Professors John and Janice Baldwin teach SOC 152A, a course on human sexuality. LAURYN CUMMINS / DAILY NEXUS

UC Santa Barbara sociology professors Janice Baldwin and John Baldwin’s love story began in an unexpected twist of fate — a blind date, or as they fondly recall it, a “fixed-up blind date.” Both hailing from Ohio, their paths crossed at night on a romantic boat ride in Miami. 

“I was going to the University of Miami for summer school,” Janice said, “and we went on a blind date on a fishing boat, over the coral reefs.” They admitted that the spark was instant, with John humorously adding, “We didn’t catch anything fish-wise, but we caught each other. That was the biggest catch.”

Reminiscing about their budding love, John remembered how badly he wanted to take Janice out. “I invented a second date,” he said, “that was just … to die for …at one of the famous skin diving beaches in Florida.” In less than a year, they both knew the other was the one; John proposed while they were swimming in the Florida Keys on a romantic getaway. 

Teaching Human Sexuality, one of UCSB’s sociology classes, has only strengthened their love for each other. Janice described how their conversations are so stimulating that they often stay up late into the night, to which John agreed. “You read a whole bunch of books and you’re getting different perspectives and talk about it for hours,” he said. 

The Baldwins’ class is one of UCSB’s most popular courses. LAURYN CUMMINS / DAILY NEXUS

Learning about human sexuality played a part in the success of their relationship as they were able to define deeper processes, including through the Social Exchange Theory. “[The theory] gave us the structure for knowing what we want as we exchanged because social exchange is about the constant exchanges that are going on between people,” John said.

Through discussions on Social Exchange Theory and insights from philosophers like Walter Kaufmann, the couple set high goals for a successful relationship, in contrast to the pain they witnessed in both of their parents’ relationships. When identifying the keys to a happy relationship, pure honesty, kindness and trust shone through.

Taking a non-traditional approach to Valentine’s Day, Janice explained that everyday should be special.“Bringing a card to a person just because it’s today is really nice, or John has written me poems and that’s really special,” she said. “But it’s the smaller things that make up life. It’s the little things of every day.” 

The strength of their bond was palpable.“You know that’s true after you’ve been married as long as we, you know that every day has the potential to be fabulous,” John said. “So everyday that is what we want to do.”