Nick and Lindsey's Marriage Advice

Blog Special Needs

Lindsey and Nick Give Marriage Advice

It’s not easy to be married. Marriage isn’t a fairytale, it’s hard work. That’s the cautionary advice Nick and Lindsey have for other newlyweds.

This special couple–who both have varying special needs–will celebrate their first anniversary on Monday. Last week they agreed to be interviewed and I learned that their first few months of marriage were filled with lots of hurdles.

“It wasn’t exactly like we thought it would be,” Lindsey said, telling me they’d spent much of their time arguing about how to spend money, how to divide chores, and how to stay out of each other’s space.

“We weren’t really sure we liked being married,” they confided. “Until Valentine’s Day.”

Nick and Lindsey - One Year Later
Nick and Lindsey — One year later

“We were almost on the outs,” Lindsey said, her blue eyes darted right, then left. Nick nodded in agreement. “But the Valentine Project really helped us,” she added, referring to earlier this year when Out One Ear posted a request: family and friends and classrooms and anyone who wanted to participate–please send a Valentine to the newlyweds. Between the mailbox and the inbox, over 700 cards and letters and wishes eventually arrived.

Lindsey said, “All that love from around the world made a huge difference in our lives. We realized people cared about us. And we wanted to do better.”

Things have settled down in the newlywed household. They’ve both made changes. They seem calmer, happier. Almost 365 days later, Lindsey and Nick have shared what worked for them. They came up with a list of their top strategies for turning a first year of marriage into a happy one. (Video at bottom of post!)

Top Ten Eleven Ways To Have A Happy Marriage

#11Respect each other’s quiet time. Lindsey likes to watch movies. Nick likes to play video games. When someone is doing these activities, the other one tries to be quiet.

#10Listen to each other. This is a work in progress. “We’ll be working on it till the day we die,” Lindsey said.

#9Tickle each other. Nick is also known to Lindsey as, “The Tickle Monster.” Lindsey is ticklish everywhere. She loves it when he tickles her. Nick is always gentle.

#8Be sweet to each other. Call each other sweet names. Lindsey calls Nick, “Hunka, Hunka, Burning Love” and my “Baby Bear.” Nick calls Lindsey, my “Little Monkey” (because of the Dora The Explorer Monkey she has tattooed on her back) and “Bunny Nose.”

#7Have “date Nights” so you can spend quality time together. On “Date Nights” they visit different restaurants. One week, they might go to Ixatpa. Another week, they might dine at Arctic Circle. During the meal, Nick always says, “Happy Date Night, Lindsey,” and then Lindsey says, “Happy Date Night, Nick.”

#6Be silly. Nick has the silly gene. Lindsey is working on it. (Per Lindsey, she does have the clean gene, everybody’s good looks gene, and she is working on acquiring the happy gene.) Nick says that sometimes Lindsey sounds like she’s speaking in a strange language that he’s dubbed Klingon. It’s good to be silly.

#5Laugh. A lot. They both believe laughing is important. When they watch a funny movie together, they like to belly laugh.

#4Chase each other around the house once in awhile. “This is play–where no one gets hurt,” Nick said. “It’s great exercise,” Lindsey added.

#3Do onto others the way you want to be treated. Although they feel these are good words, they are harder to put into action. They’re both working on this rule. “That’s the most important thing,” Lindsey said. “To keep working at it.”

#2Humor! You gotta have humor or you’ll be grumpy. (They feel this item is self-explanatory.)

And the #1 way to turn a first year of marriage into a happy one is:

#1Love One Another. Stay strong, hold hands, hug, say I love you. Always be there for one another.


Loving Lindsey CoverMy first book will be coming out September 26, 2017. If you are interested in learning more about Loving Lindsey: Raising a Daughter with Special Needs, please click here.

I share many passions in this world: antiquing, gardening, hiking, traveling, taking amateur photographs, writing, sitting on a white, sandy beach with my husband and sipping a frozen margarita—just to name a few. If you enjoy any of these things too, let's connect! The world is better with friends.

  • Ami

    I LOVE this. LOVE it. And it’s exactly right. After being married for going on 33 years, I can tell Lindsey and Nick they’re doing all the right things.

