In theory, nothing should be easier to write than a romantic love letter. You know what’s in your heart, you just need to set it on paper, right? In practice, though, it’s tough to reveal so much. Here are some things to consider when writing billet-doux.
1. A Great Love Letter Is Fearless
The biggest obstacle to writing your feelings is most likely fear: what if he thinks it’s corny? What if she laughs? What if he rejects my love letter–or worse, what if he rejects me? Move past the fear and write the letter anyway, holding nothing back. There’s nothing more romantic than a declaration of love from someone whose heart is in every line of the letter; who could be anything less than charmed?
If the worst happens and you find that you’ve bared your soul to someone who has a rock where a heart should be, you’ve still done the right thing in being unafraid. Love is real even when it isn’t reciprocated, and though you might hurt now, you’ll always regret more the love letters you left unwritten than the ones you dared to write.
2. Love Letters Deserve the Best
This isn’t a letter to your insurance company or a note you tack to the fridge that you’re writing; this is a grand romantic gesture. Lovers throughout history have saved such letters their whole lives, so write your letter on something worth preserving. Skip the looseleaf and go for something more elegant. Stationery shops have an array of beautiful papers fit for committing your heart to print, but if you’re artistically inclined, you could pick up some plain, heavy stock paper and beautify it yourself.
You know your sweetheart better than anyone; be creative when thinking of what (and how) your letter should be written and delivered. Don’t constrain yourself to rectangular paper, either. Cut paper into rings or hearts, fold them into origami, roll them into a scroll. If you’re sending e-mail, try attaching pictures or playing with text to make a more memorable message.
3. Misspelling Is to Love Letters As Garlic Is to Kisses
You may be writing the final draft of your love letter on thick paper, but type out your rough drafts to send through the spell checker first. This is your heart on the page; you want it to be perfect. Your sweetie may not be the greatest speller either, but why take the chance that your gaffe will get noticed?
One tip that spell checkers won’t catch is the difference between “your” and “you’re” because both are valid English words. Love letters are likely to contain both, so remember that “you’re mine” is a romantic declaration while “your mine” is applicable only if you’re referring to your beloved works in the coal business.
4. Write in Your Own Voice
Want to know what melts even the chilliest heart? Using intensely personal names and phrases. Words and phrases that the two of you share make your relationship its own little universe. Out of all the billions of people in the world, you and your love are the only two who know exactly what you mean when you say, “Would you like a cupcake?” Use that couple language to make your love letter unique.
If you’re the only person who gets to call her “Growlyface” or “Cuddlebump,” then use it. If you met at a Star Wars convention, proclaim that she is the droid you’re looking for. If you share a profession or a hobby, use it as a metaphor (this works better if you’re both cardiologists than if you share a love of stamp-collecting, but you can make it work).
5. Focus Your Love Letter
What makes your love special? Is it the way you overcome adversity together? Is it the way you never go to bed angry? Is it the way you kiss every chance you get even though you’ve been married for three decades? Tell your beloved why every day is better because of your love.
And how about your lover? This is the perfect time to show that you notice all your sweetheart’s best traits. Talk about what makes your beloved special–and be very specific. Talk about how you never would have understood string theory or ballroom dancing without his kind, patient teaching. Tell her how much you love to smell her perfume on the pillow after she’s gotten out of bed. Thank him for remembering that you like your peanut butter and jelly mixed together before it goes on the bread.
Love letters are in the details. Make it beautiful, make it yours, and make it worth keeping tied up with ribbon and treasured for a lifetime.