On Marriage: Twelve Secrets to Having a Successful Marriage

Friday, February 27, 2015
I love my husband very much and I know he loves me. But sometimes, I want to kill him. I think that a perfectly normal response for two very strong, stubborn people trying to share a life.  But we have been married for almost 15 years, and I can say that we're fairly happy.

So here's twelve things I've learned about having a healthy marriage:

1. There is an emotion behind anger. Figure out what that emotion is, and deal with the root cause. 

Example: When our dog died, my husband became angry when I began to cry. He flat out told me to, "Get over it." 
This did not go over well. 

But I understood that his anger was from a sense of being out of control--I was upset and he hated seeing me upset and was unhinged by the fact that he couldn't fix me. He wanted it to stop immediately. I explained that that was exactly what I was doing--getting over it. That tears are part of grieving. I also told him how his reaction made me feel. He apologized. Which leads to #2. 

2. Forgive immediately and without grudges. You will likely have to forgive your spouse every single day. Do it quickly if you can. If not, see #2.

3. Ask for EXACTLY what you need. We usually need to feel connected to enjoy sex. If you need a hug and your spouse is not providing it, ask for one. If you need your spouse to sweep and mop the floor for you to feel connected enough (or relaxed enough) to have sex, ask them to (men don't get hints). 

If you want more sex, ask what you need to do for your spouse to want it more. Don't say, "I shouldn't have to ask." As Dr. Phil says, "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"

4. Ladies, make your spouse feel like your superhero. Most little boys want to grow up to save the day, make him feel this way. 

Men, make her feel like your princess. How you might ask, well that leads to #5. 

5. Find out what your spouse's love language is, and show them love in that way. Also, find out what your spouse's personality color is. It will help you understand their strengths and forgive their weaknesses--we all have them and while we can improve upon them, they're not going away. (FYI, I'm a blue and my husband is a red). 

6. Don't be a right fighter. If one person is right, that means the other person is wrong. You can't have a successful marriage with that kind of attitude. Instead, try to focus on both of you getting as much resolution as you can out of the conflict. 

7. You need a team of people to support you--and your spouse can't play every role, though they should be your team captain. My husband simply isn't able to meet all my needs. He's an introvert, and I'm an extrovert. I need people and adventures to feel alive, while the same activities drain him. So I have friends I go running with. I also have friends I go shopping with, or out to dinner. I come home feeling alive and he doesn't begrudge me that. 

8. Money. Money is always a problem. We were super poor the first 10 years of our marriage. It was HARD (whoever said money doesn't make you happy was an idiot). For us, I used to do all the grocery shopping and my husband would get upset with me every. single. time. 

I couldn't feed our family on his expectations. After seven years of fighting, I finally gave up and let him do the grocery shopping for three months. He spent more money than me every single time he went. 

After that, whenever he starts to get upset, I tell him I'll gladly hand the responsibility back over to him. The other thing that helped was getting my own job. My husband could not deal with making all the money and me spending it (even if it was just on groceries and bills). 

9. Division of labors. For us, and probably for most women, the majority of the housework falls on me, even though I work almost as many hours as he does. Same for child care. It's a constant struggle, feeling like one person isn't pulling their weight. 

The only thing I've found that helps is #3. Tell your spouse exactly how overwhelmed you feel. Explain how much it would mean to you if they would take over, say, cleaning the bathrooms. Also, get your kids involved. Even a toddler can wash walls with a squirt bottle of water and a cloth. 

10. Have fun together. Find something that you both love to do and make it your thing. For my husband and I, we both love to travel. That's not something we get to do a ton, but we like to imagine places we could go. We also like to go out to dinner together. 

11. Don't have close friends of the opposite sex. I've rarely seen this lead to anything but heartache. The only exceptions are when both couples are equally as close. 

12. Try really, really hard to never call your spouse bad names. Never swear at your spouse. Never yell at your spouse. If you're angry enough to do any of those things, walk away and revisit when your calmer (the advise to never go to bed angry is absolutely ridiculous. People need time to cool off, and they're better off coming back to it rested than exhausted). 

So how did I do? Did I miss anything? 

{Book Birthday} Of Fire and Ash by Amber Argyle

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Of Fire and Ash

By Amber Argyle

*A novella* 
One promise can change everything. 

The fairies must never know of Nelay’s sight, for the attention of such dark and terrible creatures brings more things dark and terrible. But when Nelay's father is near death, the fairies are the only ones who can save him. All they require is a simple promise that she'll return the favor one day. 

Some promises are lethal.
This novella was supposed to be about Nelay and how she ended up stranded behind enemy lines. But that wasn't the story I ended up telling. Instead, I went further back, into her childhood. At the age of nine, she's practically starving and facing the imminent death of her father--her family's sole provider.

She has to make impossible choices. Choices that will change the course of an entire nation.

