Raising kids is many things. Exciting. Rewarding. Joyful. Frustrating. Terrifying. Often you may swing wildly from one of these feelings to the next with little warning.

But in the day-to-day of dealing with young children, one feeling is probably far more prevalent than any other: exhaustion.

Quite simply, kids wear you out. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally.

You have to do everything for them while striving to teach them to be self-sufficient. You have to ride their roller coaster of emotions without getting sucked in yourself. You are their jungle gym, their punching bag, and their mode of transportation.

And, of course, you have to worry that everything you do may be the wrong thing. You may struggle with thinking that it will be your fault if your kids are unsuccessful, leading to painful emotions, such as fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, sadness, or frustration.

After all of that, how in the world can you be expected to have anything left to give to your spouse? How can you be expected not to snap at them when they ask if you washed the shirt they need or remembered the milk on the way home from work?

Of course you didn’t. They’re lucky you even got out of bed that day!

But you can’t give in to these feelings, because over time, they will drive a wedge between the two of you.
What can you do? How can you stay connected when it’s all you can do to stay on your feet?

Don’t stay on your feet.

Parenthood, possibly more than anything else in life, teaches us how to keep putting one foot in front of the other when it seems impossible. Once you’ve done it for a while, you can even start to get used to it. Not better at it, just used to it.

Unfortunately, just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. Living like this causes irreparable harm both to you and those around you.

The solution? Stop. Whenever the chance to rest arises, take it.

This can feel difficult at first. All those things you’re not getting done! But it’s utterly worth it.
Because you’ll soon discover that a well-rested you is both far better at meeting your responsibilities… and much more pleasant to be around.

Work on your relationship.

Get educated on how to really love another person. Marriage is hard, but it doesn’t have to stay this way. Quality relationship education is essential.

One has to ‘work’ on becoming married. This includes, but isn’t limited to, effective communication. Healthy feelings of guilt and fear could be important with messages suggesting you pay attention to becoming a better spouse, in order to become a better co-parent.

There are wise family experts who’ve suggested that the vast majority of us parents (I include myself!) are only ‘post-adolescent neurotics having kids, with little if any effective preparation for creating emotional health for themselves or their kiddo’. Chuckle, have a sense of humor, but understand that this is very important: it’s virtually impossible to be ‘one grain of sand’ better as a parent than I am a spouse.

A primary need of every child is for their mommy to love their daddy with Real Love – and vice-versa. (And if you’re divorced, then it’s a major need of your young child that you behave with some understanding and compassion towards the other co-parent.)

The greatest gift most parents can give to their children is to complete the Imago Couples Workshop, because you’ll learn how to co-create a marriage you both can love. And from your workshop, you’ll also learn how to become a better co-parent.

Share your appreciation.

Spend a few minutes each day recognizing all of the ways that your spouse kept the wheels from falling off and made your life easier – even if it didn’t feel like it in the moment. Write a list if it helps.

Then – and this is the most important part – share it with them. Preferably not at a time when they’re in the middle of 16 other things, but even then, it’s probably better than not saying anything.

It’s a reminder that you notice them. That everything they do matters. That you couldn’t do this without them.

Have fun together.

Remind each other why you fell in love in the first place: you enjoy one another’s company. Commit to regular date nights, just as you would an exercise routine or diet. It’s important for the health of your relationship.

If finances or childcare are issues, have a date night at home after the kids are in bed. Play a board game, cook a romantic dessert together, or sample a new bottle of wine. It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as it is an opportunity to interact, have fun, and spend time just the two of you.

Need help reconnected? Reach out to a Houston marriage therapist or attend an Imago couples workshop. Invest in your relationship – and your family!

The work you put into your relationship today will not just have a positive impact on the rest of your lives; it will help the lives of your children, their children, and their children. It is an investment in the future of your family.

Here are a few reasons why IMAGO relationship work is a gift that will live on long after you and your partner have passed.

You Show Your Children What a Loving Relationship Looks Like

Think of the impact that your parents had on you and your relationships.

