Does journaling about bottled emotions aid in a healthy marriage?

Posted May 2

Is there a surefire method to release your emotions in a healthy way? No. Different things work for different people. But, there are some methods that you may not realize could really help you release, vent, and move on, that do not hurt your marriage. One of those methods is writing in a journal. Here is why this is a great and a healthy way to aid you in releasing your bottled up emotions.

Writing is a physical activity

The act of writing is an activity. You have to sit down with your computer, or notebook, and write/type. You are not walking around the grocery store, you are not cooking dinner, and you are sitting, focused on what you are doing. Sure, things may interrupt you like kids, your spouse, or your schedule, but when you are writing, you are focused. This allows you to really evaluate how you feel. It is not some abstract thought floating around your head any longer. Now you are putting into words how you feel and this helps you evaluate what really happened.

You organize your thoughts

Once you are writing down what happened and how you are feeling about it, you can organize your thoughts better. What really happened? Why are you feeling upset? This helps you process everything and see perhaps something you missed or misunderstood. Even if you are just emotionally writing, meaning it is not making much sense, you’re just putting what you’re feeling down, you can go back and read what you wrote to see exactly what is going on. Soon you will get a better sense of the situation and be able to start working out a solution.

You get it out

I cannot tell you how many times I have written a letter to someone I was upset with, but never sent it. Sometimes we really want to say how we are feeling to a specific person. Writing it down, going back and changing things up to really clarify what you want to say allows you to express those emotions you are feeling. I write the letter with every intention of sending it off, but by the time I am done, I have calmed down. I feel like I actually explained what they did wrong, how it made me feel, and why it upset me. Now, I can move on.

Journaling has the same effect as writing a letter. There are no rules in how to journal correctly. You may start off your entry as: “Dear husband,” and write it in letter form. Your journal is a safe place for your inner most feelings. They may be feelings we hope no one accidently reads, because we probably wouldn’t share it quite that way if we were asked to. But all we are doing right now is getting those feelings out. Once they are out, we can pick and choose just which ones we need to communicate to our spouse in a way that is appropriate.

You can both emotionally and physically move on

The great part about writing something down is you can close the book and walk away. Now that you have had an emotional release you can move on. There is something satisfying about closing a book, a file, or computer. There is a reason people make check lists, they feel accomplished when they can physically cross something off the list. Putting your emotions down on paper and ending it with a period, save (or not) and close symbolizes that you are done with those feelings, and you can now focus on something else (perhaps making up).

This process of journaling your bottled up emotions is healing. It helps you get these emotions out, organize your thoughts, and reflect on what really went on. Some people can do this in their mind, but most of us need to actually write it out first. Once you are in a better place mentally, you can then address the problem with your spouse. Just because you have journaled something, does not mean you do not need to discuss it with them. It may not seem like such a big issue to you now that you’ve gotten it out of your system, but journaling is not an excuse to close communication between you and your spouse. However, it does help you be less emotional and better prepared to have those conversations with your spouse.

Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in Anthropology and a masters in Psychology. She lives in Orange County, CA and is a mother of twins. Contact her at


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