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Alison Sweeney: ‘How I make my relationship work’


Actress (Days of Our Lives), TV host (The Biggest Loser), producer, novelist, working mom… and SheKnows Expert Alison Sweeney will be checking in each month with her best advice on relationships, career, inspiration and radiant living.

You’re a very busy working mom. What’s your best “fail” story when it comes to fitting romance into your life? And your best tip to keeping the relationship spark alive?

Well, being a working mom means that organization is key. I’m juggling a lot of different schedules, and sometimes things don’t always work out, but my husband Dave and I work hard to keep our relationship solid apart and separate from our role as parents, even if it’s just snuggling watching TV together after the kids are in bed.

Truly, one of the times I got the most mad at him is when I thought he had watched Survivor without me. It was totally a DVR betrayal — but then, when I clicked on it, it showed he’d paused it after like two seconds, and I realized I had totally overreacted! We laugh about it, but the shows we watch together are sacred. It was like a serious pact when he committed to waiting until I got back from filming on location to watch the Breaking Bad finale together. That’s LOVE!

I think the trick to keeping the spark alive is engaging in their life and sharing yours. Not just mundane day-to-day business of family or kids, but really finding the stuff you enjoy together. Dave and I love to travel, we go to music concerts together, we even love the heated discussions after we watch something on Netflix. It’s just about connecting.

Like Sonia, the character you play in Love on the Air, you’ve described yourself as a type-A person. What kind of relationship challenges do you think being type A has thrown you, and how did you meet them? (Fellow type-A person here, please advise.)

Alison Sweeney in 'Love Is in the Air'
Image: Hallmark Channel

I’m definitely a self-diagnosed type-A person. I identified with Sonia the first time I read the script. Independence is so important to me — I am still (15 years of marriage later) reluctant to hand Dave the jar to open for me. Yes, it can lead to isolation if you let it, so I guess it comes down to picking your battles.

Just really choose the things that matter to you, and learn to let the rest pass.

Your birthday was a couple of days ago — happy birthday! How has your perspective on love and relationships changed most in the past 10 years? What’s the most romantic birthday gift you ever got?

Thank you. I love birthdays. My perspective on love and relationships has matured as my perspective on everything has. It’s so important to place realistic expectations on an ongoing, forever commitment like marriage. It’s just not always going to seem like a date on The Bachelor.

And its about finding romance, and signs of love in the little things, like when Dave finds my phone after I’ve gone to bed and puts it on the charger for me — that is so sweet, and I let him know how much I appreciate it! Those are just as important to notice as the big gestures for a wedding, birthday or anniversary.

Best birthday gift? Dave always gets me really special, unique gifts. Like, one time I cried my eyes out watching this elephant being abused on the news. And so he made a big donation in my name for my birthday to an elephant sanctuary. It was such a special, thoughtful gesture.

You’re making a guest return to Days of Our Lives next month. What about Sami’s ongoing quest for love resonated most with you?

Yeah, I was thrilled to visit Salem and all my friends at Days again. I miss them! I’ve always admired Sami’s spirit — and her sort of never-say-die attitude towards love. She always managed to brush herself off and try again when it came to love. Also, she always wore her heart on her sleeve. There’s a certain courage in that I always admired. There are lots of lessons from Sami on what NOT to do (ha ha), but you know, I always respected how she would just give her all when it came to love.

SheKnows: What are your top three all-time favorite rom-coms?

Bridget Jones’ Diary, The Princess Bride, Say Anything.

Love on the Air airs on Hallmark on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m./8 p.m. Central time.

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