Relationships | Work/Life Balance | New Baby

Balance Life, Love and Your Growing Family


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Spring is when we liven up our gardens and yards. How about rejuvenating our love lives? Sociologist and sexologist Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D. will address this topic in her talk, “Let’s Get Intimate! How to Balance Life, Love and Your Growing Family” at two BabyMap events which will be held at Seattle Children’s Theatre, 5:30 p.m. May 15; and at Bellevue College, 10 a.m. May 18.

Schwartz recently shared some secrets about what makes some couples happier than others. To hear more, watch Schwartz on KING 5 (on KONG, channel 6) 8:15 a.m. May 6.

In the book you wrote with Chrisanna Northrup and James Witte, The Normal Bar, you talk about balance in family life, but more importantly balance in a relationship. What do you mean by that?

Couples need to focus not just on giving children everything they think they need, but also on what their partner needs. Remember, that mother or father of your child is also your friend and your lover. You have to figure out a way to keep that relationship relevant.

When you as a relationship and sex expert “peek behind the relationship curtain” as you put it, what do you see?

From new research, we see the importance of affection. These can be even small acts — holding hands, spontaneous kisses, backrubs, for instance. It’s surprising how few parents take get-away vacations. We found only one-fourth do that, and it is so important to a relationship. In fact, 80 percent of the couples who describe themselves as “extremely happy” go on date nights, date lunches or the like.

But not every look behind that curtain is a pretty picture, is it?

No, but one thing we find is that couples feel surprising loyalty to their spouse even when the relationship doesn’t feel right, or even when it may be deteriorating. What makes a relationship work is giving credibility to that partnership, not just the sex life — though that is part of it — but bringing together your spirit, your mind, your will and your body to do what you need to do.

If one spouse is staying home with the kids and the other is working out of the house, how can couples resolve that challenge?

Whoever is interacting with the kids, whether it’s mom or dad, has to have a lot of support. You may feel like a well-oiled machine as a family with people doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, but if it doesn’t touch the emotional needs of both partners, it’s a problem.

So to stay happy, couples need to cultivate their emotional health and the intimacy part as well?

Definitely. A couple’s sexuality has to be recognized. You can’t let it go as something that used to happen in the olden days before kids.

HEAR DR. SCHWARTZ SPEAK ON BALANCING LIFE, LOVE AND YOUR GROWING FAMILY

May 15 and 18
Get tickets here

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