Working out what makes a good marriage

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2013
James and Diane Daniels

THIRD TIME LUCKY: James Daniels with third wife, Diane.

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With three marriages under his belt over the past 40 years, James Daniels says he has finally figured out "how to love a woman".

With the international day of romance tomorrow, the 58-year-old former Christchurch man shared his thoughts on relationships and love.

Daniels married his first wife, Sue, in New Brighton on February 3, 1973. He was just 17 and his pregnant wife was 16.

Friends were shocked by his quick nuptials.

"Not many people got married quite so quickly after finishing their schooling. The holidays hadn't even finished," he said.

Their baby daughter was born shortly after.

Eight years and a second daughter later, the marriage fell apart.

"I had not grasped the fact that men no longer ruled the roost. Women were being empowered and female expectations within relationships had changed through the 1970s," he said.

"While I struggled with that outcome, I eventually got over myself."

Within six months of ending his first marriage, Daniels had met his second wife, Nikki. They were together for 11 years before divorcing.

"I left that relationship with regret, half the assets and a son," he said.

"After 12 years of being essentially single - apart from a couple of significant relationships - I finally met my last wife."

Daniels then met Diane, with whom he had attended North New Brighton School many years before.

"While I remembered the name, I hadn't had anything to do with her at school," he said.

She had spent 11 years overseas and had two young daughters. The pair married in 2005 within 18 months of meeting.

"It's heading for being my longest marriage," Daniels said.

He was now happily settled in his third marriage.

"[Diane] now benefits from the fact that I've finally figured out how to love a woman," he said.

"Maybe there is such a thing as third time lucky."

Daniels said there were two common denominators from each of his weddings - himself and his best man. "Stuart Lockie has been my best man three times."

He had "no regrets" from his two failed marriages, but had realised that "relationships require two equal partners".

What's your secret to a long-lasting partnership?

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- The Press

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