“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate”
– Shakespeare, Sonnet 18
The love letter is arguably the oldest and most romantic gesture of affection. We can find love letters at archeological sites that date back hundreds of years. And today, we can see thousands of examples of love letters on the internet; from the fictional Captain Wentworth and his yearning to the promposals of hopeful high schoolers. Love letters can be a great way to encapsulate your love and give a physical reminder that can be saved and read over and over again.
However, with so many exemplary love letters out there it can feel intimidating to write our own. Poetry and lyrical words don’t come easily to everyone. We want to be able to make something beautiful, romantic, and memorable; but the pressure can often leave us frozen before a blank sheet of paper. Remember that the best part of this letter will be that it comes from you; your spouse wants to hear your thoughts!
It’s the Thought that Counts
While we were dating, my husband worked out in the wilderness of Arizona for an entire summer. From his sleeping bag, he would write letters home to me. Although he is not Shakespeare (I believe he called himself a “loyal hoe” in one of them) I have saved each of those letters and still remember how excited I was to read and reread each one. These letters let me know I was on his mind, and that he still loved me. And that was the best gift ever!
We are going to walk through the basics of writing a good love letter. Feel free to mix it up and go with your heart, but here is a structure and some ground rules to help you get started. You don’t have to be Shakespeare, just be the wonderful person who loves your spouse with your whole heart.
The first thing to consider is what you want to write about. What could you possibly say to the person you talk to everyday? You may feel like you know how to say I love you, but you don’t know what else you can say to fill up a page!
A great place to start is to brainstorm the best memories you have with your spouse. How did you originally fall in love? What moments did you have together that lead you here? When did you know you wanted to marry them? What was your wedding like? Do you remember any specific moments? What recent moments have you had that felt special? Don’t be afraid to add more spicy memories. What were some of the best times you two have had sex? What about times you were really attracted to your spouse?
Once you come up with a good list of memories, it’s time to flesh out the details. Go through the 5 senses: what were the significant sights, sounds, smells, touches, and tastes? Bringing in these sensory details will help your letter sound more lyrical and will put your spouse back in that moment. Also focus on your spouse in the memory. What role did they play in your happiness at that moment? How did they look, what did they say, and what other things do you remember about them?
Who is Your Spouse?
The next thing to add is gratitude and admiration for the wonderful person you are married to. An important thing to understand here is that although it’s nice to thank your spouse for what they do for you, it is so much more impactful to admire who your spouse is outside of you. For example, it’s nice to hear “I love when you do the dishes for me”, but it is a bigger deal to hear, “I love the way you chase your passions”.
So who is this person you’re married to? Brainstorm what your spouse loves, what they are working toward, who they are with their friends, with their family, and on their own. Recognize their personhood and let them know you love that person. You see them for who they are, and not just as your spouse.
Poetry and Quotes
It’s not a bad thing to ask for a little help. And Google has all the answers. Spend some time looking through love poems and quotes. Find a few that speak to you. You can use these as models to base your own words off of, or simply put some quotes into your letter verbatim. If you feel it’s necessary, you can explain what the quote makes you think of or how it applies to your spouse.
Alright, we have the content. Now we just need to put it all together. Here is the structure I would use, but do feel like you have to follow it! It is more important to speak from your heart.
1) Address it
Who is this letter to? Maybe I over think things, but names have power. I know for me, my husband and I call each other babe a lot. It’s sweet, but I sometimes miss hearing him say my name. Other people may be called mom or dad all day and want to hear something more endearing. Or, there may be a special nickname you have reserved for your spouse.
*Note: don’t be afraid to cheese it up with adding words like “beloved” or “dearest” or “the one my heart wants”. This is your time to be unapologetically romantic!
2) Add a Quote
Start by adding a poem or quote that really speaks to you about love. This will set the tone as romantic, soft, and heartfelt. Make sure you do spend time to find words that fit what you feel, and don’t just choose the first one you find.
3) Share a Memory
Recall one of those favorite memories you brainstormed. Layout the details you explored (you don’t have to add every detail you remembered; but put the most important ones or details you thought you had forgotten). Highlight your spouse in the memory and what you loved about sharing that moment with them.
4) Admiration and Gratitude
Now share a little bit of what you notice about your spouse. What are the qualities you admire in them? What do you love about spending time with them and about what they do? And yes, you can add spicy stuff in here too. In a tasteful way, you can add what you love about their body and getting to have sex with this amazing person. Just make sure they know that you see the person they are, and all they have to offer.
5) Heartfelt Statement of Love
Finish off with a sentence or two about how much you love this person. You can make this as flowery/romantic/cheesy as you want, but also don’t feel the need to come up with something crazy. Simple can also be powerful.
Again, consider your name as you are signing off. Who is this person who so deeply loves your spouse?
7) Make it Pretty
As a last step, you can decorate, draw, add color, or seal it up nice and pretty. Add your personality, and show how much effort you put into this masterpiece.
Writing a love letter can feel embarrassing or daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! This is simply a romantic way to let your spouse know you are thinking about them, and love the wonderful person they are. Go start writing!
Written by Amanda Severson with Get Your Marriage On!
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