Love Letters: What Not to Do

Guess who’s awesome at writing love letters…

This Guy

Guess who’s less awesome…

P1060221 (2)

But! Despite the weirdness of my face and my general ignorance of all things romantic, I am nevertheless determined to write a decentish Valentine’s Day missive to my darling of over ten years.  I think I wrote one a few years ago, but I can’t remember for the life of me what was in it, so it’s back to square one.

One of the ways I like to learn is by looking at great examples (and then mimicking like crazy until I figure it out).  But another way I  learn is to do everything wrong, and then try to figure out why it was so terrible.

Welp, no time like the present!

FAIL ONE:

Did my heart love till now?
Forswear it sight,
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.

Plagiarism aside (Thanks, Shakespeare!), this doesn’t sound like me at all.  If my recipient is in love with me, he wants a letter from me, not a centuries old mustachioed man, no matter how eloquent.  I can write in a different tone than I usually speak, or on a different subject matter, but it should still be my voice.  Otherwise, he’ll probably think the love letter was purchased from some guy on the internet.  Quotes are okay- so long as they clearly apply to this relationship- but the bulk of the letter, no matter how short, should be my own words.

 

FAIL TWO:

Hey, hon, thanks for paying the phone bill.  Do you want chicken tacos or black bean enchiladas for dinner tonight?

Ugh, no.  I’m writing a love letter, not a text about our mundane daily minutia.  I love that Robert pays the phone bill and I do like making food he enjoys, but a love letter should transcend those things.  I’m not with him because I need a guy to pay the bills. So I should write about the bigger reasons.  Why him and no one else?  Love is less about the things we do for each other and more about why we do them.

 

FAIL THREE:

Darling,

You are smart and funny and brave and nice and dead sexy and you are tall enough that I can wear high heels, even though I never wear high heels. But it’s nice to know that I could.

*shudders* This is more akin to a grocery list than a love letter.  I mean, these qualities are all great, but the sum is more than its parts.  These things are perhaps worthy of mention (maybe not the high heels one), but all lumped together like a steaming cow patty is about as unromantic as it gets.  Plus, these things are all terribly vague (except maybe the high heels one?).  Instead of saying that he’s funny, I can say that I love the way he makes the kids scream with laughter when they’re wrestling on Saturday mornings, or  the way he makes me nearly drown on a mouthful of almondmilk with some clever observation about Donald Trump, or the way he makes me laugh until I’m crying when I thought I just wanted to go to sleep but what I needed was a good gut bust to round out the day.  People like to be noticed, appreciated, loved.  So the things I write need to be very specific and very personal.  This letter should be riddled with in-jokes that only we fully understand.

 

FAIL FOUR:

Dear Robert,

You are awesome because of [censored- but not what you’re thinking].  I love that you are [censored- really it’s not like that].  If I could only [censored- seriously this is just for an example].

Okay, maybe this isn’t true of all love letters ever, but I’ve known Robert for half my life.  I do not want to hand him a censored love letter.  I can be a little shy about my feelings, but half the point of a love letter- at least for me- is to write the things I have difficulty saying.  Robert and I trust one another.  We are vulnerable to one another.  If I give him a letter that is more or less a suit of armor, then what’s the point?  It doesn’t matter how it looks, and it doesn’t have to be perfect, but it must be honest.  If I don’t trust him with my very soul, it means nothing.

 

So there we have it.  Four beginnings to love letters that should never never exist.  Hopefully I can use them to triangulate (quadrangulate?) something vaguely approaching how much my husband means to me.  Valentine’s Day is kind of a ridiculous holiday that exists almost entirely to sell chocolate and flowers, but it is a good opportunity to remind the hubster how fantastic he is.  And love letters don’t just have to be for significant others.  My kids are each getting one as well, and maybe my parents.  If you love them, let them know!

But I have a week yet to work on this- so what’s your advice?  Thoughts?  How can I make my ode sing?

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Love Letters: What Not to Do

    • Haha, I know! And my husband always knows when he’s about to get a love letter because I wander around the house for about a week muttering to myself and grimacing. Ugh so romantic.

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