Couples, Divorced People: This One’s For You

Kim Pryor with EPIC-on Chair Desiree Holt at the Murder Mystery Themed Award Ceremony

The Indestructible Relationship Wins International Award for Non-Fiction

If You’re A Couple Going Through Stressful Times Or A Divorced Person Trying to Figure Out What Went Wrong With Your Marriage, I’m Dedicating This Award To You

On March 17, I won the 2012 EPIC eBook Award for non-fiction. But it wasn’t just me who won the award. It was the couples who shared their inspirational and dramatic stories with me for the book. Barb and Wayne, whose relationship changed dramatically when Wayne became a quadriplegic a month after their wedding. Meryl and George, who suffered the heartbreak of losing their son Danny when he was 11 years old. Louise and Martin, who experienced tension when Louise became a different and stronger person after surviving cancer. And all the other couples whose relationships were affected by everything from work stress to bankruptcy to natural disasters to chronic illness.

Someone who bought The Indestructible Relationship recently paid it a tremendous compliment. She said, “I am really enjoying it and learning a lot! To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would benefit from the book as Jim and I have been together 30 years and have successfully weathered some major storms. But, I was wrong. Great book.”

The couples in The Indestructible Relationship do have some incredible wisdom to share. So I’m dedicating this award to any couple out there who wants to feel more at peace after experiencing stress as well as divorced people who want to understand why their marriage fell apart.

For more information about the award—-as well as the ghostly experiences I had while attending the awards ceremony in a haunted hotel—-please read the press release below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition™ (EPIC) Awards The Indestructible Relationship Top Honors for Non-Fiction

Gardnerville, NV—Gardnerville author Kimberly Pryor has won the 2012 EPIC eBook Award™ in the non-fiction category for her book The Indestructible Relationship: Support and Understand Each Other Better During Grief, Illness, Catastrophic Loss and All Life’s Stressful Moments. The annual competition, which draws entries from around the U.S. and the world, recognizes excellence in eBook content.

The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition™ (EPIC) presented Pryor with the award at the EPICon-2012 Convention in San Antonio, Texas on March 17 in front of a group of writers, book publishers, and freelance book editors.

According to Desiree Holt, the EPICon-2012 Chair, “to win the award the work must be riveting, entertaining, well-constructed and written in a manner to keep the reader interested—not an easy task. And it must shine above all others. Top quality works and best sellers are entered and only the cream of the crop even make it to the finals. To be chosen a winner signifies the author’s place at the top of his or her profession.”

There were almost 600 entries in this year’s competition, which included entries in 25 content-related categories such as non-fiction, historical romance, young adult, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense/thriller as well as entries in EPIC’s Ariana eBook Cover Art Awards™.

The Indestructible Relationship is a collection of moving, dramatic, inspirational, real-life stories that show how couples cope with stress and trauma. Pryor wrote the book to help two groups of people: couples who want to feel more at peace when they’re under stress as well as divorced and single people who are trying to understand why their last relationship fell apart and who need hope that everlasting love is possible.

“I’m dedicating this award to any couple anywhere who has gone through a stressful or traumatic experience,” said Pryor.

Pryor said EPICon-2012 was one of the most interesting writers’ conferences she’s ever attended, because it took place in a haunted hotel called The Menger across from The Alamo.

“Nearly everyone who attended the conference had a ghostly experience,” said Pryor. “The second night of the conference, I was knocking on the door of a fellow writer who was staying in the old section of the hotel built in 1859. As I stood there, I heard footsteps coming down the hallway to my left. When I turned my head there was no one there even though I continued to hear the footsteps walking toward me. Another writer swears that she felt someone kiss her hand even though no one was standing near her. I guess this gives a whole new meaning to the term ghost writer.”

The Indestructible Relationship is available on The Kindle or for The Nook and other electronic devices at www.indestructiblerelationship.com. It sells for $3.99, with 25 cents of every purchase going to The Compassionate Friends, a non-profit organization that helps families who have lost a child.

