Save your relationship with these five love letters
When reading the classics, we observe the power of letter writing between couples, an essential communication tool for feeling close and connected. Films such as "The Notebook," a romantic favorite set shortly after World War II, illustrate the importance of communicating via love letters to demonstrate deep emotions for a partner with words on paper. Today, we spend little time communicating with words. A short text, an emoji, or a date night (when we can squeeze it in) where we talk about the kids, the house, and rarely our love for each other.
When I see couples struggling in my practice, I often turn to written words. Writing down your feelings allows you time to contemplate your message. Typically, the chosen words come out softer, more thoughtful, and less intense than words may sound when spoken. Writing what I fondly call a love letter allows you to explain yourself, reveal your dreams, and spice up your relationship - especially if the two of you struggle to connect.
Love letters are an act of love, an illustration of their priority in your life, and one of the most romantic gifts you can offer for Valentine’s Day. If it’s been quite some time since you’ve written a love letter, I have five suggested topics that will light up your love.
1. What I was thinking when I met you. Research suggests that there exists a correlation between how well you remember your first encounter with your significant other and your happiness as a couple. Describe what you thought about your partner including all your hopes after your first date. Do you remember what they wore, the car they drove, or what they said? Include every detail in your letter with special attention to what happened to your heart during that first meeting.
2. What would I do without you. Speculating what your life would be like without your partner enhances appreciation. Many of us take our partner for granted, expecting them to always be there, but what if they didn’t come home today? What would you miss? What part of your life would be empt? Tell your partner everything.
3. What I dream for our future. Including your dreams of how your partner fits in your life forever helps them feel secure and an integral part of a loving relationship. Tell them where you see the two of you retiring, your idea of a dream house, or where you’ll spend your anniversary. We often get swept up in the present with busy work, deadlines, raising kids, and attending events, but taking time out to refocus on the future you are building together is a romantic reminder that it’s not where you go but who accompanies you that matters.
4. When I remember this crazy experience. What "story" highlights a funny experience you shared together? What happened? Do you still smile when you recall it? Share it with your partner. Give context: what tender action did your partner take that made the whole event even funnier? Sharing adventures or experiences in a love letter makes your partner feel close to you. These moments are part of your history together; therefore, they deserve a letter of their own.
5. 1,000 reasons I love you. You need not literally write 1,000 reasons, but five will make your partner happy. Consider the way he/she smells, dresses, or laughs. Love is much more than a feeling; it’s a commitment. Within making and keeping that commitment, things happen that keep you strong during difficult times. When you write down reasons you love your partner, you tell them you are present and notice, which increases feelings of connection and closeness.
Many times throughout my marriage I re-read old love letters from my husband, and they brought me closer to him. It’s one of the reasons I suggest my couples take time to write each other a love letter when struggling in their relationship. You don’t need a reason to tell someone how much they mean to you, but Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to write a love letter to the person who adds meaning, joy, and love to your life.