Study Shows This 20 Minute Writing Project Could Save Your Marriage

Eli Finkel, a Northwestern University psychology professor, recently completed a two-year study that followed the marriages of 120 couples. In the study, which will be published later this year in the journal, “Psychological Science“, Finkel and his co-authors asked half of the participating couples to complete three simple simple writing projects explaining their most recent arguments from the perspective of an objective observer.

Now, in an article on, Finkel shares how these writing assignments can actually help save your marriage.


What the study found was that the couples who did the writing projects were much happier and more satisfied with their marriages than the couples who didn’t. Finkel explains that the emotions involved in an argument with your spouse often skew your perspective and make it difficult to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

We know that when people argue they tend to adopt their own perspective, and from your own perspective, it’s really easy to understand what it is your spouse is doing that’s so infuriating and why you are so justified in your anger. From a third-party perspective, it’s much easier to get a sense of the possibility that you might be coming off as kind of a jerk and your partner has a pretty compelling argument on his or her side as well.”

Finkel explains that in the couples in the control group, marriage satisfaction began to decline in the second year of marriage, but in the group that did the writing tasks, that decline disappeared.

They were able to sustain their relationship satisfaction and passion over time, because it helped people avoid the distress that frequently comes with conflict. What’s clear from previous research and our own work is that it’s not the existence of conflict, but how people manage conflict that can have a pretty corrosive effect on relationship well-being. What we were able to do was not reduce the amount of conflict, but the amount of distress they experienced about the conflict and that helped them sustain their relationship satisfaction and passion over time.”

Finkel says that couples can do their own version of this writing project on their own and possible save their marriage from the steady decline in passion and satisfaction that is so common.

This is a task that takes 21 total minutes a year, takes $0 and you can do it from your own home. What possible argument could there be for not trying out whether this could help your own marriages?”

Check out the rest of the article to see how to do this on your own and help save your marriage free of charge and with a very small investment of your time!

One Response to Study Shows This 20 Minute Writing Project Could Save Your Marriage

  1. Cathy Lorient February 26, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Why do you think this writing project helps save marriage? Are you going to try it out? Feel free to leave a comment!

    – Cathy Lorient

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