TODAY

TODAY   |  March 26, 2013

How to keep love life alive during stressful times

Psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor and therapist Hal Runkel discuss how stress often makes its way into your love and sex relationship with your partner. They also offer strategies for dealing with it: exercising together, sharing household tasks, and  making your relationship a priority.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> today on frazzled to focused, your love life . do you have kids, a husband, a full-time job, friends, family and no time?

>> it's no surprise romance doesn't make it to the top of your list. but here to help us out, dr. janet taylor and dr. rankel.

>> funny book.

>> it's a work of fiction.

>> you do sort of see where romance gets bumped down the list. certain things have to happen. you have to pay bills, you have to pick the children up.

>> you have to feed children.

>> and stress and love and sex begin and end in the brain. when you are stressed, the last thing you're thinking about is romance or how to create some specific ambience.

>> i'm glad you use the word romance. too often, we confuse sex with love , right?

>> there's plenty of people who say, me and the wife got intimate last night? what does that mean? you shared deep feelings with each other? it's a euphemism for sex. just because we have sex, we're actually connecting.

>> that's not the case.

>> no, plenty of people connect with their genitals to avoid each other with their eyes.

>> for women, desire and passion, you have to be loved and supported by your partner. if you don't have that, you're not interested.

>> in a busy day with a lot going on, how do you prioritize that? how do you move that up the list?

>> you understand that support is important, romance is important. connecting is important. so for some people, it may be including getting intimate and finding time for each other on your to-do list, scheduling time together.

>> seems unromantic, though, doesn't it? i'm going to put you on my to-do list.

>> and yet if you're talking about prioritization, we prioritize things when we put them on a to-do list or on a calendar. what relationship is first place? is it your kids?

>> depending on their age.

>> true. but you can't complain about, you can't squeeze in time for your romance. there's no --

>> what advice do you give to a couple who says, our kids are important, we just don't have time?

>> i say you haven't prioritized your relationship. it ain't in first place. show me first place -- are you putting your date night on the calendar before anything else?

>> that's what they should do?

>> absolutely.

>> what if you're about to get a dog. this is going to complicate everything, including your love life .

>> spending time with your partner, husband, yourself, doesn't have to be in the bedroom. if you're getting a dog, go for a walk together.

>> see! the dog is going to help me, not hurt me.

>> i think the dog's going to be wonderful for you. i just know you're not going to believe how it changes the dynamic of your everyday life , right?

>> the question i always ask couples is, is this romantic relationship your number one priority? or is it --

>> what if somebody says, no, my relationship with god is?

>> i would say and that's going to help you prioritize -- reprioritize all your other relationships. that's great. what does god want you to do in terms of your other relationships? i've told my kids, i love your mother a little bit more than i love you.

>> are they all in rehab?

>> one time, my son -- he was angry at me, whatever and -- he was yelling at his mother. and i do not make the mistake of saying, don't talk to your mother that way. i said, don't talk to my wife that way. well, she's my mom -- she was my wife before she was your mom.

>> wow!

>> i like how you talk like that.

>> it ended up being a