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. Nick and Lindsey
“We weren’t really sure we liked being married,” they confided. “Until Valentine’s Day.”
“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 top of post, or click here to watch again.)Top Ten Eleven Ways To Have A Happy Marriage
#11 - Respect 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.
#10 - Listen to each other. This is a work in progress. “We’ll be working on it till the day we die,” Lindsey said.
#9 - Tickle 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.
#8 - Be 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.”
#7 - Have “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.”
#6 - Be 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.
#5 - Laugh. A lot. They both believe laughing is important. When they watch a funny movie together, they like to belly laugh.
#4 - Chase each other around the house once in awhile. “This is play--where no one gets hurt,” Nick said. “It’s great exercise,” Lindsey added.
#3 - Do 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.”
#2 - Humor! 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:
#1 - Love One Another. Stay strong, hold hands, hug, say I love you. Always be there for one another.
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