The Spouse Journal

I’m thinking of ditching the spouse journal.

Lately, everytime I read it or write in it I feel lika a sad act. I thought it was a good idea when I first began it a couple of years ago, but I think it’s finally dawning on me that if I die without marrying, my children will be morified to find a book containing such handwritten entries as the ‘poem for my future spouse’ in ghastly, overtly Jane Austenesque style prose. If I’m honest I’m also terrified that I may die in suspicious circumstances and that the investigating police officer will read it and have a bloody good laugh.

Presuming that I marry at some point in the future, would any man over 40 (well I wouldn’t mind a toy boy who is younger – but is a toy boy gonna want me?) really going to want to read a journal containing the erratic, nonsensical ‘love’ thoughts of the 40 odd (yup) year old woman he had married? Wouldn’t he perhaps prefer a set of golf clubs for a wedding present?

I read through the spouse journal periodically, often when I write a new entry, and when I do so even I feel like barfing. I mean, I love romantic comedies as much as any girl who was raised to believe that one day her prince would find her, but it’s just too shot with sugar, even for me. The most worrying thing of all though is that I don’t even have to try hard to write candy-cane memos to my future matrimonial partner!

What say you all?

Shall I keep it or kick it to the curb?

If your sweetheart gave you a gift like my spouse journal as a wedding gift, what would you think? I’d especially like some input from my male readers. But….ummm…. Dad….it would be a little too wierd to have you respond to this so please, sit this post out okay?

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25 Responses to The Spouse Journal

  1. Owen says:

    Some journals are for keeping. Some are for venting and tossing (goodness knows I’ve tossed a few when their purpose was done – and blogs too). We grow, we change, it’s just a record of where we were. Many posthumous discoveries have become great blessings, some cures. Tough call. My mom would tell you to follow your heart. Jeremiah says the heart is deceitfully wicked beyond all things. God said David (nasty wicked lad that he was by times) had a heart after God like nobody else. affairs of the heart beastly gorgeous perfect messes. So, um, I haven’t any answer for you at all it seems.

  2. JustMe says:

    Ditch it, lest a future spouse see in writing that he has 92 more expectations to live up to than any of them ever know beforehand.
    ๐Ÿ™‚ Or what the heck, turn it into a novel–name its characters, give them the heights and depths of circumstance, and market it!

    Everything we write that comes from the heart is from our inherent longing for oneness, but there’s only One Who can meet and exceed every expectation of oneness, really. (The other others may well have bad breath, remember? Wouldn’t it be awful to return to your book to run a line through “I feel your breath near” to “You’ve killed all my houseplants, dear”?)

    God actively has His eye on you. His plan may seem TOO mysterious most days, but He knows what each of us most needs, and what we don’t, right? Hang in there!

  3. Tim J. says:

    ukok –

    Happy to see you popped in at Old World Swine! Thanks. I’m still getting the hang of things. I have now bookmarked your blog (having lost it when I switched browsers) and will check in every chance I get.

    Your journal sounds interesting… not something I’ve heard of before, but I’ll bet it is not that uncommon.

    It can be difficult for those of us who married young (and have stayed married) to understand and sympathize with the struggles of single folk. I don’t know if you are a reader of Dawn Eden’s blog, Dawn Patrol, but she writes very well. Her book, The Thrill of the Chaste is very popular, though I haven’t read it (you may well be aware of all this, but FYI, just in case).

    I count my blessings every day, and I am SO grateful to not have to worry about the dating scene. I don’t think I could take it.

    If your journal helps you to sort out your thoughts, there’s no need to deep-six it. Anyway, we all need a good laugh at ourselves now and then, and I find reading old poetry (or looking at my old art) a powerful encouragement to humility.

    I thoroughly understand the impulse to wipe the slate clean. At one time, I planned to have an art burning party, during which I and some other artists would have some drinks and make a bonfire old art. But, I dithered around and nature took care of my old art for me when the basement flooded.

  4. Cathy Keller says:

    Is a journal really meant for someone else? I could never decide and that is probably why I’ve never been able to keep one. If I write down my feelings is it to be freeing for me or is it meant to be read by someone else later? At one point in my spiritual direction Father suggested I write letters to each of my children and tell them how special they are to me…but to date it’s not been done. Why? Because I try to tell them how I feel about them each time I see or speak to them. So I can understand your quandary. I understand your confusion. I guess for me it is easier to say…”I love you because…” then it is to write in on paper.

    The choice is yours, just as it has been for me…God bless you and what ever you choose to do is the right thing to do.

  5. Alexa says:

    LOL. I’m sure you didn’t have ME in mind when you asked that question….you know what I would do!

    I think you cited plenty of good ideas for ditching it. If you ever want to – just start another one! It’s kinda (from my perspective) like junk in the basement – if you haven’t used it in awhile – ditch it – if you need something that WAS there, buy it again…in this case, write it again!

    It’s just stuff.

