Get Everyone Laughing
Humor is one of the best gifts a man can bring to his wife and children. A husband and father who knows how to playfully resolve a dilemma can head off many of the unpleasant stresses of family life.
Appropriate humor lets you tell the truth without hurting yourself or others. In contrast to mocking wit, good humor never excludes other people. As opposed to deceptive repartee, humor lets you call a spade a spade.
Paternal humor is a legacy in Gordon's family -- something handed down from generation to generation. His wife, Bernice, always appreciated the way he could see the humor in their child-rearing experiences, whether the crisis of the moment was the baby sharing the dog's dish or the children helpfully painting the basement walls red.
Humor is a good way to open the pressure valve that allows for the reduction of conflict and stress. "Against the assault of laughter," Mark Twain once said, "nothing can stand."
Put Your Wife First
Your relationship with your spouse existed prior to your child's birth and will continue long after your children leave the nest. By loving your child's mother, you are giving your son or daughter an extremely precious gift -- a stable base in a turning world.
Joe's daughter, Pat, put it this way: "My parents made it very clear, without saying it, that each other came first and the rest of us as a group came second. There was no doubt in any of our minds."
There is wisdom here. Joe listened to his wife describe her experiences as a new mother, both good and bad. He shared childcare responsibilities equally. He knew that when a husband-wife relationship breaks down, it becomes a tremendous struggle to be a good enough father.
He realized, in short, that a strong partnership is key to a strong family. With adequate planning, a cool head, a ready sense of humor and a deep love for your wife, you can keep your marriage strong enough to withstand even the toughest pressures of parenthood.