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The Alamo and The EBook Award

This week, I’ll be heading to San Antonio for the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards where The Indestructible Relationship is one of three finalists in the non-fiction category. I’ll be staying in a haunted hotel across from the Alamo.

Regardless of whether or not the book takes first place, I’m already a winner because I was able to connect with the couples in the book and hear their inspirational stories. And I’m a winner because I know some amazingly talented people who helped me in many ways with this book and for that I’m grateful.

The press release about the EPIC Award is below. If you’re a fellow writer, I invite you to enter the 2013 competition—they’ll be accepting entries in a month or so.

The Indestructible Relationship by Kimberly Pryor Named One of Three Non-Fiction Finalists in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards

Gardnerville, NV—The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition™ has chosen The Indestructible Relationship: Support and Understand Each Other Better During Grief, Illness, Catastrophic Loss and All Life’s Stressful Moments by Gardnerville author Kimberly Pryor as one of three finalists in the non-fiction category of the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. The annual national competition pays tribute to the best eBooks in the country.

EPIC will announce the winner at EPICon-2012 in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday, March 17, 2012. The announcement will come on the heels of “Read an eBook Week” March 4 – 10, 2012. EPIC was established in 1998 to provide a strong voice for electronic publishing. Once an authors’ organization, EPIC™ has expanded to include hundreds of professionals from all facets of the electronic publishing industry: authors, publishers, editors, artists, and others.

“When I wrote The Indestructible Relationship, I wanted it to be a collection of moving, dramatic, inspirational and real-life stories that showed couples how to cope with stress rather than tell them how to do so,” said Pryor. “The fact the book was chosen as a finalist in a national competition by a respected organization is a testament to its engaging, narrative non-fiction style that is as much about storytelling as it is about self-help.”

The Indestructible Relationship was written to help couples feel more at peace and get along better during all types of stress, whether it’s the stress of extra hours at work, dealing with cranky, screaming kids, or coping with a major trauma such as a chronically ill or paralyzed spouse, the death of a child, bankruptcy or having a home destroyed in a flood, tornado, hurricane or fire.

The Indestructible Relationship, which also was a finalist in the 2011 Global eBook Awards, is available for The Kindle or for other electronic devices at amazon.com and as a pdf eBook at www.indestructiblerelationship.com. It sells for $3.99, with 25 cents of every purchase going to The Compassionate Friends, a non-profit organization that helps families who have lost a child.

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The Three Universal Rules Of Love

Chiao Kee Lim, Award Winning Author, Founder and President of The Dirty 30s Club

Today, my friend Chiao Kee Lim is taking over The Indestructible Relationship blog to share some of the lessons she’s learned in the romance department. Her second rule may seem obvious at first, but it will serve as an important reminder. Because so often we try to force a budding relationship that simply isn’t meant to be because the person really isn’t into us. Chiao Kee’s blog entry is a must read. I also invite you to visit her blog, The Dirty 30s Club, for interesting perspectives on everything from how to find happiness to self empowerment.

The Three Universal Rules Of Love

By Chiao Kee Lim

In September 2011, I wrote the article Do You Know What Your Game Is on the second day of National Achievers Congress in Melbourne. The focus of that article was predominantly about the game of money and finance. I thought it is worth highlighting how the concept of games and rules apply to our personal relationships, in particular—our romantic relationships.

I was a late bloomer when it came to dating and love. My parents did not believe that we should have boyfriends when we were in school. In fact, they forbade it. My mother’s excuse was that boys were a distraction from our studies, and if we didn’t do well in school, we would have a hard life. All four of us went to a co-education primary school, where boys and girls mingled when they were still unfamiliar to the concept of dating. When high school rolled around, we were appropriately segregated. My brother went to an all-boys school while my sisters and I went to an all-girls school, aptly named after a convent. At the time, I did not think that my mother’s programming on me would have an effect that would spill into my adulthood, now I know better.

I didn’t start dating until I was in my twenties. I never knew how the game was played and what the rules were. Maybe there were no rules, I didn’t know. I just played it by ear and went into the dating game armed with what little knowledge I had from watching Disney and Hollywood films.

