How Real Couples Spend Their Sundays

published Feb 25, 2017
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(Image credit: Caitlyn Cartlidge)

Every week, it feels like Monday through Friday takes forever. Then when the weekend gets here, it whizzes by so fast it’s like it never even happened. You spend the whole week working, maybe go out on Saturday night, and then before you know it, it’s Sunday evening and it’s time to go to sleep and do it all over again. That’s why, for many people, it’s important to make every Sunday a good one—whether that means doing something fun, or being super productive. And for couples, Sunday’s the perfect day to slow down and enjoy being together.

Some couples go to church, others watch football, cook a big meal, do chores or go on an adventure, but there’s a common thread throughout all of their routines: Sundays are all about spending time with the one you love (or ones, if you include the kids or the dogs!). If you and your partner don’t already have a weekend routine, maybe one of these Sunday traditions will inspire you…

We have a lunch date:

“Usually on Sundays we go to church in the morning; sometimes we volunteer in the church nursery and play with babies. There is nearly always a lunch date after that. We get out early enough that most restaurants aren’t really busy yet so we’ll mostly get the place to ourselves, maybe with a few others. Dallas has a ton of restaurants, maybe not like NYC, but definitely enough to be overwhelming so we’re always trying to figure out where we haven’t been yet. Last weekend it was this little Venezuelan cafe, a few weeks before that it was a Japanese place—we’re not big Friday/Saturday ‘date night’-ers so usually Sunday lunch is the established date day.”

— Monica and Will in Dallas, TX

We take turns sleeping in and do chores:

“We used to love ‘sleeping in like college students’ as we like to say, but when our son Oliver was born, we made a pact to continue the habit. We have crazy busy hours for our respective jobs, so it’s essential! So every Sunday, one of us spends the morning with Oliver (now 3) and the other gets to relive their college days by sleeping in embarrassingly late! Richmond is a big brunch town so we’ll also take advantage of all the great places in town—and let me be clear that despite having a kid, I’m still #teamnochainrestaurants, so we will hit somewhere local and then proceed to drink all their coffee.

“This sounds incredibly Type A (probably because it is!) but we also have a ‘Sunday Cleaning List’ on our shared Anylist App to knock out some cleaning to-do’s. I’ve always disliked cleaning, so for us it’s more manageable to knock out a bunch of little things every week to keep the place tidy (especially since, until recently, I had a home office with employees who came in Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). The list has about 20 things and it keeps the household going—stuff like replacing all of our towels, changing sheets, changing cat food and water dishes, etc. This is the key to my sanity. We definitely also cook a big dinner—preferably one that creates leftovers for the busy week ahead. Sunday is perfect for food that takes all day to make—we love stews, french onion soup, roasts, etc.”

Meghan and Travis in Richmond VA

We watch football and cherish our grocery-shopping time:

“During football season, you can find my husband and I at a sports bar for our respective teams (we live in Chicago, but I root for the Ravens and he’s a Browns fan so we try to alternate venues). Grocery shopping is a mundane but necessary part of our Sundays as well. It usually starts with browsing Pinterest for meal ideas/inspiration. It sounds silly, but it’s a bonding time that I enjoy because we were long-distance for a couple of years before I moved to Chicago from Baltimore, and grocery shopping is one of the things we daydreamed about doing together.”

— L’Oreal and Jeff in Chicago, IL

We wander neighborhoods and try new coffee shops:

“My fiance and I have been together since November 2005. Our wedding is fast approaching this fall. Sundays for us are all about quality time. Both of us have hectic, demanding jobs, so we take treat Sundays as a day of reconnection. We are blessed to call San Diego home and one of our favorite things to do on Sunday morning is to throw on some sweats and grab fancy coffee from one of the many trendy coffee shops around town. We keep our eyes peeled for new spots on social media. Depending on our mood we may pick a neighborhood we’d like to wander—North Park is definitely a favorite. Taking the time to enjoy quality face time keeps us grounded. Focusing on us has kept us in love for over a decade. They say you should always date your spouse and I genuinely believe that is what keeps the spark alive. It’s the little things.”

— Erin and Mike in San Diego, CA

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We cook dinner together and plan out our week:

“My boyfriend and I always cook dinner together on Sunday nights before making our own plans for the rest of the evening. Sunday night dinners give us a chance to work together in the kitchen, rather than just making something quick during the week, or having the other heat up leftovers from what the other cooked. It also gives us time to go over our plans for the week, who has what events, what appearances I have, and most importantly who’s doing the grocery shopping that week!

“After dinner, Dave, my boyfriend of 8 years, always goes out with his friends to sing karaoke and have a little fun before the week starts. Since I’m up at 5am on Mondays for 6am spin class, I generally plan out my week, catch up on emails, and head to bed around 10pm. A fresh start Monday morning always sets the right tone for the week. When I’m not on the bike Monday mornings, I’m on MassAppeal on NBC22 in Springfield, MA. It’s their morning lifestyle show where I share style tips, and general gift guides, entertaining tips, and DIY/life hacks. It’s ton of fun.”

