Using Marriage Counseling Worksheets To Think Through Your Relationship Challenges

Updated March 24, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Once you and your spouse decide to work on improving your relationship, beginning marriage counseling is often the next step. You probably know this will involve honest discussion, introspection, and practicing new ways to communicate your feelings. What you might not expect is homework. But checklists, questionnaires, assessments, and other kinds of worksheets often form a significant part of the marriage counseling process. 

These can seem a bit silly or strange if you’re not used to them — you might feel a bit like you’re back in grade school. However, if you approach them with the right mindset, marriage counseling worksheets can be valuable tools for improving the way you relate to your spouse.

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Why are marriage counseling worksheets helpful?

If you’ve never encountered worksheets for couples therapy before, you might not see the point of them. What can you get from filling out a form that you can’t get from a therapist-guided discussion with your spouse? 

Actually, marriage counseling worksheets can offer a wide range of benefits, including:

Personal reflection 

It’s one thing to hear from your partner that you’ve engaged in hurtful or neglectful behavior. Coming to that conclusion yourself may be a more powerful motivator for change. Worksheets can give you a structured way to think about how you’re contributing to the challenges facing your marriage.

Clarifying insights

Many of the unhealthy patterns that can develop within relationships are hard to see from the inside. They may be much more obvious to you once they’re written down. Marriage counseling worksheets often prompt you to make lists and records of things that occur in your day-to-day interactions with your spouse. In the process, you may notice that certain problems you thought were minor are actually frequent sources of conflict.

Practice of positive mental habits

Some couples therapy worksheets are less about diagnosing issues and more about building up more positive views of your spouse. Simply telling yourself you should try to pay more attention to the good things about your partner may not be enough. Taking the time to write them down on paper can cement and reinforce a more loving view of your spouse.

Reference materials

Writing out thoughts, feelings, needs, and goals in a worksheet offers you something you can refer back to later on in therapy. This may help make sure that important issues don’t get skipped over. It could also assist you in clarifying your thoughts so that you can better communicate them in the future.

Resources for pre-therapy couples

Lots of relationship therapy worksheets are available for free online. They can be valuable resources if you’re interested in improving your relationships but aren’t yet sure if counseling is right for you. While simple worksheets can’t take the place of a trained and licensed marriage counselor, they may be an effective way to prepare for more in-depth work with a professional. 

What kinds of marriage counseling worksheets are there?

Let’s take a look at some of the worksheets you might be given by a marriage counselor. These are broad, general categories, not standardized exercises. The details can vary a lot between different therapists, and some worksheets may cover more than one of the approaches below.


Relationship goals worksheets

This may be one of the first exercises a marriage counselor asks you to complete. Worksheets like these are intended to help you clarify what you’re looking to achieve in therapy. Some are more free-form, prompting you to write down the goals and outcomes that are most important to you. Others may list common relationship goals and ask you to mark or rank the ones that you care about the most. 

Research on couples counseling suggests that it’s most effective when both partners agree on what they need to work on. A relationship goals worksheet may help you and your spouse get on the same page.

Values worksheets

Some worksheets may ask you to identify the things you value most in a partner, a relationship, or life as a whole. This can be somewhat similar to a goal-based exercise. But instead of specifically asking about the changes you want to make, it’s giving you a chance to define what’s most meaningful to you in love and life. Possible examples include

  • Affection
  • Trust
  • Quality time
  • Kindness
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Reliability
  • Spirituality 
  • Responsibility

While filling out one of these worksheets, you may notice that your partner already fulfills some of those values for you. On the other hand, you might learn that you disagree about the importance of certain things, which can be an opportunity for discussion and negotiation.

Gratitude worksheets

Some researchers have found evidence that feelings of thankfulness between spouses are strongly associated with marital satisfaction. When a relationship is in a rough patch, it may be hard to remember the things that make you grateful for your partner’s presence in your life. Some marriage counseling worksheets focus on helping you recover your appreciation for what your spouse does for you.

A gratitude worksheet may ask you to list the things your husband or wife does for you, or it may suggest a list of reasons to be thankful for them and ask you to check those that apply. Alternatively, it might take the form of a journal for you to carry with you in between sessions, noting whenever your spouse does something for which you’re grateful.

Similarities and differences worksheets

Tensions and dissatisfactions can sometimes arise in relationships because you expect the other person to think as you do and want the same things you want. In other cases, you might run into difficulty because of the way you’re too similar — for instance, both of you always want to take the lead in planning and decision-making. 

You can use marriage counseling worksheets to identify the ways your similarities and differences clash, as well as the ways they work together. This can be good for working out how the two of you can fulfill complementary roles in your partnership. It could also help you spot areas of shared weakness that you may need to work on in therapy.

Sexual intimacy worksheets

Not all people have high levels of sexual desire, and low libido isn’t necessarily a sign of health or relationship problems. People with certain kinds of sexual orientations or identities may feel little to no need for sex, or they may only desire physical intimacy in very specific situations.

However, a satisfying sex life is an important part of marital happiness for many people. Sadly, couples often find it hard to discuss their sexual needs openly, or have trouble addressing sexual dissatisfaction without causing arguments and hurt feelings. 

Worksheets can provide a more neutral, less emotionally charged way for you and your partner to communicate about your sex life. They can prompt you to write down your desires, fantasies, insecurities, and boundaries, helping you come to a better understanding of how to satisfy each other. In the process, you may find some unexpected areas of common ground and get ideas for new things to try.

Self-improvement worksheets

It’s common to arrive at marriage counseling with strong ideas about how your spouse should change. But many couples therapists agree that this is unlikely to be helpful in bridging the gap between you. Usually, it’s more productive to focus on what you can do differently to make the marriage more functional and satisfying.

This type of worksheet is all about helping you identify ways you could be a better partner. It may ask you to write down ideas about how you could improve in various domains of married life, such as:

  • Communication
  • Showing affection
  • Finances
  • Sex
  • Household chores
  • Childcare
  • Relationships with in-laws

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Love language worksheets

Have you ever felt like your husband or wife doesn’t seem to notice all of the ways you try to show them affection? Does it seem like they rarely reciprocate, leaving you feeling neglected? The problem might be that you’re speaking different “love languages”. 

Psychological researchers have found support for the idea that different people instinctively express love in different ways. If you have a different love language from your partner, you may not recognize it when your partner is trying to communicate how much they care for you. And you may be trying to show love to them in ways that don’t speak to them.

Filling out and sharing love language worksheets may help you adapt to each other’s relationship styles. For instance, you might learn that while you prefer to give thoughtful gifts to express love, your spouse responds more to physical touch and quality time. Knowing this can help you show affection in ways they’ll appreciate and recognize when they’re reaching out to you.

Getting guidance from a therapist

Though marriage counseling worksheets can be a helpful way to start repairing your relationship, they’re likely to be much more effective with help from a licensed couples therapist. If the prospect of seeking professional help seems daunting, you may want to try online marriage therapy. With no need to travel to a therapist’s office, this can be a much more convenient way to get assistance. As a result, it may be easier to schedule appointments around both partners’ schedules.

Online marriage counseling often works very well, despite being a somewhat newer technique. A 2022 research paper reported that couples receiving counseling over the Internet had equally positive outcomes as those attending sessions in person. Participants in web-based therapy showed improvements in relationship satisfaction, happiness, and overall mental health.


Although filling out marriage counseling worksheets may feel odd at first, it can be an informative and helpful process. You may identify important areas for improvement in your relationship, learn how you can be a better partner, and discover unexpected new ways to connect with your spouse. These tools can be even more effective when used with the guidance of an experienced therapist.

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