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Romantic relationships are often carefree at the start, but as you enter a more long-term partnership with another person, active relationship maintenance becomes more important.
Checking in with your partner about how they feel in your relationship, and expressing your own thoughts and feelings, is essential.
It means that you both know where you stand and what you can do to make your relationship even better than it already is.
However, simply sitting down and having these conversations can feel daunting, especially if you struggle to find the right words on the spur of the moment.
That’s why couple’s journaling is becoming an increasingly popular relationship-strengthening tool.
In this guide, I’ll be introducing you to the concept of couple’s journaling, and how to use a couple’s journal effectively.
I’ll also be suggesting some couple’s journaling prompts to strengthen your relationship!
Journaling As A Relationship-Building Tool
In case you’re wondering, ‘Why would I keep a couple’s journal when I can just talk to my partner?’, there are actually many reasons why keeping a couple’s journal or marriage journal can strengthen a relationship beyond simply having a conversation.
Of course, speaking to your partner directly is really important, and this should always be part of the journaling process.
As I’ll explain later in my guide to using a couple’s journal, there are several ways you can go about it, but you should always carve out some time to discuss anything that came up during journaling sessions afterward.
So, journaling is not intended to be used as a substitute for direct communication.
Instead, journaling in addition to discussing your relationship directly provides opportunities to really reflect on your partnership and your individual feelings.
Often, it can be difficult to find the right words to express our feelings, but keeping a couple’s journal means you can take the time to introspect, think of exactly what you want to say, and write it down to talk about later.
You could also have individual safe spaces in your couple’s journal for each of you to write in.
Private journal spaces not only allow you both to work out how you feel, without the pressure to share it straight away, but they also build trust by upholding the privacy of one another’s safe space.
Journaling Prompts For Couples
Knowing where to begin when you start keeping a couple’s journey can be daunting. After all, where do you start when discussing a relationship?
There are so many aspects of connection and partnership to cover. That’s why I’ve created this list of journal prompts to help you out:
- Why do you love your partner? Try to list 20 reasons.
- Do you see your relationship lasting long-term? How long would you like to be in a relationship with your partner?
- If you are not currently engaged or married, is this something that you envision in your future?
- If you would like to get engaged or married in the future, describe your ideal proposal or wedding.
- What is your love language? What do you think your partner’s love language is? Compare notes and discuss your answers.
- Do you know what your attachment style is, and why? What do you think your partner’s attachment style is? Compare your answers and discuss.
- How do you feel about open relationships or polyamory? Is this something you would like to explore within your current relationship?
- Do you feel that your partner helps you to be the best version of yourself? How do they do this?
- Does your partner inspire you? Name some ways in which your partner is a source of inspiration in your life.
- Think back to your first kiss with your partner. Write as much as you can remember about how it made you feel.
- Name some qualities your partner has that you admire and are grateful for.
- Think of some qualities that you share with your partner. If you’re struggling to think of any, why do you think this is? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
- Of all the memories you have shared with your partner since the start of your relationship, which one is your favorite?
- Write down your plan for the rest of your life, including things like children and retirement. Compare your plan to your partner’s. Do they align?
- If you have taken any trips or vacations with your partner, which did you enjoy the most, and why?
- Physically speaking, what do you feel are your partner’s best attributes?
- If you had to describe your relationship to another person, which adjectives would you use?
- How would you describe your own communication style? What about your partner’s? How do you feel your communication styles complement one another?
- Write down your own core values. Now, write down what you feel your partner’s core values are. Consider how they match or how they differ.
- If you don’t already have children together, how do you feel about having children with your partner? Do you feel that you and your partner are on the same page about this?
- What are some things your partner does or says that make you feel ‘butterflies’?
- Has anything changed since the start of your relationship? Do you think that either of you have grown or changed as people?
- Since you started dating your partner, what is something you have learned about them?
- Describe your perfect date with your partner. Plan a date night based on both of your answers, and get creative to find a compromise between the two if necessary!
- What is something your partner could do for you to make you feel loved and supported?
- How do you feel about the physical intimacy in your relationship. Are you satisfied with your sex life, and is there anything you would change about it?
- Are there any sexual fantasies or desires that you would like to share with your partner? Do you feel comfortable opening up about your sexuality with your partner? If so, why, and if not, why not?
- What do you think are the biggest differences between yourself and your partner? Do you see these differences as strengths or weaknesses in your relationship?
- What is the best piece of relationship advice you have ever been given?
- Do you have any concerns about the future of your relationship? What are they?
- Do you feel that you and your partner handle conflict well as a team? What could you both do to improve your conflict resolution skills.
- Is there any ongoing or recurring conflict in your relationship? Why do you think this is, and how do you plan to resolve it?