Matthew and Dave in Boston, MA

We go on small adventures and watch our favorite shows:

“With both of us being producers, our weekdays are packed with work and every minute is very much ‘go-go-go.’ Sunday is the day we get to sleep in just a little, hang with friends, and catch up not only on errands, but with each other. Sunday usually starts with us texting friends to ask who is up for brunch, lunch, or some kind of adventure—driving to Santa Barbara for cinnamon rolls was our last one. We either end the night with take-out on our friend’s couch, or on our own, watching a show that we only watch with each other (like ‘Narcos’ or ‘Chance’). We wouldn’t watch those without each other!”

Paige and Sevier in Los Angeles, CA

We work out together, watch football and relax:

“Our typical Sundays consist of us hitting the gym to box together in the mornings, followed by brunch and watching football at our local bar in Harlem, Harlem Tavern—with me cheering on the Baltimore Ravens and him cheering on the New York Giants (yes, we have a divided football household!). The evenings are spent debating if we are actually going to cook this Sunday or just order out because we are exhausted from the gym and trash talking at the bar. Sundays are the one day of week where neither one us have work or family obligations and we can spend uninterrupted time together to catch-up before the work week starts.”

— Jasmine and Adrian in Harlem, NY

We read with the kids and drink coffee:

“My husband and I always took the kids to Barnes and Noble; we would gather design books, metaphysic and children’s books and sit on the floor with my twins and read—we called it church! We were not specifically religious, so when my children turned 6 they came home from school and asked why none of their friends had heard about the church called Barnes and Noble. This was our Sunday Staple. Now my children are 17 and we don’t always make it to the bookstore, but we always lay in bed and read and my husband keeps bringing the hot coffee! It is our way of relaxing after a stressful week.”

Cherella and Jacob in Salt Lake City, UT

We buy fresh flowers, clean up, and snuggle:

“My husband and I have been married for almost three years, and Sundays seem to be either be an easy day or a catch-up day. On Sundays, I typically plan the next week’s meals and grocery list, then we go to the grocery store together. The first weekend that we bought our house—3 years ago—we bought fresh flowers for the kitchen. So now, we always buy fresh flowers during our weekly shopping trips because it’s one of the little things we enjoy. If we manage to clean the house early on in the weekend, the rest of our Sunday is for movies, snuggling and love. If not, we’ll scurry around to tidy things up before we start the new week, and then it’s time for snuggles.”

— Lauren and Jake in Nashville, TN

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

We spend the day curled up with our dogs:

“My partner and I dedicate Sundays to our dogs. They seem to know when it’s their special day because after going outside for their morning routine, we get back into bed and snuggle for a while. It’s the one morning of the week we aren’t frantic to check emails and deal with clients—and it’s all about our little family and Sunday snuggles.”

— Kelsey and Angelo in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

We cook a full English breakfast and watch movies:

“Having spent the last five years driving around the world in a 16-foot camper van, we are more than familiar with being constantly in each others pockets. We deal with it by taking things slow, especially on a Sunday! It is our day to binge on relaxation and laziness. Coffee in bed to get things started as we talk over last week and next week. Usually we are trying to shake a hangover from some Saturday night social event. Next up is cooking some fat-laden breakfast. Hailing from Yorkshire, England, that means fried bread, bacon, mushrooms, sausage, beans, eggs, and black pudding (i.e. a good old ‘full English’). After a short walk we’re ready to discuss what to have for lunch!

“By 2 pm we have consumed around 4000 calories already and it’s time for an afternoon movie. Always an oldie—like Indiana Jones, Baby Boom or anything with Tom Hanks in it. Finally, a chicken gets thrown in the oven, the Yorkshire pudding mix is knocked up and a bottle of red is opened. It’s the final stretch. Netflix is fired up and some sort of series is kicked into action. The breaks between the 40-minute episodes are perfect for topping up wine, putting the Yorkshire puddings in and finally indulging in a Sunday dinner on our knees. We find that sharing each other’s company for a solid 12 hours is an incredible way to maintain a strong and healthy relationship. Having zero pressure to do something like go and hike or canoe means you can just relax and unwind from the week before, and by the end of the day we are keen to snap out of it and have a super productive week.”

Alex and Lisa in Belfast, ME

We split breakfast duty, then relax by the fireplace:

“My husband and I have the following story arc on any given Sunday: He gets up really early, even on weekends, and will do a little bit of work and take out our two doggies to the bathroom before I get up, and eat his daily oatmeal, pre-breakfast. I sleep in late, he’ll wake me up around 11 am, make me some tea, and get started on making our weekly breakfast! He’s in charge of pancakes and roasted potatoes. I’m in charge of eggs, sausage, vegetables, and preparing all the condiments. We delightfully eat a great load of ketchup and mustard. On days I don’t feel like making breakfast—I’m a chef so I cook a lot—we’ll go down the street to The Grey Dog Chelsea for breakfast. We walk off all the breakfast goodness by taking our doggies to Chelsea Waterside dog park. We take a short nap, because why not?

