Skip to content

How Journaling Can Transform Your Marriage, Experts Say

Couples therapists are raving about this simple and effective practice for spouses.

A happy marriage is built on many things, including trust, communication, respect, honesty, commitment… and fun, of course! For a successful union, both partners must show up, put in the effort, and invest time in order to navigate the inevitable ups and downs of life together as a strong unit. While there are many ways to connect with your spouse and keep the spark from your dating days fresh, experts say journaling can be a powerful tool that provides a space to process tough emotions and celebrate what you love about your partner. Read on to learn why experts recommend journaling to deepen and transform your marriage.

RELATED: 180 Love Messages for Her.

How Can Journaling Help Your Marriage?

Getting triggered and blowing up at your spouse happens too often, but Nicole Moore, love and relationship expert and TV host of Reality of Love explained how journaling could help resolve that issue.

"One of the biggest ways journaling can transform your marriage is by giving you a safe space to understand and heal your triggers before projecting them onto your partner," she says.

"Many marriage arguments happen because couples don't take the time to process their own emotions before sharing them with their spouse," Moore explained. "Journaling provides a great way for you to gain clarity on what you're feeling first. By journaling on your feelings and triggers, you'll be able to get to the root of what you're feeling, and you can then communicate your raw emotional truth to your partner instead of projecting blame onto them."

Why Journaling Provides a Safe Space

Beautiful young woman writing in her diary outdoors

Nicole Sodoma, divorce attorney and author of Please Don't Say You're Sorry, explains: "Journaling provides an added layer of communication that can feel safer and more controlled than face-to-face interactions, especially during emotionally charged situations."

Think of it like sending your partner an email. "You have the time to choose your words carefully and ensure that your message is clear and considerate when journaling—and you can sit on it if you don't know what to say just yet," says Sodoma.

By doing this exercise in private with your journal, you can then have more productive and less confrontational exchanges with your partner face-to-face because you've explored your own feelings and how to express them (using words like "I feel" instead of accusatory "You don't" phrases).

Journaling Offers Deeper Self-Awareness

Todd Baratz, a licensed mental health counselor, says that self-awareness is essential for better understanding yourself, which can also help you navigate your romantic relationship more clearly.

"The better you understand yourself, the better you can communicate with your partner and work through conflicts," he says. "Journaling can help you recognize patterns in your behavior and emotions, allowing you to address issues more effectively and make informed decisions about your relationships."

RELATED: 14 Daily Affirmations for Your Marriage.

How to Journal About Your Marriage

Shot of a young woman hugging her husband while he uses a laptop on the sofa at home

1. Write Down Your Desires

According to Moore, writing down what you'd like your marriage to look like—and the things you'd like to enjoy within it—is a great place to start when journaling for your marriage.

"By journaling on your marriage desires and getting clear on paper about what's missing, you can start to focus on ways to improve your marriage so it doesn't get stuck in a rut."

"Once you identify the core desired feelings that you'd like to feel in your marriage, you can journal about ways to create that feeling again by your own actions and also what you'd like your partner to do," she adds. "In this way, you're both taking responsibility for making the marriage feel as best as it can."

2. Let Your Anger Out

Getting frustrated with your spouse is normal, but instead of acting out that anger, Luis Maimoni, a licensed marriage and family therapist, says journaling can be a healthier outlet (if the situation permits that you can back away for some alone time).

"Anger makes us say and do mean things, and mean things cause injury to intimacy," he says. "You can preserve the good in your relationship by diverting your anger into your journal. Write and draw until you find yourself breathing normally and thinking clearly."

Once you're in a more chill place, "reflect on why you're so very angry," advises Maimoni. "Then, use your journal to work out a phrase that looks something like "I felt ________ when you said/did _________, and what I need from you is _____________."

RELATED: How to Date Every Attachment Style.

3. Practice Important Conversations

man meditating and writing gratitude journal

"Couples often try to skip the reflection portion of communication and lead with their reactions. This is a great way to get stuck in poor communication cycles," says psychotherapist Stephen Mitchell and therapist Erin Mitchell, cofounders of Couples Counseling for Parents.

Instead, work through what you're feeling and why that may be in your journal first. Then, when you're ready to talk with your partner about whatever's on your mind, you'll be equipped with a well-rounded understanding of the situation at hand, which will help the convo go better.

4. Set Goals for Your Relationship

To help achieve success personally and professionally, setting goals can help you find direction and focus, and journaling is a great way to set goals in motion, according to The Bulitts, Julie Bulitt, a licensed social worker and marriage counselor, and her husband David Bullitt, a family lawyer.

"Using a journal to set goals—whether they're intimacy, financial, or other goals—is an effective tool for a couple to "team build" and strengthen those ties that bind," they say. "'Did we save our desired amount this month for the summer trip? Have we carved out time each day just for the two of us, even if for just a few moments?'"

These goals should be both realistic as well aspirational, the Bulitts advise. Write them down in your journal, check in regularly with your partner about them, and be critical and/or congratulatory depending on your progress.

5. Work Through Tough Perspectives

Senior couple filling out a form

If your spouse has a different opinion than you on something and you're struggling to see where they're coming from, journaling can help you understand them a bit better.

So, write down your partner's position and feelings, in addition to your own.

"Seeing the disagreement that way on the page helps us understand our partner's perspective and why they feel the way they do," the Bulitts say. "It may also have the unintended consequence of seeing our own view and, when it's there in front of us, possibly looking not so reasonable or right after all."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more