Of course, I know now that real life romance bears little resemblance to Hollywood romance, and that line “You complete me” from the movie Jerry Macguire is—without a doubt—responsible for many women’s distorted view about love. The thing about Disney and Hollywood is that they only ever end at “happily ever after.” The real challenge takes place after the “happily ever after.” It’s one thing to snag a man, it’s another to keep the relationship healthy and functioning for years to come. Unfortunately for many women, the primary goal is to have a wedding instead of a marriage. We were never taught about love, dating and relationships when we were in school. Those who are lucky might have learned a thing or two from their mothers and their fathers. Those who aren’t just fumble their way through the game of love and learn by trial and error.

Is it a wonder why 50 percent of marriages end in divorce?

I’m not a relationship expert. Everything I know about relationships came from my own failure in that arena. My painful experience about dating and love, the tough lessons I had to learn from dating more men than any of my friends have, has taught me more than I would otherwise have learned if the first guy I dated turned out to be my partner in life.

What I know about the game of love is that there are two sets of rules—the Universal and the Specifics. The Universal applies to all relationships while the Specifics apply to individual sets of relationships. Here’s my own take on what the Universal rules are:

Universal Rule #1:

Both parties must share similar beliefs and values about the important things in life—money, religion, family values, character values, sex, goals and dreams etc.

I learned the hard way that what people say about what they believe is not necessarily congruent with how they behave. I once dated a man who preached the importance of honesty in a relationship. On our first date, he confided in me on how he had been cheated on and he had been hurt by people who often lied to him. He told me that honesty is important to him, and he wanted to surround himself with honest people. I believed him. What I didn’t know was that he did not embody the value that honesty was a two-way street. We talked often about the values that were important to us, and for a while, it seemed to me that we were on the same page on all the important things in life.

Three months after we started dating, he went off the radar. One night, I tried to call him and the dial tone went straight to international roaming. I hung up by the third ring, puzzled and a little confused. Two weeks later, just before Christmas that year, he left a voicemail on my phone saying that he had gone to Perth and absent-mindedly left his phone at home, telling me to call him when I have the chance. It pained me to hear how easily he lied when I already knew the truth. When I finally confronted him, he relented and admitted that he had gone overseas but did not want me to know about it. He thought the lie about Perth was an easy cover up to save him from having to explain anything.

To cut a long story short, I found out later that he was seeing another woman. So much for his big speech on honesty. Sometimes people say things they think you want to hear, or they are unaware that their words and their actions are in conflict with each other; just bear this in mind when you have these important conversations about values and beliefs. Bear in mind also that values and beliefs can change too. The only way to keep these transparent is to talk about it openly and honestly. I know it’s not always easy to do but it helps to be aware.

Universal Rule #2:
Both parties have to want it with each other.

In addition to beliefs and values, there are many other pieces to this puzzle of love—proximity, chemistry, timing—and they all have to come together for a relationship to work. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to relationships. There is hardly any black and white evidence on whether long distance relationship works, whether opposites do attract etc. I have seen long distance relationships that work and short distance relationships that don’t. I have seen opposing personalities staying together longer than similar personalities. Likewise, I have also been in the flipside of both scenarios. And timing IS everything.

There is no blanket, generalized rule on what makes a relationship tick except that all the pieces of the puzzle have to come together and both parties have to want it with each other. At the end of the day, every relationship is made up of two individuals with free will and choice. A relationship is an agreement between two people. As far as agreement goes, we are all free to decide what the terms and conditions are that govern our personal relationships, that’s why some long distance relationship works and some don’t. Just as important as sharing similar values and beliefs is the requirement that both people have to want it with each other. This may sound like common sense but to the woman who is still hanging around the man who does not want to be with her, hoping he would come to his senses and change his mind, this rule makes the difference between maintaining her self-esteem and destroying it. I should know. I used to be that woman.

Universal Rule #3
Concrete triumphs abstract when it comes to laying down the specific rules for every relationship.