  6. Melanie says:

    Many years ago, I made a list of characteristics I wanted in a spouse. I came across it after marrying my DH, and I tossed it. While he definitely did meet many of the things I *knew* I wanted, he surely didn’t meet all of them! But, that doesn’t make our marriage or love any less sweet and I didn’t want him to ever think that I was disappointed that he wasn’t x, y, z even though he was a, b, c & d!

    I write DH a letter every Christmas telling him why I love him at that moment in our lives. It’s something I started our first Christmas together as a couple, and the letters are precious to him. But, these letters are definitely about him as a reality, not a potential reality.

    As far as your children finding them — a dear friend of mine had to clear out her mother’s things after she was institutionalized with severe Alzheimer’s. She came across a box of her mother’s journals. She felt there were many things her mother had written over the years that she wished she never knew (and she only read a few pages of each, and then destroyed them.) My friend immediately went home and burned all of her own journals.

    In the end, though, you need to follow your heart.

  7. ukok says:

    Owen,

    I agree. I’ve written and trashed more journals than I care to remember. Some are for keeping, some are for catharsis and should rightly be burned after the venting years are done.

    I originally set out with the ‘spouse journal’ idea so that I would write this series of love letters to the man I would later marry, but the allure of writing letters to Mr. Nobody is wearing thin. (I am laughing so hard writing this because I must be some kind of idiot sharing all this publically and I still think it’s funny!)

    Answers or no. Your input is always most welcome.

    Just Me,

    You’re pip on that there is only one whom my heart really longs for and that is the Lord. I guess this post might make it seem as though I’m desperate, but I promise you that I’m not. I have to be dragged out of the house kicking and screaming to meet new people! I am accepting of being single. I mention the ‘spouse journal’ because I can’t see the point in writing this series of love letters to someone who doesn’t exist for me at this time and thought I’d ask you all what you thought about it. Nothing more than that ๐Ÿ™‚

    Tim,

    Honoured to have your company over here. I really enjoyed your blog and look forward to reading many more of your posts. Thanks for the info about Dawn’s book. I am familiar with it but haven’t read it. I do appreciate your mentioning it though.

    This might sound bizarre, but I am completely unfamiliar with the dating scene myself. I’ve been single for 9 years now (my decree of nullity was issued about 5 or 6 years ago) and I kind of expect God to thrash out the details and find me the guy. I’ guess I’m just lazy, but I hate to date. I genuinely believe that if God has some guy in mind, he’ll have him find me, whether that is through my work, through my catechetical ministry, through my friends, or barring pscho stalkers..maybe even via cyberspace!(

    I’m delighted for you that you are happily married. At my age I had hoped to have been able to say the same thing,who knows, maybe a convent retirement beckons?

    Oh yes, and Tim, I have seen your art (at least online) and the thought of you having an art burning party fills me with horror – the basement flood was rather fortuitous though wasn’t it!

  8. ukok says:

    Cathy,

    I really appreciate your thoughtful comment. I think I agree with you that a journal, even one about/intended for the readership of a recipient, is such a personal thing that it is probably best not shared.

    My journal keeping has been sporadic over the course of my lifetime. I now only have a part of one of one of my old diaries and I have only kept that because it is so intensely personal to me – I began writing it after my daughters father died nearly 16 years ago and it really helped me through – only wrote in it for a year or so but I recorded all the ‘Firsts’ our baby daughter did that Steve wasn’t around to see. By writing in the diary I felt that I was sharing them with him somehow.

    Thanks Cathy for your input! Much appreciated.

    Alexa,

    Sweetheart, you are like a phoenix rising from the ashes….blog plates, new ideas etc….It’s one of the amazing things about you. I am inclined to agree with you on the journal thing too:-)

    Melanie,

    What an absolutely beautiful thing for you to do for your husband. I think receiving a letter like that would be better than any Christmas gift that money could buy ๐Ÿ™‚

    Relating your friends experience has given me a lot of food for thought and I thank you for sharing yours, and your friends experience.

    Thanks all!

  9. I think you could just put it in an envelope and write “to be destroyed on my death” …

    but later on – you might want to share your thoughts with your daughter / son even if Mr Right never comes along …

    thanks for popping by. I’m off now …

  10. Antonia says:

    Well, my opinion is that if it is helpful for you to express those feelings, then keep doing it. I used to do something similar some years ago. It doesn’t really matter what he “might” think in the future, or what people will think after your death.
    But if you’re finding that it’s getting increasingly embarrasing/difficult to think about/to write about, then just stop.
    I don’t think there is a right/wrong answer!

    God Bless
    xxxx

  11. ukok says:

    Lorna, thanks for stopping by before you head off for Scotland! Be safe!

    Antonia,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I think I’ve reached ‘cringe’ level with it and it’s time to bin it. I can always follow Melanie’s excellent example anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. ukok says:

    I think I’ve come to a conclusion about this. I think it’s time to get the shredder out. I’m glad that I posted about it because your insights have been invaluable in helping me to read the decision that I have about this. Thank you!

