Monday, April 15, 2013

Muddled Marriage ~ The Marriage Pillow Journal

A few months ago I came across a post about connecting with kids by using a Pillow Journal. For the life of me, I can not find that post to give credit for this amazing tool we have been using in our home. I think I will be writing soon about how the kids and I journal to each other.

This post though is about how The Hubs and I have begun using a Marriage Pillow Journal

My wonderful husband works about 2 hours away from us. He is gone more than half the week. We never expected our married life to be spent living in different zip codes most of the time. We did not expect to sleep in different beds. We did not expect to have to discuss discipline issues over the webcam. We never thought that we would spend so much time physically apart.

However, life has a way of sometimes throwing a curve ball and we are asked to adjust to the pitch. God is in control. My husband has work when many don't. My children are clothed and our bellies full. So for a time and in this season we live apart, often.

This means that we have to get creative with our communication.

I am a talker. I like to talk things out. Unfortunately, when The Hubs is gone at work I can not call him 15 times a night to chat about all the 'stuff' that is going on in our family. I can't always call and vent to him. I also don't have the privilege of being able to talk it out and hand off an especially difficult child for discipline when he comes home from work. He might not be home for three more days.

The Lord has blessed me with some talent and so I am a bit of a writer. When life is exciting, busy, or feeling out of control I may not be able to talk to my partner. But, I can write it down. I can write it out better, with more feeling, and often with more foresight and thought given to my words. I can vent in a more cohesive way and usually get to a solution by the end of my journal entry. If not, at least I have a record of my thoughts and feelings and any Biblical help on the subject that I have come across.

So enters the Marriage Pillow Journal. It is my way of keeping up with all the things that I should say to him, but can't fit into a 12 minute Skype session. The things I can't text to him. The daily or weekly or monthly life stuff that happens along and can get left in the dust in our short time spent together.

I can leave The Hubs long drawn out letters about how I am feeling about Prince Ray and his behavior, our day at homeschool group, or about how I am wishy-washy about a curriculum choice. I can write mushy love letters with notes about the awesome things he did for me that melted my heart the last time he was home. I can leave verses to mediate on. Amazing thoughts (well amazing to me) I had during the day. Silly quotes from movies or private jokes we share. Ideas about our future, the kids, church life or when we should get vacation planned. When we are in a disagreement over something I can put my heart feelings to paper and apologize for my stubbornness or state my case. The goal is to get it off my chest and then rest.

I can write it down. Pray for us. And then place it under his pillow for when he returns.

Now here is the best part.

Those birthday card love notes, valentine flowers and anniversary dinners from The Hubs have got nothing on a pen scrawled notebook love note.

Don't get me wrong, I love those kind of thoughtful gifts. Who doesn't like a card and chocolate now and then? But, there is something so special about reading my lover's words. I can savor each one. Read it over and over. I am reminded of those first tender feelings we had for each other. 

I can search in between the sentences for signs of need in my partner. Does he need more words of encouragement? Is he feeling stressed or concerned about work? Have I offended him and didn't know it? 

I then turn this around. 
As much as I enjoy receiving a note ending in: I thank God that He lead me to you!, The Hubs enjoys a note giving him affirmation and thanks. Can I let him know how much I appreciate him? Can I empathize with his work stress and write a prayer for him? Can I apologize if I have hurt him?

My words are longer. My stories often more wordy. My handwriting terrible. But he has warmed to the idea and now enjoys reading my thoughts all put down on paper, just for him. A moment carved out of my time with intent to communicate numerous things to him. Simply because I love him and want to share with him.

His words are short and to the point. His sentences less decorative but so powerful. My heart gladdens when he writes to me because I know it comes less easy for him and therefore it means so much more. I love it when he writes to me. 

For the cost of a five subject spiral bound notebook you can have an enormously useful tool for keeping marriage connected... 
......and a bit less muddled. 

Always Blessed,
Gretchen :)


  1. That is the sweetest thing. Communication is so important in any relationship. It's so wonderful that you have found such a sweet way to keep that flowing even when you don't get to see him as much as you would like. And you'll always have those memories written down to cherish!

    1. Yes! I hope to keep it up even when (someday) he is back in the same zipcode for work! :)

  2. Awesome idea! I always forget what I want to tell my hubby!

  3. Have you read "The Wednesday Letters"? It's great book w/a follow up and a bridge book.

    I love the notes my husband has written me. They are full of blessings though not very many.

    Journaling keeps me upright ... or I think that anyway - it's my communication w/the LORD too. And boy, do I miss it when I skip it.

    Also - I've gone and reopened my old blogger blog. Makes it easier for me and bloggers. I imported my WordPress posts - been working on cleaning up the missing elements (features Google doesn't have that WP does). I was looking at the Etheral theme (your theme) last night - I may go grab that one after all.

    Take care! Jenn

    1. I actually haven't heard of that book. I may do some digging.
      It occurred to me just this morning that I need to start a pillow journal with God. To Keep me in check!

  4. PS being on Google made publishing a comment here so much easier - it usually takes me five or six tries when I was using my open ID to sign in. Yay!

  5. What a great idea! My husband works away from the home also, usually one to three weeks at a time. I am often saddened by the things he misses. What a great way for him to enjoy some of those moments!


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