Our parents are the first example of a romantic relationship that we see as we grow. The traits that we look for in a partner are largely influenced by the way our parents set an example for what a relationship looks like and the responsibilities of each partner in that relationship.

When couples learn healthy ways of being in a relationship, they model these positive behaviors for their children. Then those children will be more likely to seek a healthy relationship themselves, modeling it for their children. And then those children will do the same. And on and on.

The Universal Power of the IMAGO Toolkit

IMAGO relationship education provides you and your partner with a “toolkit” that allows you to communicate effectively, show affection, and work and grow together.

These communication tools and techniques are not just useful with your partner but in all areas of your life, including your relationship with your child. In effect, they will make you a better parent.

And just as you were a model for what a romantic relationship looks like, you are a model for what a parent-child relationship should look like. Your children will benefit from your example when they have their own children, passing down that powerful IMAGO toolkit as they do.

Improved Sibling Relationships

More and more psychological research studies have revealed the heretofore downplayed significance of trauma in sibling relationships. They almost always are important relationships, in both negative and positive ways, with lasting impact.

IMAGO relationship work specializes in healing, growing, and learning new ways to love, helping many clients heal these important relationships, to varying degrees dependent on the efforts of all parties. Though results cannot be guaranteed in any therapy, Imago leads the way in transforming relationships into better, more effective, and more relaxed ones.

You can bring the powerful tools of IMAGO in your children’s lives to help them connect with one another, as well as serve as a model by healing your relationship with your siblings. This can impact your family for generations – as well as your siblings’ families.

Pass Down a Passion for Learning

When you and your partner embrace IMAGO couples education and relationship work, you show your children the value of learning about interpersonal relationships.

The lessons you will share are timeless. Each child, whether they are born in 1952 or 2052, will be born with Core Energy and develop Core Values throughout their life. Texting and Facebook haven’t changed the way that the messages we receive from others impacts our sense of Self and how we look to complete our Self with our partner.

And advancements in psychology and our understanding of interpersonal relationships will continue to be made. Your children are much more likely to seek out that knowledge if they have seen the value it brought to you and your partner.

What Legacy Will You Leave Your Children and Grandchildren?

The psychological health of kids is extremely dependent upon the relationship of their parents, including ex-spouses.  What parents model with their behaviors (including body language) versus what they say verbally is what is most impactful on a child, whether 2 or 20.

Reach out to learn more about Houston IMAGO Couples Workshops and Relationship Therapy, and get started building a legacy of love that can be passed on to the next generation. The Center also offers family therapy; please call us for more information.

Communication is a two-way street.

If you share something exciting with your partner, you may want to receive a similar, excited energy. But what happens when you get a negative response or your partner just isn’t interested in what you have to say?

Think about the following scenario.

You have big news; your sister is getting married! So ,after you hang up with your sister, you rush into the living room and ask your partner, “Guess what?” and spill the beans!

But rather than getting an excited response… your partner shrugs you off.

Experiencing Pain? Make a Change

You may have felt this pain before. Getting the cold shoulder or a negative response from your partner certainly hurts.

Luckily, there are ways that you can prevent this pain. It just requires adjusting the way you communicate with your partner.

This pain doesn’t necessarily mean that your partner is feeling negatively toward you. Often, it is a sign that you need to make a behavioral change. To discover and make that productive change, practice empathy. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes.

Let’s reverse the roles for a second.

In this scenario, you are focusing on writing a stressful email for work. You are struggling to find the right way to phrase it when, all of a sudden, your focus and concentration are broken.

Your partner runs into the room, rushing to tell you big news about who-knows-what. Well, there’s no hope for you finishing this email now!

This can be frustrating. As humans, we can only really focus on one task at a time.

In order to listen to our partner or answer their question, we need a few seconds to transition. During those few seconds, our faces could tell the real story behind our frustration or inability to focus on what our partner is saying.

How to Use a “Soft Start” With Your Partner

When you start a conversation with your partner, you add a new energy into the room. If this energy is loud and overwhelming, your partner will need time to get up to your level and change their mindset.