  13. wilsonian says:

    Okay, it is probably very unfair of me to leave a comment when pages are likely being fed into the shredder at this moment…

    …but I can’t resist.

    Several things came to mind when I first read this post, and several more when I read through the comments. But this is what I’m left with. Perhaps the journal was meant for you all along. For those days, when you are remarried, and the reality of a second marriage (or marriage made later in life) really sucks. For those days when he leaves his underwear on the floor even when you asked him not to. You will be able to go back and revisit these prayers and letters, to remember all that you poured into the relationship before it was ever something tangible.

    fwiw

  14. I say throw it away! In fact, you have inspired me….

  15. ukok says:

    Wilsonian,

    thats certainly an interesting way of thinking about it and one I had not considered. I will likely ditch it, but have heard another beautiful story today about a family friend who for more than 60 years kept a diary throughout his marriage to his beloved wife. I think that would be an awfully wonderful thing to do. perhaps if were to write one early enough in the honeymoon period, it would have a similar effect on those dark days!

    Angela,

    Thats great! but I’m sure its more likely to have been the words and ideas of all the wonderful readers who have commented here, that have inspired you, i know they have me ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. maggieclitheroe says:

    Have you heard the one about a girl who kept praying to St Joseph for a spouse? She prayed for many years to St. Joseph, then at last she got fed up with waiting so long, so she picked up the statue she had in her upstairs room, and chucked it out the window. A young man was passing by, and it fell on him. He gathered it up, and knocked on the door to return it to the owner. From thence a relationship blossomed, and they soon got married! You could try throwing a statue or two around, must beat dating!
    (This tale was related to me as a true story, anyone know if it is?)
    I waited a long time for my husband, and when he first came along I didn’t look twice at him – he was 7 yrs younger than me – (I was busy chasing someone who eventually went off to be a priest, at the time – that was the story of my life then). Still, he was very persistent, and God let us know that we were meant to marry in so many ways, that after going out together for about 4 months we got engaged for 6 weeks, and got married on 25th March – Lady Day, and that’s coming up for 13 years ago.
    If the Lord wants it to happen, I’m sure he’ll guide the right chap to you!
    God Bless.

  17. ukok says:

    Maggie, I have seen this comment and I’m going to include it in a post if I may, it’s terrific. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Robert N G says:

    Aw, keep it.

    But then, I’m an incurable romantic myself.

    -Over 40 Male Reader (married, of course)

  19. RobK says:

    If it is for him, I say ditch it.
    When you find the right person, communicate then with letters, as sweet and flowery as you like. That is part of courtship. But would want my spouse to be to have that relationship with the real me, not an imagined me.

    If it is for you, keep it.
    Nothing wrong with putting your thoughts and feelings about a future spouse down on paper. Especially if it provides you with a valued outlet. Perhaps it may make material for a later book? It will certainly provide insight into the yester-you.

    Just my thoughts.

  20. ukok says:

    Robert,

    You just had to say it didn’t you….the ‘M’ word….there I was hoping that some single guys would creep out of the blogwork…..

    j/k!

    Rob,

    Thanks loads for your insight. This is exactly what I believe too. I think I have now come to the conclusion that this was more about me than the man I was thinking I originally started it for. It helps me actually, that you left a comment on this as I really appreciate your input.

    God Bless you!

  21. Pingback: Shredded Love « … Ukok’s Place …

  22. UKOK!!! Start another one! Today!

    I have quite a story to tell in that department. Many twists and turns of the plot. But I will tell you that a year after my great hopes were dashed, I wrote in the back of a notebook five different positive things I wanted to happen in my life, two of them I promised myself would happen within a year, and they did! One was that I would be engaged within a year, at the age of 46!! And I was and we got married and moved to South Carolina.

    So don’t give me that over 40 stuff. I surely gave it to myself, so I know that trap. It’s a trap.

    By the way, I tried to join your Facebook page but messed it up. Email me sometime if you’d like about this at kitchenmadonna@mac.com. I have some books I’d recommend. Some things I’d say in private.

    Please please have faith. It could possibly be that you don’t have a vocation to marriage. I thought that the past two years about myself. But I was wrong.

  23. PS. As for your prince finding you, ya gotta make yourself available. I know exactly how hard it is over 40. I tried avemariasingles.com and eharmony. I have a horror story about one and a success story about the other: I met my husband through eharmony and he lived 20 minutes away and I would have never run into him otherwise.

    I’m not necessarily saying to try online dating. Maybe, maybe not. I’m just saying don’t give up. Be determined. Don’t leave any stone uncovered. Go learn ballroom dancing, etc etc.

    The Author of Life is writing your story. Just let Him know a few things. Be persistent. See what happens.

  24. ukok says:

    KM, oh thank you for your encouragement and support. I do have faith that the Lord’s will, will be done in my life. I really appreciate your taking the time to comment on this situation in my life.

    And of xourse I want us to be facebook friends so I am going to go add you right now!

    (((hugs)))

    p.s. lets do english tea in harrods with the gals eh?

  25. Harrods it is!

    Onward and upward!

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