Several years ago I met a normal couple living in a normal house with two kids, a dog, jobs, bills, schedules and stress. But this couple was anything but normal. These two people were rather spectacular, in fact.
While at dinner one night, I learned something amazing and so abnormal about their relationship, leaving a lasting impression on this then-new bride. This couple, heading into their 10th year of marriage, gives love letters to one other every single week. I was captivated. I inquired further. These letters weren’t always lengthy, not always eloquent, nor entirely Shakespeare-eque. But each was written with thoughtfulness and intention on a regular basis. What I loved even more about that practice was that this 10-year ritual was initiated by her husband – he had started writing her every Monday morning long before she followed suit.
Now, men. Don’t go burn all of these magazines around town you can get your hands on in hopes that your partner won’t read this, tear out those first couple of paragraphs and tape them to your bathroom mirror. Ladies, I hope you aren’t feeling slighted. Don’t tear out those top paragraphs and tape them to the bathroom mirror. There are better tactics for both of you. Keep reading.
Written declarations of love have been on this Earth as long as humans have had stones and cave walls. Especially in the early days of a relationship, it’s typically in our nature to share feelings with the one that makes us swoon. But over time, sharing feelings tend to become less frequent and can actually become downright quite awkward for some couples. Time constraints and stress compound the issue and before you realize it, that flickering flame of adoration and romance has gone out.
There is something so timeless and sentimental about a soldier writing a loved one back home, isn’t there? They understand the importance and fragility of each day. They face life and death with each hour and they know the power of the words they express will remain forever. I vividly remember reading “The Bridges of Madison County” for the first time many years ago and feeling that lump rise in my throat as Robert James Waller described the box of letters hidden under the bed and discovered years later, written between two star-crossed lovers. Lately, it’s hard to make it through the day without hearing the words “Downton Abbey.” Matthew’s letters to Mary have made millions of hearts melt worldwide.
So how does one go about crafting the perfect love letter? My answer: Make time. Time is really the only essential element to sharing your thoughts with the one you love. Some are born with the gift of expression and an ability and desire to share deep feelings. Others are not. But whether the words are eloquent or elementary, quoted or original, funny or deep, it really doesn’t matter. In this case, it really is the thought that counts.
Need a Little More Guidance? The tips below should help:
Write about experiences you’ve shared together. Talk about a favorite memory or a lasting impression. Let them know how important that time was to you and how you look forward to creating memories together for a lifetime.
Remind them of the dreams and hopes you’ve shared. Write the details and ideas of how you’d like to make that happen with them and how much you love sharing these dreams with them.
Write about their characteristics and the traits that have drawn you to them over time. Express to them how much you appreciate what they bring to your life each day.
Don’t just tell them how much you love them. Tell them why you love them and how your life has been enriched having them in it.
Take initiative by asking them on a date (even if you’ve been married for 35 years). Think of what they love to do and suggest you do that together soon.
Be thoughtful. Nothing good will happen from a thoughtless, forced letter. Get some alone time, spend a few minutes gathering your thoughts and share your heart with the one you love.
A Facebook wall post, Tweet or a text doesn’t count. Although these forms of communication are always welcomed additions throughout the week, they are not love letters.
Don’t be afraid to be a little forward. It is a love letter after all.