Valentine’s day seems to become more commercialised each year. It’s our cue to stock up on cards, flowers, chocolates, and teddy bears, instead of love, friendship, fun, and good memories.
One aspect of Valentine’s day that’s fading fast is the old-fashioned love letter. We’re spoilt for choice with an amazing range of beautiful cards available instantly at our local giftshop or supermarket. You can find anything from a cheeky one-liner, to breathtaking poetry spanning three of the card’s pages.
How often have you gone to the store to choose a card only to come away thinking, “That’s lovely, but it’s not exactly what I want to say”? The greatest benefit of writing your own love letter is the assurance you give your loved one that the words they’re reading are not merely “close enough”, but the truth about your feelings.
What exactly do you want to say?
Make a list:
What do you love about your partner? Too hard? Make it more specific – choose a physical characteristic that turns you on. Now choose a behaviour – what have they done recently that made you melt? Focus on things they say and how they say them. What about things they don’t say – like “I told you so”?
How do they make you feel? Do you like the type of person you become when you’re with your partner? How do they bring out your good side? What influence do they have on you?
What do you think about when you anticipate a romantic evening together? Do you look forward to any time with your partner even if it’s doing the housework together?
If you’re still stuck, think about this: What are you looking for when you go out to buy a card? Have you seen a card that’s almost right? If you want, write your love letter alongside the card. Cross out what doesn’t apply and add in stuff that does. Or write a note expanding on the theme of the card and the ideas that struck you about it, and slip your letter inside.
How do you want to say it?
Expand on the list you drafted. Describe one or two moments you shared that were special to you. Dig for the reasons why they mean so much. Freewrite in draft and then choose the best of what you’ve written to put in your letter.
Are you a sentimental person? If not, don’t force yourself to write a gooey letter. You won’t enjoy it, and your partner will probably think you’ve gone nuts. Light, funny, cheeky, or even insults work just as well in a letter as a card. Just make sure your insults have hidden compliments, or are based on something you know your partner will find funny. If in doubt…
Balance any deep and meaningful messages with some humour to avoid overwhelming your partner completely, but without making it trite.
This article was first published on BellaOnline in February 2006. © Elsa Neal
And a pretty ceramic love letter holder to store the letters and cards you receive