From Chaos to Connection: Is connection really possible during all of this chaos?

A few years ago, on my tenth wedding anniversary, my husband and I visited our wedding venue. After spending the day walking the grounds of the beautiful winery where we got married, I reflected on our years together. I remember the moment when I turned to my husband and said, “I think I’m going to write a book.” I was about 85 percent sure I meant it. As I’m now approaching the release date of my book, From Chaos to Connection: A Marriage Counselor’s Candid Guide for the Modern Couple, I am eager and hopeful that my words as a wife, mother, and marriage counselor will help couples. Especially now, as we are struggling through pandemics, quarantines and virtual learning, couples need help now more than ever.  

Through the last several years, I have seen an increase in couples coming to therapy with the same struggles, many of them parents, with school-aged or younger children. They fight about the same things, over and over. I hear the same words shared from stay-at-home moms about how “he doesn’t understand how hard this can be.” Weary parents sit before me day after day, lamenting how they are drifting farther and farther apart, due to the busyness of their jobs and all the kids’ activities, and how they don’t have time for each other. I hear the sole providers describe the stress of carrying the financial burden and therefore, put so much into their work that their spouses are left feeling like single parents.  

As I was hearing the same struggles from couples, over and over, I realized that at the same time, I was in it too. I have two young kids and also know the feeling of drowning in the demands of being a mother, a wife and business owner. I was helping these couples through the same chaos I was wading through myself.  

I remember thinking this is really unfair! Yes, I know how to navigate these struggles, but only because I spend more time in a month learning what makes relationships work than most people do in a lifetime. Even with all of this knowledge, insight and amazing tools in my relational tool belt, my husband and I were still having the same fights and struggles as other couples. They only difference is we have insider knowledge on how to handle them. Sure, I have a connected marriage despite all the chaos, but I am well positioned for this!

I felt angry for my clients. It shouldn’t require a decade of training in counseling to have a close and connected marriage. The average person doesn’t have the time, energy, and resources to devote to learning all of this and we don’t teach how to have healthy relationships in school. And they surely don’t have time to learn all of this now—especially with kids and life—who has time for that? I felt for my clients—of course this is hard and you feel ill-equipped!

Then, I took a long, hard look at our culture. The reality of modern marriages is that we are facing a set of ridiculous expectations and standards, with less and less support. We may live far away from families, our spouses travel weekly for work, or have what seems like 17 busy seasons in one year. While our support has dwindled, our standards have risen. We are swirling in over-scheduled, activity-filled chaos that is culturally accepted and even glorified. We say “Wow! You handle a job, endless kid activities, PTA positions and homeroom parent! You are so amazing!” Around every corner is the pressure to put your kid in this activity, or join that team, or pursue this promotion or volunteer for that school function. The pull away from our marriages during this time of life is relentless. Instead of blaming our over-scheduled culture, we unfortunately blame our partners. We blame them for not being enough, doing enough, supporting enough. I wanted this cycle to stop.  

So I started writing. I wrote what I knew. I wanted to write it in a way that was easy to read for the weary, exhausted couple. Therefore, the book is light-hearted and relatable. You get to know me. I wanted to be authentic and transparent about who I am, what I go through, the struggles in my home and how I handle them. I wanted to show you that you’re not alone. I also wrote about my experiences helping couples through the same struggles time and time again.

I am eager, nervous, excited, and hopeful to share this book with you soon. It’s available for pre-order here and you can get a few sneak peeks in the coming weeks by signing up for my newsletter here.

If you leap onto my virtual couch and take a read, I truly hope it helps your relationship.

~Lori Epting

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