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One thing that is beyond doubt is that children are very sensitive to the quality of the relationship between their parents. If you’re parenting on your own – that can be tough and so The Parenting Place will support you as best we can. If you’re parenting as team – as a couple – then we know that that can be tough too! Better blokes than myself have had their marriages and relationships fail, so you won’t get a scrap of judgement from me if things have come unstuck but, if I can, I always like to help couples make a go of it.

I’ve got to say, Yay! for Valentine’s Day. I want to assure you that it is possible to be both a hopeless romantic and a gritty realist. On Valentine’s Day I shall give my wife a corny card and a small gift and say mushy things and she will do likewise and we will believe those mushy things and we will both smile. That is the hopeless romantic side. The gritty realism is that after several decades of marriage, she knows what she’s got and what’s not fixed by now isn’t ever going to get fixed.

My wife and I have been doing marriage and relationship seminars for years, and I’ve done a fair bit of relationship counselling, and here is something that I reckon is pretty close to the heart of going the distance with your partner – put up with it. They are not going to change. They are who they are and it’s not their fault you chose them. Yes, some problems can be solved – I teach wonderful problem-solving techniques for couples – but honestly, a lot of stuff doesn’t get sorted. Researcher Kira Birdett asked 800 people who the most annoying person in their world was and the most common answer was their spouse! As they get older, that annoyance remains, but here’s the mystery – they get used it, and they get on with it, and they love each other. The real keys are grace – which is generous love that doesn’t keep score – and kindness.

So, yay for Valentine’s Day. Celebrate it. Embrace reality, and then embrace each other. Life isn’t always perfect, but with some grace and kindness, you can still have some perfect moments.


About Author

John Cowan

Writer, speaker and broadcaster, John Cowan shares his insight and opinions about the latest in parenting and family news in New Zealand. Hear John speak on radio stations every week throughout the country and regularly on national TV.  Follow @JohnCowanNZ on Twitter

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