Writing a note to my wife every day has single-handedly made my life so much better in a lot of ways, and I want more people to experience the same thing.
Before we get into the juicy stuff, a bit of context:
I’m a husband who is 30. I also have 4 kids, ages 6 and under. I’m the sole-provider for the family (though my wife works harder). Between the job, the kids, and extrafamilial obligations, there’s not a lot of time for communication with my wife. We’re on the go from sun-up to sun-down, and at the end of the day we drop into bed exhausted to get just enough sleep for the next day.
Very often in the past, a week or so would go by and I hadn’t even so much as checked in on my wife. Often times if something was stressing me out I wouldn’t mention it until I boiled over, and I would treat the other people in my family unfairly and unkindly.
Then we would have the talk about not talking, followed by hurt feelings, followed by false promises, followed by another week of not really having important conversations. Needless to say, communication was an issue in our marriage.
But then, things changed.
I started writing to my wife periodically. Then I listened to Rob Dyrdek on the My First Million podcast, and he said he wrote a note to his wife everyday because sometimes she was the last to hear about the things he was working on.
Over the last 6 months I have written a note every single day to my wife.
Okay, that’s a lie. I only write them on week-days, and I definitely haven’t written them every day. Though, I’ve set that expectation, and she holds me accountable to it, so I do it very often.
This practice has improved my my relationship with my wife in the following ways:
- We’re on the same page about kids, finances, how we spend our time, etc.
- We talk more than ever (weird, right?).
- We go to bed and want to spend some amount of intimate time with each other.
- We have more trust, because nothing is hidden.
- We’re less stressed because we can catch aggravations early.
- We’re better parents, and our kids will be better because of it.
I could go on for a while, but you get the point. It has changed a lot in our marriage, and our future will likely be very different from the past.
So, what about these notes makes them so special? Why is it so impactful?
Writing is thinking
That’s the golden ticket. The winning numbers. The buzzer beater.
Writing is thinking - so when I write a note to my wife I am thinking about her. And taking just fifteen minutes to a forty-five minutes a day focusing solely on my wife makes out relationship exponentially better.
Are there other ways to do this? Of course. Go do them. But for me, I’m a writer, and I don’t think about things unless I write about them. And you might be a writer too if talking often isn’t one of your core traits.
At the end of the day, my wife likes it when I think about her. It doesn’t have to be all lovey-dovey. It can be very simple and formal. But it’s the time, energy, and tangible nature of the note that shows her I’m putting in the effort.
I say so many things in these notes that I would never say out loud. What I’m excited about. What’s bugging me. Why I’m feeling stressed. My hopes and dreams. Gratitude for everything in my life. What I’m working on improving in my life.
Because of this, my wife can get to know me better. She can understand what motivates me and what makes me tick. That helps her know how to help me better. It makes everything smoother. Wins all around.
I’ll get into the structure of my notes in a minute, but throughout the note I cover several different areas of communication. This helps us get on the same page, and allows us to “think out loud” about some of the decisions we have to make - whether it’s about parenting, obligations, money, whatever.
We talk more than ever now. I think this experience is profound - and the reason we talk more is because we don’t have to get through the “transactional” conversations before we can talk about more interesting things.
Now, instead of talking about money, our time, or our kids when we sit down together, we debate politics, talk about the oddities of human perception and what motivates us to do the things we do, and we talk about the most effective and impactful ways to use our time (we recently had a conversation that we should be writing more to help people, so this post is a byproduct of that).
All of the “boring” topics are covered in the note, so we just get to have fun and dream together. It’s a blast. Because of all of this synergy, we’re into each other. It’s great. We can rest at the end of the day knowing that we’re both informed and aligned on the present and the future.
Does that mean we don’t have arguments? Of course not. But even our arguments are better, because there isn’t a bunch of pent-up emotion from not communicating with each other. We can efficiently and effectively address specific issues and get to resolutions pretty quickly.
I have no idea what the benefits would be for your marriage if you wrote a note every day, but I can say it probably will be good.
Here’s a general outline of what I write:
- Gratitude (for her, her hard work, her amazing looks, etc.)
- What I’m working on today.
- What I’m working towards (goals, deadlines, etc.)
- Anything I’m excited about.
- Anything that’s bothering me (stress, anxiety, pessimism, etc.)
- Ideas that I have (parenting, fixing the home, work related, etc.)
- Transactional stuff (finances, things I need to take care of, stuff I need to remember, etc.)
- Questions (are there any events coming up, are we doing a date night this week, etc.)
- Gratitude (for the life we have, the things we have, the time we have, the kids we have, etc.)
I don’t write every section every day, but those are the general categories I usually fall into. The note usually takes me just shy of a half-hour if I’m not distracted.
The gratitude sections are probably the most impactful. It shows her that I am thinking about her, that I am acknowledging her, and that I am attracted to her. It makes her feel safe and cherished.
I recommend writing the note first thing in the morning, preferably when your spouse is asleep (because, if they’re awake, you technically could just tell them these things in person). That’s usually when you’re most fresh, and when you have some alone time to write the note (assuming you wake up before your kids, assuming you have kids, assuming you have a spouse to write a note for).
If you have communication issues, write a note! You can write to others too - your family, your friends, your co-workers. A well written note cuts through the noise and small talk and gets you into deeper and better relationships.
I think that about covers this topic. Hopefully this helps you out.
Addendum: I should have mentioned I type out the notes (in whatever favorite note app you want to use), and then I usually text them to her (though, email works too).
After reading the comments on Hacker News - I find it so interesting to see how people respond. For some more context, I am a solo SaaS founder/operator, and the business tends to take up a lot of my focus. I work for 6 hours a day, but it’s always on my mind. That’s part of the reason I would neglect having good conversations with my wife.
Marriage does take some effort. Especially when you have kids. Some people commmented that my life sounds awful - it’s quite the opposite. Kids are a joy and they are my favorite people on this planet. Every day is filled with discovery and learning. Yes, feeding four additional mouths three times a day, changing diapers, and giving them things to do each day is a lot of work. But it’s the most rewarding work I’ve ever experienced.
Addendum #2: My wife and I sat down together to talk about some of the feedback we saw on the article. It’s a good conversation!