Journaling is one of the best things that I do for my marriage. But perhaps not in the way you think.

Yes, my husband and I have a couple’s journal. We even did a podcast episode about couple’s journaling. I think a couple’s journal is a great way to set expectations and goals. You could even make a couple’s bucket list.

But to be honest, we’re not very consistent with it. That couple’s journal isn’t the secret sauce. The magic happens in the journals that are mine and mine alone.

Gratitude journaling helps a great deal. I’ve been married nearly 18 years. That’s a long time to be with the same person. My husband is my favorite person on the planet but sometimes he gets on my nerves. Just as I’m sure I get on his nerves. A lot. But whenever I am annoyed with him, I break out my journal and make a list of all the things about him that I’m grateful for. I use my journal to remind myself why he’s my favorite.

But the greatest way journaling has helped my marriage has little to do with him and is more about me. Through journaling I have become my own best friend – and this is the best thing I could have ever done for my marriage.

My husband is one of my best friends. I know the word “best” implies there’s only one but in girl world it doesn’t work like that. I have lots of best friends. I have Charlene, my college bestie who’s also now my business buddy. I have Jacqui – that friend who simultaneously encourages me to be authentic and to be better. I have Geralyn –  my ride-or-die, the friend who knows all my secrets, the friend I can be completely myself around, and the friend I’d call if I needed to bury a body. I have Tasha – my cousin who’s like my sister; she’s more than my friend, she’s my person. And my husband is one of my best friends too. He’s my beloved and the person I trust with my life.

But for years, I expected my husband to fill a void that he couldn’t. And I would get sad, oftentimes angry, about it. He’d try to make sense of my discontent and I couldn’t explain it because I couldn’t make sense of it either!

Through journaling, I realized that the void I was looking for him to fill was one I could only fill myself. And it was a void that’s filled when you become your own best friend.

So what does that look like? The answer varies from person to person. For me, it looks like enjoying my own company on an artist date, prioritizing self-care, and learning how to love and take better care of my body. It means enjoying existing in my body while also acknowledging I am more than my body. It’s delighting in not only becoming the best version of myself but also being my favorite version of myself. And I discovered all of this through journaling.

On Tuesday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m. CT I’m hosting an online journaling workshop in honor of Galentine’s Day. I’ll guide you through some prompts that will be both thought-provoking and fun to help you celebrate your most cherished friendships and uncover what it means for you to be your own best friend. Register here.