Community Psychiatric Centers
Monroeville, Greensburg, Monessen, and Wilkinsburg Pittsburgh
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February 14, 2023

Would You Rescue Your Spouse Before Your Kids?

I originally published this post in late 2014; it's one of my favorites and I hope one of yours. I'm reminded daily of the power of family on a child's life, especially that of a mother and father working in tandem. This Valentine's Day, this is a good post in regards to the importance of the mother/father - husband/wife relationship as the foundation of the home, and the springboard for what creates healthy and secure children. The celebration of Valentine's Day serves as a great reminder to foster and bolster that relationship all year round. So, without further ado:

Here’s a Story For You:

A Dad and his son were fishing in a boat. The son looked toward his Dad and inquired, “Dad, if Mom and I fell out of the boat and were drowning, who would you save first?” His Dad, without hesitating, responded “Son, I’d have your Mother in the boat, and dried off, before I’d even think about coming after you.” The son, astonished, looked with eyes wide and was about to exclaim his disapproval but stopped, appeared contemplative, then grinned and said, “Yea, that’s the way it should be.”

The Kid’s Pretty Wise

The son came to understand that the strength of the home, the foundation of the family, is Mom and Dad, together in harmony, close in their relationship, working for the family, strong in their bond, and on the same page with the kids. It’s true, there is no stronger glue to hold the family together than when Mom and Dad are secure in their relationship, which helps the kids to also be secure with themselves. Secure kids are far more likely to be calmer, more compliant, and easier in disposition. Of course, we don’t want to interpret the story literally, any number of factors may contribute to the Dad rescuing his son first (his wife is a better swimmer…) but, of course, that’s not the point of the story.

Single Parent?

If you’re a single parent, for whatever reason, then you’re undoubtedly doing the best you can, and God bless you in your efforts. The sentiment of this post in no way diminishes your diligence and love for your children or suggests that your child is not healthy and happy. The basis of this story is simply to express the importance of parents remaining strongly committed, and there are advantages of having two loving, committed, and harmonious parents working together with the kids. In a single-parent situation, when possible, it’s optimal that both parents remain highly involved with the children, civil with one another, and work toward having consistent expectations between the homes.

Bottom Line?

Simple; do whatever you can to maintain the sanctity, security, commitment, closeness, and bond in your marriage. Place your spouse first in your life (well, technically, second to God, but He too understands the importance of two becoming “one”… see Genesis 2:24). Live like it’s you two against the world, and you’ll always be ready for that overboard plunge. 

Do You Need Some Help?

Raising a child with developmental issues, or who is quite strong-willed, can be quite taxing for parents, and it can be difficult to 'stay on the same page' and continue working together in that team-like fashion. If you need some help in that respect, don't hesitate to contact me at

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