This rule deserves an entire book of its own. Ironically it’s a Universal rule about the Specific rules. The premise is simple—we are all different. We experience the world in different ways. We see things through different filters. We may all live on the same earth but we live in different realities. I talk about Definition vs Delusion in my upcoming book What My Mother Never Taught Me—The 7 Things I Wish I Had Known About Finding Happiness and Definition vs Delusion is exactly what this rule is all about.

Love means different things to different people. It looks different, sounds different, smells different, tastes different and feels different for every single individual. We all have our own definition of what love means to us and what needs to happen for us to be able to recognize something as love. To one person, love could mean getting a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolate on Valentine’s Day. To someone else, they might need to hear the words “I Love You” very often and the words have to be said with a certain tone in a certain way. To another, it could be having their partner/husband/boyfriend reverse their car out of the driveway every morning before they go to work so that they don’t have to do it themselves (this was what my dad did for my mum for as long as I can remember).

The rules and language for love is different for everyone. If you speak French to a German, he or she would not be able to understand you. You have to speak German to a German for the message to get across. The same goes for money, religion, family values, character values, sex etc. The word honesty means different things to different people. Just saying that honesty is important is not enough. The rules for honesty need to be concretely spelled out. What does honesty look like to you? To me, it means being upfront and open, telling the truth at all times, it means no lying, no withholding information and no cheating. To others, maybe it’s okay to withhold information because “technically it’s not lying, it’s just not telling the truth.” But that small difference in distinction alone can cause a big enough crack to break a relationship.

I try to keep the Universal rules as simple as possible. They are the rules I have learned through my own trial and error. You may agree with them or you may disagree with them, the choice is yours. When it comes to the Specific rules, it’s each relationship to its own. What works for one relationship may not work for another and vice versa.

The more important question is this—Do you have Specific rules for your relationship? Do you and your partner have an agreement on how to behave in your relationship? What are your rules on resolving an argument? What are your rules on how much time you spend with each other, how often you talk to each other and what you talk about? What are your rules on what activities you like to do together or not do together? These are all specific rules that are unique to your relationship. The rules that apply to your last relationship may not be the same ones that apply to this one, simply because the person you are with is a different person.

So, that—in a nut shell—is my own take on the rules to the game of love. What are some rules you apply to yours? I would love to hear from you, so leave me a comment at the end of the post.

To register for FREE chapters of What My Mother Never Taught Me—The 7 Things I Wish I Had Known About Finding Happiness, go HERE and join the mailing list.

To Love,
Chiao Kee

Chiao Kee Lim is a three-time award-winning author who won her first award at the age of 16. She is the President and Founder of The Dirty 30s Club – a blog that promotes self awareness and personal empowerment through stories and personal reflection, packed with a generous dose of humor and fun.

Chiao Kee Lim is a passionate student of personal development who started her journey in 2007 learning from world experts such as Tony Robbins, Bob Proctor, T. Harv Eker and Blair Singer in the areas of personal growth and the psychology of peak performance.

She is a voracious reader and an avid blogger. She lives in Melbourne, Australia and her book “What My Mother Never Taught Me-The 7 Things I Wish I Had Known About Finding Happiness” will soon be published.

To read more about Chiao Kee Lim, go to www.thedirty30sclub.com/blog. You can also find Chiao Kee on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ChiaoKee
or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TheOfficialChiaoKeeLimPage

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Five Great Relationship Books for Couples

There have been a lot of relationship books for couples written over the years. I’ve learned a lot from every one I’ve read. Yet, some of them stand out among the crowd. Here are some of my favorites, which cover everything from how to get guys to stop bad habits, how to communicate better with your significant other, how to avoid arguments and cope better with stress, and how to live with the heartbreak of infertility.

The Problem with Women… Is Men
By Charles J. Orlando

If you’re a woman, and you’re with a “typical” man, you’ll be begging your guy to read The Problem with Women… Is Men. If you’re a man, this book will help you realize what will make your woman happy and how to have a more peaceful relationship.

