Why Write? It Could Save Your Marriage

About a year ago, in the midst of the FLX query challenge and looking to branch out into new markets, I pitched Inside Jersey with an idea for a north Jersey wine tour. Basically, I thought it would be nifty to show how you could still enjoy tastings and wine culture in an area without wineries, via wine bars, shop tastings, etc.

The EIC thought it was a nifty idea, but then was all: how about you include wineries, and do The Ultimate NJ Wine Tour? And because it included the word “ultimate,” I got way excited and proceeded to visit all 33 NJ wineries registered through the NJ Wine Growers’ Association, in addition to wine shops, restaurants, bars, etc. My husband and I even took part in a wine making class (we bottle our Cabernet in September!).

We did it all in three, frenetic months, and I handed in my finished piece at the end of 2009. Finally, a full year after I first pitched it, it’s in print (go to page 66).

But this isn’t about the pitch to publish process, or even about how ideas can transform themselves into completely new stories. (Another time?) Rather, it’s about how one writing assignment had benefits far beyond the immediate financial gain.

You see… about a year ago, after a fairly melodramatic fight (you can read about my struggles with depression here), my husband and I finally decided to shell out the cash for couples therapy in an attempt to save our marriage. The topic that came up again and again? My husband and I weren’t seeing enough of each other. We weren’t spending quality time together. We weren’t communicating or sharing new experiences with each other.

Of course, it was because of money. And work. He was stuck at a full-time job he hated, while also trying to build up a web development company on the side. I was trying to break into new writing markets, and recover the income I had lost when the New York Sun folded, while also managing a products blog over at Nerve and entering a career coaching certification program. I was trying to create boundaries between my personal and professional life, and felt my husband should be doing the same. I understood the financial pressure he was under, but felt that he should also be making our marriage a priority.

So how did more work make our marriage work?

The wine tasting was a shared interest and, once I received the assignment, I convinced Michael he should help out with my research. We traveled across NJ together, even spending several weekends away in order to cover the southern half of the state. We shared glasses of pinot noir on outdoor patios. We crushed grapes together. Once, we even went to seven wineries in one day! (I survived that one by using my husband’s glass as the dump bucket; he fared less well.) We spent every single weekend together, immersed in this shared interest of ours, and it revitalized our marriage.

So how has writing added value to your life?

Related: Better Than Money

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  1. So great that an assignment could bring you closer. It’s always awesome when that happens!

  2. What a terrific spin – and a great idea on many levels. I remember hearing about this piece, too!

  3. I would add it can make you a better parent. A couple years ago I had an assignment to cover local birthday cake bakeries. I loaded my three kids in the car, drove all over finding this out-of-the-way bakeries and sampling as we went. We had such a good time. Of course, when it came to writing about car insurance, well no one was real interested in helping out on that one!


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