How to heal a broken marriage by journaling
Nobody walks into a marriage expecting it to fall apart. Unfortunately, it happens more than you might think: 50 percent of all first-time newlyweds end up divorcing. The rate is even higher for subsequent marriages.
These might sound like pessimistic statistics, but there are many different ways to look at numbers like these. One interpretation is that no matter who you marry, without work, a marriage can fail. At the same time, if half of marriages fail, then half of marriages do succeed, and yours could be one of them.
If you are living in the shadow of a broken marriage, there are many professional tools you can look to for support, such as counseling and therapy. Despite this, it can be difficult to find a more introspective tool that allows you to think critically about your marriage and formulate thoughts before bringing them to others — such as your spouse, a therapist or a marriage counselor.
One such tool? Journaling. Whether you are experiencing the awful aftershocks of a horrific fight or the still quietude of a sex life gone dormant, journaling can help you collect your thoughts and feelings and express them without judgment.
The following are just a few ways journaling can act as a supplemental tool when trying to heal a broken marriage.
Journaling can help you decide whether you should stay or go
Are you on the fence about whether your relationship is still worth it? If you need to make clear-eyed decisions about the future of your marriage, a journal is a great place to do it. Without judgment or pressure from others, you can calmly write about the positive and negative aspects of your marriage and decide for yourself if this relationship is worth saving.
For instance, if you write down a whole host of reasons why you no longer want to continue trying for your partner — awful arguments, a nonexistent sex life, mounting resentment and more — and your only reason for staying is to keep your children happy, you may realize the marriage is no longer worth it.
Or maybe your journals will help you decide that this is the relationship for you. Maybe some introspection will reveal to you that there are valuable elements of your marriage that can be protected and nourished if both of you are willing to communicate and work to resolve lingering issues. Whatever you decide, a journal is a valuable tool in helping you make that decision.
Journaling can help you examine what led to this
Nobody wants to do a post-mortem on why their relationship failed, but it is a key way to diagnose problems and find avenues toward future success. Writing down specific elements of your relationship that were particularly infuriating for the both of you will illuminate problem areas and trigger points you did not know existed.
For example, a seemingly harmless but particularly sinister contributor to relationship resentment is phone use. One particularly shocking statistic noted that one in ten couples check their phones during sex. That might sound extreme, but how many of us can truly say we give our partners our full attention when our phones are in our hands?
Little things like these add up. And journaling is a great way to find those little things on top of the big issues you may already know. Taken together, you can draft a laundry list of all the “knowns” that are causing harm to your relationship right now, and work to resolve them as you move forward with your marriage.
Journaling can be shared if desired
The best part about journaling is that it stays private until you want it to be public. If you have a hard time communicating openly with your spouse — maybe you cannot speak without arguing, or perhaps you have grown cold and formal in your exchanges — a journal entry can speak for you in ways that you yourself cannot.
Consider this: write down a heartfelt entry about what you are currently experiencing in your marriage and ask to share it with your partner. Completely clear communication and total consent are necessary here — this should not result in you handing your spouse a list of grievances when they are least expecting it. In fact, the best way to go about it is to ask your partner to do it with you. If both of you share your journal entries with one another after deciding what you will and will not include in those entries, you may just find yourself understanding parts of your spouse that you had previously dismissed.
Get clear-eyed about the state of your relationship
In the end, a failing marriage might be just that: a failing marriage. Or it might be something worth saving. While you and your partner are truly the only ones who know where your love life stands, tools such as journaling may help you find those answers more quickly.
Remember that every failure is an opportunity to learn, grow and change. Whether you regrow your marriage with your current partner or take this as a learning experience and move on, we hope you never lose sight of the relationship that matters most: the one you hold with yourself.