How to write a love letter
An old song illustrates the promise—and futility—of writing "love letters in the sand." The songwriter expresses beautiful sentiments of undying love, only to be rejected by his beloved. There’s an important lesson here. The simple act of writing a well-crafted love letter could open the way to a fulfilling life with your true love . . . or to ultimate disappointment. It depends on a number of factors.
The first, and most important, consideration is the object of your affections. Ask yourself a few questions before you begin: Does this person feel the same way as I do? How well do I know the love of my life? At what stage is the relationship? Am I sure there is a relationship? Are there any obstacles to a potential relationship? Only when you have clear answers to these questions should you make the bold step of putting ink to your feelings.
If done correctly, a love letter could be the first step in a long relationship. It could also be a major influence in moving a current relationship to the next level. Or, if done without thoughtful planning, it could drive away your dream person.
Take the first step
Maybe your co-worker or classmate has no idea about your feelings. Are you too shy to express yourself in person? A letter may be the answer. Keep in mind, this is a tentative first step, so keep your emotions under control . Saying too much too soon could be a deal breaker. Be casual. This is not the place for sexual innuendos. Treat the person as a friend, but hint at a possible connection between the two of you. Compliment them in reasonable terms.
The euphoria of the initial stage of a romance could entice you into saying things you may regret later. Things you say when you both believe the other person is perfect can come back to haunt you. Don’t make any promises you can’t fulfill. Never write anything you wouldn’t mind all his or her friends hearing about.
When’s the next stage?
Knowing the stage of your current romance is important—and it should be mutual. Psychologists suggest that relationships proceed through a series of predictable steps. It usually begins with the “perfect” stage when everything is rosy. Then the trouble begins. Dealing with these problems effectively can lead a couple through stages of adjusting and compromising. Success at these early stages can result in the acceptance and commitment that can lead to true love.
Writing a love letter appropriate to the stage can be a way of communicating. And communicating is a vital step in forming strong relationships.
Nothing says love like poetry. If you’re talented—truly talented—try creating something original. Expressing your thoughts in your own words can open doors. But be careful to strike a balance. “The moon is like a big toenail in the sky” does not stir a romantic chord. On the other hand, comparing your love to exotic flowers or fragrances with five-syllable words could be a bit over the top.
If you’re musical, you can take the poetry to the next level. Set your words to music and sing your way to his heart.
If you’re not a wordsmith, don’t despair. A few lines from an accomplished poet can touch the sensitivities of your beloved. Avoid plagiarizing. Trying to pass off Shakespeare or Wordsworth as your own work can only lead to trouble down the line.
Be sensitive and cautious
A love letter is not the place for crude language. The purpose of a love letter should be to further the relationship. Anything you say/write/text/record/videotape could be used against you. Love gone wrong can be an ugly thing. In the passion of the moment, don’t forget that your letter may one day end up circulating on the Internet.
But you say, my spouse is overseas or on an extended business trip. Can’t I write exactly what I feel in those circumstances? Have you heard of censorship? Of letters falling into the wrong hands? In battle zones, mail may be opened so sensitive details impacting national security may be removed. And the post office has been known to deliver mail to the wrong person. Would you want your mother-in-law to read your letter?
But I can’t spel gud
A love letter is a place to spill your feelings. If you have to worry about spelling and grammar, you may never get the courage to share how you feel. On the other hand, if your loved one is a meticulous writer, your glaring errors may interfere with the message. Again, strike a balance.
Who says a love letter has to be written with paper and ink? Modern technology has provided lots of ways to get our ideas across. So don’t be afraid to send a love email or text. Just keep in mind it’s much easier to forward to others.
The medium is limited only by your imagination—and practical considerations. The same rules apply. Make the message match the circumstances.
Will it last?
It’s the question that plagues all relationships at one time or another: Will it last forever? Maybe or maybe not, but a love letter could be the key to moving towards lifelong happiness. Always write your letter with two scenarios in mind: the relationship as you envision it in the present, and the relationship as it may be in the future. The future aspect is the tricky one. You may visualize a happy life with this person forever, but the feelings may end some day. Will your letter become a cherished keepsake buried in a scrapbook somewhere? Or will it be broadcast on the Internet to your unending embarrassment?
If you fear the latter may be the case, you may want to consider joining the songwriter and write your love letters in the sand.