Penning a Marriage

The power of interactive journaling

"I can't argue with you. You talk so fast, I don't get a chance to think of what to say before you make a new argument." Those were the words of my frustrated husband as he walked from the room.

He was right. There was nothing fair about Roger, a quiet man who carefully considered his words before uttering them, trying to keep up in a heated conversation with me, a woman who had a career in public speaking. We had to find a different way to air our complaints.

Journal of discovery

Ten years earlier we'd been high school teachers in love. Every day I'd slip love notes into his mailbox in the teacher's lounge and would eagerly return to my box to retrieve a message from him.

Remembering those special moments gave me an idea for a solution to our current communication breakdown. I decided to write Roger a letter in a journal and leave it on his pillow. When I went to bed that night, I was surprised to find the journal not only moved to my pillow, but a letter from Roger inside. That began 18 years of interactive journals that now live on a special bookshelf in our home. Those journals are filled with stories of love, appreciation, anger, humor, and cherished memories.

The journals became the instruments by which I discovered the real man I married. I tremble when I think what I might have missed if Roger had not penned his feelings and thoughts to me over the years. When I was out of town on business every week, his written words revealed his frustration that I was taking too much time away from my family. While I knew my schedule was difficult on my husband and sons, it was the words Roger put in the journal that helped me understand how necessary my presence was, not just for what I did to maintain order, but to emotionally support my family.

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