In the email example, the listener is not ready to do this, which is where conflict arises.

So how do you ensure that you are heard in a way that doesn’t upset your partner? Consider a “soft start.”

This type of approach uses a softer energy to approach your partner and introduce the conversation with your partner’s consent. Rather than forcing the conversation on your partner, you invite them into the conversation.

You may ask something like this:

  • “Hey honey, I have something exciting to tell you. Are you free at the moment?”
  • “Hello! I would love to chat about my day with you. Is now a good time?”

This allows your partner to transition more smoothly into a conversation with you. They can stay in a more reserved energy if they were concentrated on a single task.

If the time is good to talk, you can continue on with your conversation. If the time isn’t good, let your partner know where you will be when they are ready.

When both of you can decide on a good time together, you will have a more productive, engaging, and positive conversation together.

Learn more tips for healthy and engaging communication with your partner by reaching out to a Houston marriage therapist.

Some people work hard to be the center of attention. They may do this by flaunting possessions, like their car or clothing. Or they might show off their social status through touting their income, body shape, or the size of their home.

Sometimes they simply remind you frequently about how smart, successful, or great they are. And they may have friends or colleagues that admire them.

Does this sound like you or your partner? Ask yourself: are these behaviors driven by ego or self-esteem?

Sometimes it’s not so easy to tell, but there is a distinct difference between the two. And while self-esteem is healthy, ego isn’t.


Here are a few signs that someone has self-esteem:

  • They are connected to their real authentic Self, expressing their thoughts and emotions in appropriate, connected ways.
  • They behave in a way that aligns with their core values.
  • They treat themselves and others with respect, compassion, and empathy.
  • They are comfortable setting, maintaining, enforcing, and reviewing healthy boundaries.
  • They are confident, connected, open-minded, and curious.
  • They embrace ideas, people, culture, and customs different from their own.
  • They do the right thing even when no one is watching.
  • They take responsibility for their actions and behavior.
  • Their behavior matches their internal goodness and Core Values.

You could compare someone with self-esteem to a rock: solid. What you see on the outside is also on the inside.


Here are a few signs that someone is behaving based on ego and has low self-esteem:

  • They are disconnected from their real Self, showing a false self to the world.
  • They don’t behave in a way that aligns with their Core Values.
  • They are often thin-skinned, quick to become angry when someone has a different point of view.
  • They make claims about themselves without having the accomplishments to back it up.
  • They call a lot of attention to themselves when they are doing the right thing.
  • They blame others for their own failures and missteps.
  • They often feel personally attacked and lash out.
  • They often devalue other people in an effort to feel more powerful.
  • They are addicted to Criticism (and ALL criticism is self-criticism, as all love is self-love).

You could compare someone with low self-esteem to an egg: fragile. Empty on the inside.

People often develop a large ego because their caregivers did not support their real self during childhood. They may have been treated as though they were incompetent, inadequate, unimaginative, or disappointing.

So, they create a false self to show the world that they are the exact opposite of these things. Creating and maintaining this false self takes a lot of energy. And since it is based more on appearance than action, it is an incredibly fragile façade. It is there to protect the person from feeling bad about themselves.

Does This Sound Like You?

If this rings true to you, you should know that your real self is still there. It’s inside you. Your ego is just acting as a placeholder until you can connect with your real self.

To access and accept your real self, you need to start by letting go of the negative labels and images that were fed to you during childhood. Then work to behave in ways that match your core values – even when no one is watching.

This won’t be an easy process, but it will help you to develop a deeper connection with others. Instead of using your energy to maintain that fragile false self, you can work towards building relationships with others who will love and support your real self.

As you reconnect with your real self, your self-esteem will rise. And as your self-esteem rises, your ego will fall. It won’t be needed anymore!

All of this individual work can best be done in couples therapy versus any other individual mode being a distant second. So, if you’re blessed now with a current partner and have a competent Couples Therapist, and especially if you both have Imago’s Couples Workshop under your belts, you’ll be able to build a stronger, healthier, and happier relationship with yourself and your partner.​