My friends knew this and they knew Michael, so when they suggested I meet them out for a night of salsa dancing, I went. Michael had just gotten back from Mexico and was feeling confident about his dance moves. I wore heels, which made me taller than him. I thought it was cool that the height difference didn’t seem to bother him one bit...that is until I kneed him in the crotch. He was a good sport though. Michael lived in Boston, but we continued talking and eventually started visiting each other. One day he gave me his punch card for Docs Gym to try out Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I Googled it, watched three YouTube videos and decided to give it a go. I had no idea what the point of it was, but it looked fun and a few female athletes caught my eye. I drove out to north Minneapolis to take my first class with all men and one female who had been training since she was a child. It was intimidating, but also exciting. Since that first class, Michael has moved back to Minneapolis and we both continue to do Jiu Jitsu. It has done so much for me physically in terms of speed, agility, flexibility and functional strength and mentallly it's taught me discipline, the art of being present, emotional control and perseverance (or grittiness, as I prefer). We motivate each other to train and I believe we've both advanced so much because we support each other unconditionally.
Have you been exploring a new hobby with your significant other? My boyfriend and I recently started a DJ side hustle—shameless plug!—and while I've always enjoyed learning something knew, it's pretty wonderful to have someone learning alongside me.