Journaling Through Relationships: Marriage and Life Partners 6

A LONG-TERM, HEALTHY, AND LOVING RELATIONSHIP can bring a great deal of satisfaction and happiness to our lives. And research suggests that people (particularly men) who are in long-term partnerships (married or cohabiting) actually live longer than singles.

This may be because we tend to take better care of ourselves when we feel loved. We’re happier, sleep better, and are less likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. When both partners feel loved and valued for who they are, the relationship thrives.

Perhaps this is why we spend much of our lives either looking for or living in long-term romantic relationships.

But, as everyone knows, relationships — even the best ones — take constant attention and nurturing. And as many of us have discovered the hard way, love, by itself, is not enough to solve all problems. Give-and-take, compromise, and communication skills are all essential to making those partnerships work.

Journaling about your past and present relationships increases self-awareness and helps you identify strengths as well as areas of your relationships you have the power to change or improve.

For clarity, in the following journal writing prompts I use the term “partner” to indicate spouse, life partner, or significant other.

What defines a “long-term relationship, anyway? To me, it’s one that has lasted five or more years. But to a twenty-something person, a long-term relationship might be defined as anything lasting more than nine months. So I’ll leave that definition up to you — first, define what you mean by it, then find the prompts that are relevant for you and write away!


Journaling Prompts if You Have a Life Partner

  • What has a life partnership contributed to your life and/or in what ways is it important to you?
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “barely” and 10 being “intensely,” how in love are you with your partner? Has the intensity of your love increased or decreased over time, and what factors contribute to your feelings?
  • What are you most grateful for about your partner and your relationship?
  • What’s your partner’s most endearing quality?
  • How much time do you spend with your partner, and what activities do you enjoy doing together? How does spending this time with your partner affect your overall relationship?
  • On a scale of 1-5, with one being poor and 5 being excellent, how would you rate you and your partner’s communication with each other? Why did you rate it the way you did, and what do you see as the area of communication with the most opportunity for improvement?
  • What values do you share that bring you closer and what values do you not share that sometimes create conflict between you?
  • Studies have shown that sexual activity builds and maintains feelings of love in a relationship. How do you feel about your sexual relationship with your partner and why do you feel that way? What are some steps you can take to improve that aspect of your relationship?
  • What qualities are most important to you in your current relationship?
  • What is one thing you could do today to help your partner feel loved and appreciated?


Journaling Prompts if You Do Not Have a Life Partner

  • How do you feel about your current relationship status?
  • How many long-term relationships have you been involved in during your life? One? Ten?
  • What does it mean to be in a “committed relationship”? Are “committed” and “long-term” the same thing?
  • What is a “successful” relationship and what qualities are most important to you for a relationship to be successful?
  • Describe what makes for good communication in a relationship — what does it look like? What skills do good communicators need to have?
  • What’s the biggest “deal breaker” for you when dating someone who is a prospect for a long-term relationship?
  • How does your relationship with your family of origin (parents, siblings, etc.) affect the way you approach relationships?
  • If you’re currently dating, make a list of the qualities you like and don’t like about the person. Do any of these qualities raise red flags for you? Justify your answer.
  • What are the pitfalls you’ve experienced in your relationships? Brainstorm solutions to overcome these pitfalls in the future.
  • Describe your ideal partner.


Quality intimate relationships are important for our well being. And writing reflectively about our relationships — those in the past, those we have now, and those we hope for in the future — can only strengthen our sense of who we are and want to be in our most important partnerships.

What are your responses to these prompts? Do you have other prompts you’d like to share?


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6 thoughts on “Journaling Through Relationships: Marriage and Life Partners

  • sara etgen-baker

    took me a long time to understand that relationships of any kind are not perfect. My hubby, Bill, came with a boatload of baggage most of which I was unaware of or didn’t comprehend, blinded by love. As the years have unfurled, the baggage had to be unpacked. Unpacking was painful for him and gut wrenching for me. When any of us are involved in a long-term relationship, we have to love and appreciate the baggage in each of us–embracing the darkness. My hubby brought great adventure to our relationship and, despite the gut wrenching times, loving him and living with him are worth it–even in those doubtful dark times.
    Your prompts were gentle but probing enough to do some further exploratory writing later. Thanks!

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Thank you, Sara, for sharing your relationship journey with us. Yes, making long-term relationships work means embracing the dark along with the light side of the person. Of course, there are boundaries to that — as long as we are not being harmed in the process. And that effort to love and understand and embrace the whole person must go both directions to work. Kudos to you for working through the hard times in order to arrive in the good times. Did journaling help you as you worked through your relationship issues?

  • Linda Visman

    This is an excellent post, Amber Lea. The questions here should be seriously thought about by anyone in, or planning a relationship. Questioning ourselves, our beliefs and our values, makes us more self-aware – and we all need that.

  • shorin

    Lately, we’ve been burning the candle on both ends and planning to lite it in the middle too:))
    So, our relationship has been more than a little neglected. Journaling about us will help me get a better understanding of our situation and surely inspire me on how to nurture our love better.
    Onto this list of exploratory ques I would add:
    – When did you felt the last time like you were in heaven with your partner? Describe the butterflies fluttering in your stomach.
    – Detail the rhythm of your heart from the first time you kissed.
    – How did you hug after your first fight?
    – How would you feel if you just found out that you would never see each other again?
    Hope this helps!