Capturing the story of your relationship on paper can be a rewarding way for couples to explore the life they have created together. In fact, many marriage therapists recommend journaling as a means of cultivating closeness – and working through the tough spots that are a natural part of any couple’s story.
GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR COUPLES JOURNAL
There are many journals designed for couples, from the special ones that help you capture your first year together to styles that focus on gratitude or shared goals. But the journal you choose can be as simple as a spiral notebook, or even an online journaling platform that you’re both comfortable with.
The first step is to talk about what you hope to accomplish in your journal. Do you want to capture a record of events in your relationship? Are you hoping to go deeper into issues that sometimes get missed in the everyday rush of life? Think of your journal as a special conversation between you – and begin by thinking about what you will discuss and the outcome you would like to see.
10 TIPS FOR JOURNALING TOGETHER
Here are some helpful suggestions for creating a meaningful couples journal.
1. WRITE LETTERS TO EACH OTHER
Letter writing is an easy and natural way to share your thoughts with each other. If you like, you can use different colored pens so you can easily see your different entries.
2. KEEP A DAILY RECORD
Make note of the best things, or even the toughest things, that you’re facing in everyday life. You may be surprised to see how closely you agree – or how differently you see things!
3. GIVE A COMPLIMENT
Write down things you appreciate about each other. Cultivating gratitude is a great way to feed the health of your relationship.
4. CREATE A BUCKET LIST
Where are places you want to go someday? What are things you’ve never one, but would love to do? Dare to dream in your journal – it’s a wonderful way to turn dreams into plans!
5. ANSWER ONE QUESTION EACH DAY (OR WEEK)
You don’t have to write every day to make your couples journal work. In fact, you can agree to write just once a week. Try starting out with a question and give your partner the day (or several days) to answer. Take turns coming up with questions for each other. These can be as simple as something you’re trying to understand better … something you want to know about your partner … or simply a topic that interests you. It’s a great way to go deeper into your loved one’s thinking and you may be surprised at the answers!
6. SHARE SOMETHING YOU ENJOYED
Did you read a great book? Listen to a fabulous podcast? See a hilarious joke online? Write down something you enjoyed and say why. Your partner can learn a lot more about you by knowing what excites and engages you.
7. CHALLENGE EACH OTHER TO TRY SOMETHING NEW
Creating challenges for each other, like learning to cook a new dish, try out a yoga class or visit that new escape room in your neighborhood. This is a great way to get out of the dinner-and-a-movie rut – and to continue learning things as a couple.
8. SHARE STORIES FROM THE PAST
Revealing past experiences in writing can be very powerful. Recalling a story from childhood, for example, will help your partner gain new insights into the adult you’ve become. This may lead to a helpful dialogue about how the past sometimes shows up in the present — and what that means for you as a couple.
9. TRY A “MAD LIBS” FORMAT
Write a few sentences down, leaving blank spaces in each one for your partner to complete. You will be intrigued to see the answers s/he comes up with!
10. TELL YOUR PARTNER WHAT INSPIRES YOU
Search for quotes, stories, or images that you love, and tell your partner why they mean so much to you. These cherished ideas are often pushed aside in the rush of everyday life, yet they say so much about who you are. Sharing them in your couple’s journal will help you find ways to stay close to one another as time goes by.
IMPROVING THE COMMUNICATION IN YOUR MARRIAGE
Journaling is a positive way to learn more about each other and maintain a heartfelt closeness. But if you are struggling to communicate with each other, you may need extra support.
As a professional couples therapist with decades of experience, Janae Munday, LCSW, has helped hundreds of Phoenix-area couples build stronger, more caring relationships. To schedule a confidential appointment, contact Janae now.