This novella is late--like six months late. I'm sorry about that. My son was in and out of a wheelchair and going through all these major surgeries. At one point we were told he might be in a wheelchair until he was sixteen. Thankfully, he's doing better now. Walking and running and playing almost normally. Fingers and toes and eyes crossed that it continues that way.

And then we moved to freakin' Idaho (I'm still in denial).

I wrote the entire novella while high on painkillers (wonder if that will make it better or worse . . .), with my leg propped up and me confined to a wheelchair or scooter for six weeks. I was in so much pain! And the complications just kept coming--the worst of which was my incision refusing to heal (it's still open in one spot and it's been four months) and reinjuring my ankle, which set me back 8 weeks.

So yeah, it's late. Thanks for not giving up on me.

I'm very proud of Of Fire and Ash. I hope you guys love it! Thank you for always being so supportive of me. I can't wait to see your reviews. And as always, feel free to grab whatever you want out of this post to use on your own blogs/social media.

It's release day for Of Fire & Ash by ! Check it out.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Of-Fire-Ash-Fairy-Queens-ebook/dp/B00QFUKVOE/ref=cm_rdp_product
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/of-fire-and-ash-amber-argyle/1120996985?ean=2940150118232
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/498144
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20734692-of-fire-and-ash

On Breaking

Monday, December 8, 2014
I was raised in a culture where goals were taught, hard work was venerated, and dedication exemplified. It was a good way to grow up, I don't doubt that for a second.

But when you put those kinds of life expectations on someone who is already a perfectionist, bad things start to happen.

I know. Cause they happened to me.

High school honor society. Varsity basketball. 6th in my state for high school rodeo. Collegiate honor society. Marriage at 19 and a child at 21 (because both were my goals, so why put it off?). Collegiate cum laude.

And I broke. I wanted to accomplish everything, and do it to the best of my ability. And I broke.

I had warnings. People wiser than me saying that I needed to slow down. I didn't listen. Because I was different. I was disciplined. I didn't know at the time that I had a learning disability that forced me to push myself harder than the average person.

And the breaking left me with anxiety disorder which I still struggle with to this day. But it also taught me balance--prioritizing and being kind and forgiving with myself. It taught me that the cruel "self talk" I was using to push myself that extra bit was doing damage to my soul.

Unfortunately, this is not a lesson "learned". I still have to learn it everyday.

Some struggles stay with  you till the end.

So why this post?

People put me on a pedestal. Some of them want to be like me (As Robin McKinley once told me, pick out the good bits carefully). And I don't want them pushing themselves to be something that isn't real.

So I'm determined to be real. To show myself as I really am, the bad bits and the good.

The other reason is because I see myself in them--these young girls, and I don't want them to go through the breaking. I want them to hear me when I say part of being driven is being balanced. Part of being a success is being completely lazy sometimes.

And I want their leaders and teachers to teach stillness. It really is a skill. And it should be taught right alongside goals and success.

But most importantly, I want those girls to love themselves. To know they are worthy even when they fail.

Amber Argyle

{Cover Reveal} Summer Queen by Amber Argyle

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Summer Queen

By Amber Argyle

Nelay never wanted to be queen.

Poised to become the most powerful priestess in Idara, Nelay doesn’t have time to become a pretty bauble for the king. She’s too busy saving her people from the invading army sweeping across her kingdom.

But in defeat after defeat, Nelay begins to realize a bigger power is at play than that wielded by mere mortals. Only she can stand between the cinders of her once-great nation and the vengeance of a goddess.

As always, Laura Sava did a wonderful job on this cover. I adore her work! 

I wrote this book during perhaps one of the hardest times of my life. My son was in and out of hospitals with a noncancerous bone tumor. He had two surgeries and was in a wheelchair and not allowed any type of physical activity for months.

We also moved to another state, I broke my leg, had surgery, and played single mom while my husband was away. Insurance was, and still is, a nightmare (I'm looking at you, Humana).

This book is perhaps the strongest straight-up fantasy novel I've written. One of the themes I explore is leadership. To quote from the book: “To be a true leader, one must not simply be strong. One must also be selfless.”

And I can't mention one of my books without talking about the main characters. Nelay doesn't start off as this weak, timid little thing being oppressed. She's poised to become the most powerful woman in her kingdom. But as with most of those in power, she lacks empathy.

Rycus knows who he is and what he wants, but unlike Nelay, he is also willing to sacrifice for those he loves. And Rycus loves Nelay "as the sun loves the sky." 

Tweet: Check out @amberargyle's #CoverReveal of Summer Queen. Gorgeous! http://ctt.ec/4_elI+ #mustread #books #bookworm #picofthedayI also want to announce that I've written a prequel for Summer Queen, entitled, Of Fire and Ash. It's with my editors now and will be published as soon as it's finished. You can find both on Goodreads here and here.  I hope you're as excited for the next installment in the Fairy Queen Series as I am. 