In The Problem with Women… Is Men, author Charles Orlando—a reformed playboy—takes men to task for their core flaws including lack of etiquette (burping and farting loud in front of their women or in public), uber-dominance (a desire to control everything including the woman you’re with), and infidelity. He shows men how to toss aside the ways of a “Man’s Man” and become an “Evolved Man.”

But despite the title of the book he doesn’t leave women blameless either. He reminds women to value their self-worth and to not put up with bad behavior just because you’re afraid of losing the man.

Secrets About Men Every Woman Should Know
By Barbara DeAngelis, Ph.D.

Secrets About Men Every Woman Should Know helped me understand how men think. For example, until I read this book I never realized why most men always want to sit facing the door when we’re in a public place.

Dr. DeAngelis points out the biggest mistakes women make with men, including one I was guilty of when I was in my 20s—mothering men.

In Secrets About Men Every Woman Should Know, Dr. DeAngelis also shares:

• Why men hate it when women get upset and emotional.

• How women can enjoy oral sex with their boyfriend or husband.

• Why giving advice to a man can make him feel like you don’t trust him.

• The discovery that men communicate best when they have a focus for the conversation.

After reading this book I didn’t only learn about men—I also learned a lot about myself and the way I relate to men.

Men might also want to check out Dr. DeAngelis’ book What Women Want Men to Know.

The Indestructible Relationship
By Kimberly Pryor

Okay. I know. It’s my own book. But Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul says that if you write a book to help people and you don’t ever promote the book it’s like having a cure for cancer and keeping it to yourself. And I wrote The Indestructible Relationship because I knew it could bring your own relationship to a whole new level. The wisdom presented in The Indestructible Relationship can help you:

• Stop saying hurtful things when you’re arguing and learn how to argue more effectively.

• Avoid the number one factor that can destroy a relationship in times of stress.

• Fall passionately back in love with your partner.

• Achieve one very important and easy change in your attitude that can revitalize a marriage in trouble.

• Discover a simple strategy you can use to see your partner’s point of view and head off arguments before they start.

The couples featured in the book have gone through some of the most stressful experiences anyone can face including cancer, bankruptcy, death of a child, having their home damaged in a wildfire or flood, and more. What they’ve discovered from their experiences can help you and your significant other overcome any stress—whether it’s your sick kids up all night or something more traumatic such as chronic illness.

The Indestructible Relationship was a finalist in the 2011 Global eBook Awards and is one of only three non-fiction finalists in EPIC’s 2012 eBook Awards.

Silent Sorority: A (Barren) Woman Gets Busy, Angry, Lost and Found
By Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos

One of the most heartbreaking things a couple can experience is the realization they’ll never be able to have children. According to the Mayo Clinic, 10 to 15 percent of couples in the United States are infertile.

In Silent Sorority, Tsigdinos shares the struggles she and her husband experienced in their efforts to conceive. The book portrays her journey toward accepting the knowledge she will never be a mother. For any couple going through the same challenge, this book will help you realize you’re not alone. Pamela’s thoughts, feelings, and wisdom will give you insight on how you, too, can find the strength to live with the enduring heartbreak of infertility.

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
By Gary Chapman

Chapman helps couples understand how to make each other feel loved. The secret, he says, is to speak your partner’s love language. If you don’t feel loved by your partner or your partner doesn’t feel loved by you, The Five Love Languages will help you understand why there’s a disconnect between the two of you. Chapman helps couples fill their “emotional love tank,” stopping the gauge from running on empty and helping many lukewarm marriages and relationships be reborn.

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How to Relieve Deadline Stress

Most of us have many deadlines we have to meet each week. Not just work deadlines but also things like coordinating an event for a non-profit you volunteer at, baking the cupcakes to bring to your child’s school the next day, getting your taxes done in time and countless other responsibilities. Two spouses who I interviewed for a book I wrote to help stressed couples faced a deadline of sandbagging the river to stop it from destroying their home—now that’s really stressful!