- Are there any opinions or views your partner holds that you wish you could change? If so, explain why.
- Is there anything you would like more of in your relationship? This could be anything, from physical intimacy to alone time.
- On the other side of the coin, is there anything you would like to experience less in your current relationship?
- Write a list of your partner’s favorite things (colors, food, movies, music, places, etc.)
- If money wasn’t an object, what gift would you buy for your partner? Remember, it can be as simple or extravagant as you want.
- How do you think your life would be different if you had never met your partner?
- Think about your partner’s friends and loved ones. Which are your favorite, and why?
- What would you like to work on with your partner in the next few years? Focus on things you can both do to make your relationship healthier and stronger.
- Which songs remind you of your partner?
- What would be a dealbreaker in your current relationship? Do your answers match what your partner has written?
- What positive relationship models have you observed in your life, and how do you think these have impacted your current relationship?
- In your opinion, what has been the biggest obstacle or challenge in your relationship? Have you worked with your partner to overcome this? Do you feel that it is still a problem?
- Think outside of your relationship now and write down the biggest challenge you have ever faced in your life. Does your partner know about it? Have they helped you to get through it?
- What are some things you could do together with your partner that would improve your mutual well-being?
- Is there anything you would like to do independently of your partner that you feel would improve your mental or physical well-being?
- Do you feel that you and your partner have a good balance of doing things together and alone/with other people? If not, would it be possible to change this while honoring both your own and your partner’s wishes?
- Have you ever kept, or been keeping, any secrets from your partner? How did/does that make you feel?
- What would your wishes be for yourself and your partner if either of you were to become sick or pass away? Does your partner know about your wishes? Make some time to have this conversation.
As you can see, these prompts cover a variety of relationship aspects, from intimacy to retirement plans. Some are heavier topics of conversation than others.
Because of this, you may want to decide what kind of relationship check-in you intend to have ahead of time and choose your prompts accordingly.
Using Your Couple’s Journal To Strengthen Your Relationship
Having journal prompts for your couple’s journal is a great place to start, but before you both get started, it’s a good idea to work out a system for using the journal in a way that you both feel comfortable with.
Before you start answering the prompts, consider the following:
- Do you both want to use the same journal, or would you each like to have your own journal to write in? Either is fine, but if you are going to be using the same journal, you will both need to have your own dedicated ‘safe space’ in the journal to write your thoughts privately, as well as a shared space where you can write things you feel comfortable sharing. Bear in mind that having individual safe spaces in a shared journal is an exercise in trust.
- Decide on a regular journaling schedule. Plan ahead of time to make sure you’re both happy to check in regularly. Regular check-ins are key to effective relationship maintenance.
- Discuss how to deal with any conflict that arises ahead of time. Communication styles and conflict management vary from relationship to relationship, so consider this when planning head.
Couples journaling is a great way to get to know each other better and strengthen your relationship by addressing core values, future plans, satisfaction levels, and dealbreakers.
Hopefully, these prompts will help you to create an ongoing channel of communication between yourself and your partner for long-lasting success and happiness!
Frequently Asked Questions
Journaling as a couple can be an effective conflict-resolution tool.
This is because it can help you to pinpoint areas and sources of conflict in your relationship and open up an honest conversation so that you can work through any issues as a united front.
However, there may also be times when using your couple’s journal leads to difficult conversations.
For example, you might find that your core values don’t match as well as you thought they did, or that you perceived a certain event differently from your partner.
Conflict can arise in these situations, but hopefully, journaling will also help you to deal with this effectively.
It’s important to bear in mind that honesty is a fundamental part of any healthy relationship, even if it’s not always comfortable.
Having a discussion about how you are both feeling using ‘I’ statements (for example, ‘I feel overwhelmed right now’ as opposed to ‘you have really upset me’) is the best way to understand your partner’s perspective while communicating your own calmly.
If you don’t feel able to verbally work through the conflict, this may be the perfect time to use the individual safe spaces in your journal to express yourselves and come back to the discussion at a later time, when emotions are not running so high.
It’s absolutely fine to keep a couple’s journal with your significant other without the input of a relationship counselor.
However, if there is pre-existing conflict in your relationship, or you feel that you may need help discussing your answers to the journal prompts as a couple, booking some sessions with a couples’ counselor might be a good idea.
Additionally, if journaling uncovers any concerns about your relationship, working with a counselor or therapist can help you to work through it.
Many people struggle to hear that their partner sees things differently than they do, and some journal prompts can highlight fundamental differences, leading to conflict.
If one partner violates the other’s trust by reading their partner’s private journal entries, the journaling process is unlikely to work.
You might also struggle to stick to a journaling schedule. It may be worth seeing a therapist, individually or together, if any of these problems arise.