Feel free to copy and paste this blog post, or snag the elements you want and make your own. 

My ankle surgery (there are pictures--unflattering pictures)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Holy crap, it's been a hard year. In addition to my son's difficult diagnosis, his two surgeries, and moving to another state, I had ankle surgery on Sept. 19th (about a month after we moved). 

Ankle sprains have been an ongoing issue for me since I had a severe sprain, partially tearing the ligaments and a tendon in my ankle when I was a sophomore at a basketball camp. The ankle was ever after weak, and I sprained in numerous more time as I played rec and church ball. 

On June 22, 2014, I was running and stepped on a stiff hose. I heard a pop and I went down. I couldn't walk on it for two days. I called the doctor, but they said it sounded like a severe sprain, and there was nothing they could do. 

I should have gone in, but honestly, I was so overwhelmed with all my son's health problems--he was in a wheelchair again, and we didn't know if his leg would take years or months to heal. My husband was interviewing for a new job, and we were pretty sure he was going to get it, which meant him leaving our family until our house sold (did I mention our house was for sale at the time?). It meant moving to a different state. 

Also at this time, I was having tests done on my heart for an arrhythmia, which turned out to be related to stress. 

I didn't have time or the capacity to deal with being injured. I tried to suck it up, I even went running again two weeks later. It was extremely painful, and I realized I was going to have to take a full 6 weeks off for a sprain. 

At eight weeks, I was still in a lot of pain, and my ankle sprained every time I scuffed my foot on the floor, or my heel caught on a stair. 

So I finally went into the doctor. 

I had broken off three chips of bone (on both sides and the back), all of which were causing me pain. I had also completely ruptured one ligament and rendered useless another. I had also torn a tendon. 

And I needed surgery. Well, I was moving in two weeks, I couldn't have surgery. So we waited until after we moved and were somewhat settled. 

On Sept. 19th, I had surgery. It entailed cutting the ligaments, folding them over each other, and sewing them back together. The tendon was sewed back together. The groove where that tendon passed the back of the fibula was nonexistent, so the doctor drilled a hole and collapsed the bone to make a groove (so it would stop dislocating). He also drilled more holes and sewed synthetic ligaments through the bone (as even repaired, my ligaments were shot and would be easily damaged again). 

I felt pretty good right after surgery--that had everything to do with a nerve block. But when that wore off on Sunday, holy mother of all pain. It felt like a white hot branding iron was sitting on the back of my fibula (where he'd made a groove for my tendon). In tears, I called my doc. He called me in a stronger pain pill. 

It knocked me out, but the pain kept building. By Sunday morning, all I could do was cry. So my mom took me to the emergency room--I'm not proud to admit I sobbed the whole way, but it's the truth. 

As soon as they cut the soft cast off, I stopped crying. It had been too tight, cutting off my circulation. They checked me for blood clots, thankfully I was fine. After, they gave me a shot of tordol, and I started feeling pretty good. 

Not a very flattering picture, but I believe in being real. 
They sent me home with instructions to keep up on my pain pills so my pain didn't get out of control again. Problem was, I couldn't stop throwing up. Eight hours later, I was crying in pain again. The doctor called me in something to help with the nausea and I finally had some relief. 

The next few days were a blur of pain and reactions to the drugs. First, I would get dizzy and tired, then insanely hot. I'd feel loopy and stupid. And there was always the ever present nausea.

After a few days, I was just starting to feel better when I fell, stomping on my right foot to catch myself. The pain shot back up. I had some online retail therapy. There is no need to mention how much I spent.

On the 29th, I finally started to feel like I was going to survive. I'm still bed ridden, as standing lets all the blood fill up my ankle and the burning starts, but at least I can bathe and get up to use the bathroom without wanting to curl into a ball and cry after. 

I am so grateful for my church. Even though I barely know anyone here, a girl named Ann has taken my daughter to kindergarten each day. Dawn has picked my son up from cross country practice. They brought us supper every night for 5 days. My mom and mother-in-law came and stayed with me, taking care of my family and running errands. And my sweet husband has taken over and been super helpful since they left. 

I won't be able to walk on my leg until three weeks out. Won't be able to drive until 6 weeks out (thank goodness I found someone I can carpool to the conference I'm teaching at). But that seems like a piece of cake after what I've already been through.

Now I just hope I can get off these stupid pain pills.

*edit 10-9-14*
Not long after I wrote this post, I had an allergic reaction to one of the medications I was on (my doc thinks either the antiboitic or the arnica). I was covered in hives. Like, COVERED. My incision was the worst, and the burning and itching was so bad I couldn't sleep at night. My doc put me on steroids, which really helped with the reaction, but the night sweats and emotional mess they made me were a steep price.

Because my incision was covered in blisters, I wasn't able to remove the stitches when I was supposed to. So another week of stitches. Yay.

This can end any time now. 
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