    • Awww, thanks Ami. I’m going to pass along all the good wishes to Lindsey and Nick. They are celebrating their anniversary tonight since Lindsey works tomorrow. They were so excited. I thought they did a good job in the video. It cracked me up. I sure hope everyone else enjoys it as much as I do. Your kind words are a good start. 🙂 I also thought their advice was sage. Especially chase each other around the house once in awhile. You may have already shared, but if not, please feel free. I hope to tell them there were hundreds of shares!

    • They received your card today! How sweet. I didn’t get to see it yet because my husband delivered it. They were excited. I bet I’ll hear all about it on Thursday when they go out to dinner with us! Looking forward to that. Thanks Ami. 🙂

  • christine

    Fantastic advice! So wise they are after only one year! Congratulations to them both.
    And the Valentine’s Day idea was wonderful. How special for them to receive so many signs of love and encouragement that day.

    • I agree. And I didn’t coach them. They offered all this advice on their own. I’ll pass on your good wishes! Thanks for stopping by, reading, and leaving a note. It makes me happy. 🙂

  • Rebecca K

    Oh my gosh, I love this so much. Tell Mr. Atwell he’d make a great talk show host! : )~
    Thoroughly enjoyed every minute of that!!!

    • Rebecca: He wasn’t sure he even wanted to do it in the beginning, but I thought he did a great job. And I’ll tell him about hosting a talk show. Right now, I think he needs to get on Let’s Make A Deal. He watches it almost every day. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed.

      P.S. Lindsey and Nick really came up with this advice all on their own. I didn’t coach them in any way. I was pretty darn impressed on how wise the advice turned out to be.

  • Eva Synnergren

    This is a good one! and FUNNY and sweet! Thanks for the good advice.

    • I agree! And they came up with all this advice on their own. Then I made up the plaque cards and my husband helped out! Thanks for stopping by.

  • Elisabeth Campbell

    Love this! Happy anniversary to the happy couple!!

    • Elisabeth–thanks so much for stopping by and reading–and for the comment. I’ll pass it on to the newlyweds later today. They were at the Oregon Garden Resort last night celebrating. I’m very proud of them.

  • Adventures w/Riley

    I absolutely love, LOVED this!!!!! Just made my morning. Happy 1st Anniversary to Lindsey and Nick! Great advice! <3

    • Thanks so much. Please feel free to share in support of the newlyweds. They enjoyed doing this and love the feedback. Thanks for stopping by and reading. Love the comment.

  • Alexandra @ Made to Glow

    I loved reading this as my husband and I just celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. What sweet, thoughtful advice they gave. #5, #10, and of course #1 have been most important to us. Happy anniversary and wishing them many more years full of laughter, love, and silliness!

    • And they did this all on their own. I didn’t coach them one bit. I was actually impressed with their wisdom. And their innocence at the same time.

  • attaboygirl

    Made us laugh and cry, in a good way!
    Julie & Henry

    • That will make them happy. Thanks for telling me.

  • Rebecca Benson-Bates

    Fantastic, hilarious video!! Loved it. They really complement each other as a couple, and I’m so happy to hear they worked through things after Valentine’s Day last year. Happy Anniversary, Lindsey and Nick!

    • I’m so glad you found this! I thought they did an excellent job and their advice is truly their own. My favorite is: chase each other around the house every once in awhile. I cracked up laughing at that one. I’ll pass on your good wishes. They will be stoked to hear how many are coming in for them.

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell

    I can’t even come close to saying how incredibly happy this list makes me. The video is the perfect icing on the cake. While I was laughing, I also have tears in my eyes because I’m just so happy for them both. They truly seem to be doing so wonderfully well. I love that they chase one another around the house and realize how important laughter is. And “Happy date night” makes me just EEEP with adorableness. SO love this Linda! Thank you!

    May you have many, many more together (and wow, I cannot believe it's been a year!).

    PS – saw your question about no TToT this week – yeah, sorry, hubs has been working a ton and I just couldn't pull it off. I'm trying to find a better balance overall and this week, that's meant not posting as often as I usually do…

    • Krisit–my favorite was that they chase each other around the house once in awhile too! We’ve been really impressed at how well they are doing. I will definitely pass on your your good wishes. They’ve been pretty excited to hear what everyone has to say. Am thinking about doing a Dear Lindsey and Nick advice column because their advice is so wise! They think it would be fun. At least for awhile. 🙂 We’ll see.