“We usually plan on one or two ‘outside activities’ per Sunday, like going to the Lowline Lab and getting Soft Swerve soft serve ice cream. We come home, light a fire in our fireplace if it’s winter, roast s’mores or drink wine, and take some ‘me time’—he’ll read or brainstorm for the week and I’ll study for my sommelier test or watch a documentary or movie. Or sometimes we read a few articles together and debate about them. At some point we also do a round of laundry so we can say ‘ahhhh…’ when we lie down to sleep!”

Jenny and Matt in Manhattan, NY

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

We get donuts and coffee, then go on a mini-adventure:

“Most Sundays we get up and go to Joe The Art of Coffee for iced coffees, and then we often go to Doughnut Plant. Afterwards, we usually go to Whole Foods or the market and cook together—or we go on a mini-adventure to places like Coney Island or Flushing. It’s not so exciting, but doing everyday things with each other is pretty exceptional.”

— Elizabeth and Rebecca in Manhattan, NY

We cook a big breakfast and run errands or watch the game:

“We typically take the time to cook a good breakfast on Sundays. On Saturdays we are too worn out from the week—we work in PR and the film industry—so Sundays are easier to relax and enjoy our time together. We make homemade waffles, biscuits and eggs, scones, sometimes mimosas, and then we run errands or see a movie, usually walking to The Grove near our apartment. During football season, we’ll go to a local sports bar to watch the Green Bay Packers. We like to have a good mix of lounging and being active and productive!”

— Tiffany and Mike in Los Angeles, CA

We watch the news then spend the day out and about:

“Sundays are my favorite day with my boyfriend. Every Sunday morning starts with breakfast and coffee in bed, followed by watching either NY1 or Pix 11 (we’re both in media and are news junkies!). We then either head out to try something new: Sometimes it’s a spontaneous trip on the Metro North to the Hudson Valley—we both love hiking and are fitness fanatics—or it can be as simple as a trip to the museum (the Brooklyn Museum is our go to) followed by a walk through Prospect Park. The point is to not stay at home and watch TV, or check our phones constantly—we do enough of that during the week!—and instead do something active that makes us happy.”

— Antonia and John in Manhattan, NY

We watch our favorite morning show and head to the farmer’s market:

“Sunday includes waking up a tiny bit late, coffee for Jason and Chai for me. We dash to the television to watch CBS Sunday Morning, the one show that is truly worth watching—it is fun, educational, thought provoking, interesting and iconic. It is a conversation starter and the pieces are done intelligently and with heart. It is our go-to Sunday morning ritual with the addition of reading The New York Times, errands and cooking the veggies we bought at the farmer’s market so we have dinner to last the week. Sundays are our days—a little more relaxed, dinner at home and early to bed since living and working in NYC results in busy, busy work weeks.”

— Charly and Jason in Manhattan, NY

We paint together, have a German breakfast and go “treasure hunting”:

“Things we love to do: Paint together—we have a gallery wall of joint art pieces—and treasure hunt for the apartment (from curated specialty stores to craigslist, we’ve done it all). Once we transported a stunning giant wooden table in an Uber—after the sweaty and heavy adventure, we could finally say ‘now that’s a farm-to-table table.’ We also love jogging in DUMBO and around the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge—sometimes these workouts turn into long walks and conversation. Chinatown is a great place for spontaneous massages. We like getting local treats from the neighborhood and snacking on them during a relaxing foot massage. We also love to sit and plan upcoming trips—we always have a ticket to a classical concert, ballet, the opera, or an upcoming plane ticket stuck to the fridge. Next stop: Japan!

“Another tradition is German breakfast. George is American but half German and I was born in Berlin. We go and buy cold cuts, rye bread and lots of butter to eat it at the ‘farm-to-table table.’ Lastly, we love just being together and doing different things at the same time. I might be playing the cello and George is deep into the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times, or the other way around and he is playing the guitar and I am making hanging moss balls or trying new beauty rituals.”

Lena and George in Brooklyn, NY

We drink coffee, read and listen to old records:

“While we don’t get to do this as often as we’d like to, one of our favorite Sunday guilty pleasures is to get out of bed late and drink our coffee in a room I call the ‘lady cave.’ The room has two chairs that face a 1950s record player as well as a fireplace. If it’s cold enough, we’ll build a fire, but we always play records from my husband’s grandfather’s inherited collection. We drink our coffee—and sometimes it turns into fancy mimosas—and catch up on magazines we’ve accumulated during the week. The lady cave is a room that isn’t used much during the work week, so it always feels like such a relaxing treat to hang out there with no particular schedule for the day. Once we’re ready to get up and get moving, we’ll likely run errands or find excuses to go shopping for fun vintage or new finds for our 1950s ranch house that’s under what seems to be continuous remodel.”

— Jenna and Eric in Austin, TX

What about you and your partner? Do you have a weekly Sunday tradition that you follow together? Share your stories in the comments!