Deadlines are stressful regardless of whether you’re in a relationship or not. But if you’re in a relationship and under deadline it can strain what’s normally a peaceful union and interfere with intimacy in bed. If you have kids, it can even cause you to snap at them and feel bad about it later.

Imagine if you could relax and be at peace even when you’re under the gun to get something done. Here are some suggestions for both couples and singles on how to erase deadline pressure:

Try Meditation in a Cup

Green tea contains an amino acid known as L-theanine, which creates a sense of relaxation in approximately 30-40 minutes after your first sip. It accomplishes this in part by directly stimulating the production of alpha brain waves, creating a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to what you would feel during meditation. Subjects who consumed L-theanine in a clinical trial experienced a reduction in the heart rate responses to a stress task.

There’s also something deeply relaxing and comforting about holding a hot cup of tea in your hands on a cold day.

Inhale the Scent of Lavender

Scientists demonstrated the relaxing power of lavender oil aromatherapy in a clinical trial. One group of 15 subjects received lavender oil and oxygen through a face mask. Another control group of 15 volunteers also received oxygen through a face mask—but no lavender oil. The researchers then stuck a needle into the subjects to stress them out.

The subjects who received the aromatherapy were less stressed during the needle insertion than the controls. Even better, the pain intensity of the needle insertion was significantly decreased in the subjects receiving the lavender aromatherapy compared with the controls.

Keep a bottle of lavender aromatherapy oil by your desk or in your home and take a whiff whenever you’re stressed. Put a couple drops into hand lotion and rub it into your wrists or even into your feet at night. Or try growing lavender in the garden and put a lavender bouquet on your desk.

Remind Yourself to Breathe

Put a post it note on your computer to remind yourself to take deep breaths during deadlines. Or, trigger a breathing reminder by promising yourself you’ll inhale deeply each time you hear that “you’ve got mail” sound on your computer.

Separate The Deadline from The Date

If there’s a project you need to finish but you have to stop work to go on a date with your significant other or spouse, put up an imaginary glass wall between the deadline and your date. To do this, do something to temporarily detach yourself from the deadline. For example, turn off the computer and step outside for five minutes. Admire your garden. Gaze up at the sky. Take a deep breath. Shoot a few hoops. Or, if you have more time, take a hot bath or sit in the Jacuzzi.

Remind Yourself of Past Successes

Every month I have 2 – 4 newsletters to edit, write and produce for my client. Sometimes, there’s so much to do I’m afraid it won’t get done in time. But somehow, it always does and has for the last 12 years. So remember, you’ve successfully completed other deadlines. You’ll get through this one, too.

Pet Your Dog or Cat

Pets can melt away stress. And they’re good for the heart, too. Studies show your furry friends can even help reduce your blood pressure.

Pretend Your Significant Other is a Stranger

Too often we use our romantic partners as emotional punching bags. They’re the ones who often take the brunt of our stress. On the other hand, we’re nice to strangers and put on our best behavior for them. Instead of taking out your stress on your significant other, show them the same consideration and politeness you would to someone you barely know.

Take B Vitamins

A good B-complex supplement can help ease deadline stress. In one study, researchers examined the effect of 3 months’ administration of high-dose vitamin B complex on mood and psychological strain associated with chronic work stress. The subjects given the vitamin B complex reported feeling significantly less personal strain and a reduction in depressed/dejected mood after 12 weeks.

Go On a One-Minute Vacation

Close your eyes and pretend you’re watching the clouds drift across the sky or sitting by a mountain stream, listening to the water tumble over the rocks. Or picture yourself in a field of wildflowers. Do this for one-minute while taking deep breaths.

Make Sure the Timing Is Right

Never bring up relationship issues when your romantic partner is stressed from trying to meet a deadline. Wait until he or she is more relaxed and receptive.

Kimberly Pryor is the author of The Indestructible Relationship, a book she wrote to help the two of you support and understand each other better during stressful times. The Indestructible Relationship was a finalist in the 2011 Global eBook awards and is a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook awards.

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