      And so sorry about no TToT, I always look forward to reading yours!

      And last, thanks so much for sharing this on your page. It will mean a lot to them (and to me too!) You are awesome!

  • Joshua Dobbs

    This is wonderful advice. My wife and I both have special needs ourselves and we’re about to celebrate our fifteenth wedding anniversary later this week. Congratulations to Nick and Lindsey on their wedding anniversary and may they have many more wonderful years of marriage. Thank you for taking the time to write this blog; I have found it to be very interesting to read and has given me a lot to think about.

    • First of all, congrat to you two–on fifteen years together! And thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment. I love sharing these with Lindsey and Nick so they will know what readers are thinking, saying. We’ve been talking about doing a Dear Lindsey and Nick advice column. Thrilled you find this interesting and please know I’ll pass on your comment to the happy couple.

  • Lisa Mallis

    Awesome, awesome, awesome post. I’m writing this comment with tears of happiness and gratitude in my eyes. So inspiring. I’m putting their advice into practice today

    • Thanks Lisa! They inspire me too. Appreciate you dropping by. Hope you will come back again soon. (And I’ll pass on your words to the happy couple.)

  • Love Dexter

    Congratulations to Nick and Lindsey! What beautiful tips.

    • I’ll give them your good wishes, Love Dexter! I thought the tips were pretty darn good myself. In fact, when they were telling me their Top Eleven ways they’ve had a good marriage, I teared up. It was just such sweet, logical advice. I’m in awe. Thanks for stopping by and reading and leaving a comment. Love to have you back anytime!

  • This list is just perfect. I wouldn’t enjoy my man if he couldn’t make me laugh, and be able to laugh at each other. I love how Lindsay says “We’ll be working on it till the day we die.” A marriage is continuous growth and work, but it’s worth it. 🙂

    • Yes it is Keri! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. And especially for the comment. Love the comments. I pass them on to Lindsey and Nick and they get a kick out of every single one. 🙂 Have a great week.

  • Elissa

    So happy for them! Amazing advice. They put complicated ideas into totally do-able suggestions and advice. An advice column would be awesome!!

    • We’re working on the advice column Elissa. They love to give advice. That’s for sure. Thanks for stopping by and reading. Lindsey and Nick amaze me all the time.

  • This is so sweet. I love these list of suggestions. Every couple can learn something from this list of suggestions. Loved the show too.

    • Crystal: thanks so much for reading/watching and leaving a comment. And I agree with you. Every couple could learn something from this list. My husband suggested chasing me around the house. And just the suggestion brought on a lot of laughter!

  • Delia @ Blog Formatting

    Love this advice! Not sweating the small stuff is the best advice I could give. Thanks for sharing!

    • I agree–No sweating the small stuff is excellent advice and I’ll pass that on to Lindsey and Nick. Delia–thanks so much for stopping by and reading. This has been a fun project for everyone.

  • Robin Strohmaier

    Happy anniversary, Lindsey and Nick! This is great advice! Love this!

    • I’ll pass this on Robin. Thanks so much for stopping by, reading, and leaving your kind comments. This was a fun project for us all.

  • julie jamison

    Love your tips! We are working on many of these especially #7; with 4 kids it can be VERY challenging to get away! Lol

    • I totally understand. Since they don’t have kids it is easier. But having date nights (my husband and I tried to do one a month when our kids were small), but with paying for a babysitter, eating out or going to a movie, the $$$ added up. Thanks for stopping by and reading Julie. Maybe you could just chase each other around the house once in a while. That was my favorite. 🙂

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  • Gicelle

    Hey, I’m a twenty year old college student in Hawaii who just so happened to stumble across your blog, and may I just say that you have the most beautiful family? There is so much love there, <3. I couldn't help but notice that when your daughter smiles her whole face lights up 🙂 and her husband is really funny. They go really well together.

    • I’m so glad you found us. Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by. They are a kick and keep giving me more stories. I think my daughter’s face lights up too when she smiles. Nick doesn’t really know it, but he is a great straight man–so he comes across funny. Please feel free to share if it makes you smile.

      (BTW, I wish I was a college student in Hawaii. Lucky you!)

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