Love. It’s the season.
Let me help you make it special by writing your sweetie a simple love letter.
I so hope that sometime in your life you’ve received a love letter from a significant other. Remember, for a moment, how it made you feel. Even in grade school, a simple love letter (complete with check boxes) made us feel wonderful. I remember that humble feeling of amazement someone could prize me as he did.
Words are powerful and weighty and magical. Sadly, their powers aren’t used for good as often as they used to be. And, handwriting has shed its importance because we now have the faster computer and internet.
Perhaps we’ve gotten lazy. Or, we make excuses for our ‘not good enough’ handwriting or word choice. What we don’t realize is that those very characteristics are what make us…..us. How you speak or write is a part of you. Words, however they are communicated, are a glimpse into your soul.
On my heart this year is my personal campaign to reinvigorate my own use of ‘the letter’ to communicate my appreciation, thankfulness, and yes, love, to my people – in my own writing. Handwriting isn’t even taught anymore in school. Really? Handwriting is a part of our very being. It’s personal. And it’s becoming extinct.
Treasuring the past
My grandmother kept a box of letters from my grandfather from his days on a Navy ship during WWII. Married for over 60 years, those letters provide a window into the life of a military man during war, and his longing for his sweetheart. Love was offered with a stamp and anticipated, waited for on the other end. They even had some sort of secret code worked out so that she would know where they were docking next without giving away secrets (today we call this OPSEC). If the destination was on the U.S. coast, my grandmother would make every effort to get there to meet him.
I also have a box of my husband’s grandfather’s love letters to his grandmother when he was in Germany during WWII. What a treasure these are because we no longer have these people in our lives. We read them and smile as we are given a piece of his grandfather’s soul that he was willing to put on paper. We prize these snapshots into his life, and even deeper than a photo, these words give us a glimpse into his heart.
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Years ago when my own husband was traveling weekly, he wrote letters to me, giving me a small respite from my long days with little ones underfoot. His effort was what meant the most, because I knew his days were long as well. I still have them those letters. Somehow, having a personal note, written by hand, is special. The boring immediacy of the internet has increased the value of ‘personal’ , and ‘handmade’.
So why don’t we craft love letters anymore?
Or even just letters for that matter? Well, it takes longer. Yes, it does, but not that much longer. I think the deeper issue is that it requires vulnerability, and this is scary. Even among married couples, this notion can be uncomfortable.
Enter the greeting card industry. They jumped on this very idea. We let Hallmark craft some flowery words that somewhat convey bits of our feelings, pay $7 for a fabrication, and we get credit for thoughtfulness.
Let’s be trailblazers this Valentine’s Day. Let’s give our sweeties something they will treasure for years to come. Here’s the secret: It’s not hard. All you need is some paper and a pen. I like to have blank cards on hand that can be used for any purpose, but absolutely any stationery works.
On a side note, here’s a book we’ve had for a long time. You might enjoy it too!
So, here is a simple template to help you do this.
Just follow this guide and you’ll be set.
Begin your letter with a heartfelt greeting and date it.
Use a description that only you would use for your love.
Now tell your reason for writing.
“On this (occasion), I want you to know (your feelings)………..”
Tell him what you love about him. How does he take care for you? What are things he thought you didn’t notice? How do you laugh together? How does he make you feel?
“You make me feel………….”,
“I love how………..”.
These can be physical attributes but not ONLY physical.
Recall a fun/sweet time together.
Write about a memory you share, how you felt, even what you wore.
“I remember when we……….”
Tell of your hopes for the future.
“I can’t wait to……..”
Sign it with a heartfelt words.
Use words like:
“All my heart, (you)”
“Forever yours, (you)”
Tip: Write a rough draft. And, if you’re so inclined, add a little perfume (if you really want to go old school). Why not? Slip it in his briefcase or bag that he takes to work for him to find unexpectedly.
That’s it. It only takes a small effort to quickly create a keepsake. And a love letter means infinitely more than anything Mr. Hallmark can put out.
Some ideas should not be passed over or tossed out because they may take a little effort.
Our middle age years should be about passing on to the next generation ideas that are worthy of our time. The craft of writing letters is in danger of becoming extinct. We cannot let this happen. Computers cannot communicate heart and soul like a personal handwritten letter can.
I know that our grandparents never anticipated that their grandkids would be reading their letters to their sweethearts. Some of them are even a little racy. But we are so lucky to be able see their love, put out there, with authentic words and feelings. It makes fairytale stories tangible, and real.
A simple life sometimes requires a little effort. Oh, but my sweet sisters, it is so worth it.
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