This Valentine's Day Reach for the Pen

This Valentine's Day do something unexpected, sentimental, extra-special and heart-felt: craft a beautiful romantic, old-fashioned love letter to the special man or woman in your life.

Flowers wilt and chocolates melt but the Love Letter lasts forever

Storefront windows are adorned with shiny pink ribbons and dangling red hearts as the airwaves sing commercial jingles for flowers and chocolates letting us know that Valentine's Day is near.

This year rather than flip through rows of massed produced cards in an attempt to try to find the perfect pre-written sentiment that accurately reflects your own sentiments for the one you hold most dear -- why not write your own very intimate, endearing, heart-felt and  sentimental love letter to personally tell your sweetheart exactly what they mean to you?

The secure romantic love relationship is built upon solid and reliable emotional bonding. Daily and in small ways intimate partners need to continuously turn toward each other[1] and communicate directly and through gestures, "You matter to me and I will be here for you  -- no matter what -- because you are the most special person in the world to me."

Dr. Susan Johnson, Director of the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, Distinguished Research Professor at Alliant University and author of  the book,  Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, writes:

We are emotionally invested in these [love] relationships and they penetrate key aspects of our lives. These bonds have incredible survival value. We are healthier, happier, psychologically stronger, and we live longer when we are close and connected. This deep desire to matter to another, to be able to turn to another as a safe haven, gets lost in our culture of mine, me and myself. We forget to mention that being the best you can be inevitably involves being connected to somebody else! We are not meant for so called self-sufficiency and the emotional isolation that comes with it.

Keeping the words of Dr. Johnson in mind it will come as no surprise that writing a love letter to the one who is most dear to your heart strengthens your love-bond and relationship. The love letter - a deeply personal and intimate expression of soft and tender sentimentality - benefits not only the one writing the love letter and the one receiving it but the paring itself.

In order for the love letter to be effective  - meaning that the recipient feels loved, cherished, important and special --  the writer must focus his or her attention on the loved one and consider what it is that endears them to their beloved. As the love-letter writer concentrates on his or her sweetie, good feelings and memories will flood the psyche as tender feelings rise to the surface. This will aid you, the love-letter writer, to find just the right words that will capture precisely what it was that drew you toward your beloved in the first place and how your own life has changed as a result of their presence in your life. The receiver of the letter will be emotionally touched that their special someone has put in the time and effort to prepare and deliver something as special and  endearing as a personal intimate love letter. The letter is sure to hold a very special place in your loved-one's heart and will likely be kept in a special location for viewing again and again for many years to come. 

The process of preparing, planning, crafting and mailing the letter - as well as the eager anticipating of witnessing their response upon receiving it - is a romantic gesture that will certainly get noticed!

Now for the finer details that will surely let your beloved know that they have been a source of inspiration for the romantic love letter they are about to receive.

How to Write a Love Letter

The good old-fashioned romantic love letter is intended to reach the soul of the recipient. You are opening your heart through the power of the pen and attempting to reach the heart of your sweetheart through your words, sentiment and presentation.

Set the Mood

You will need to find a private and personal space to write without distractions and you will need to set the mood to put yourself in the right mindset. Lighting a candle and playing soft music will help. Perhaps you have a song or two that you associate with your loved-one that will help stir fond memories and soft feelings. Let the setting stimulate the literary lover in you.


It's very important that your love letter look and feel as beautiful as the words and sentiment that adorn it. Select a high quality paper in a neutral, soft color. Write only with either black or brown ink and nothing brash or harsh. The love letter must be handwritten and may not be typed, sent via email, or texted. Your efforts will demonstrate to your loved one that the care you are placing in the letter and its presentation reflect the love, respect, appreciation and the high regard you feel for them. As you are presenting your very-special-someone with a special gift that they can touch, hold in their hands and keep for a long time so make it special. The time and energy you put into the presentation is important. 

The Greeting

Select an intimate, personal and endearing salutation. Don't be formal. Embellish the theme of your loved one's first name. Here are a few suggestions for the love-letter salutation:


          My dearest _____________________

          To my beloved __________________

          Darling ________________________



In the body of the letter include the reasons you fell in love in the first place. Recall how you first met or when you knew you had fallen in love with them. You might list qualities about your sweetheart that inspire and move you or mention a meaningful  memory that that the two of you share. Think of a moment that you felt especially moved or touched by your sweetheart and write about it in great detail that includes your own feelings and perceptions from your point of view.

The love letter is for adults to express direct and sincere adult feelings and sentiments. It's about romantic inspiration The content should not include silly or casual jokes nor should it have racy suggestions. The love letter is about the heart, not the loins. If you are going to include something about your lover's physicality make it something sentimental such as about their 'beautiful eyes' or your desire to embrace them or hold them close. 

What's important in a love letter is that you mean what you say and that you are sincere, direct and are expressing genuine sentiment. It's a deliberate and intentional gesture designed to stimulate tender feelings of love and to strengthen the emotional bond and close intimate bond between you and your loved one.

The Closing

Conclude your love letter with something upbeat and romantic. Close with a heartfelt and simple signature such as 'With all my heart...' or 'Forever yours...'  Avoid formalities or the simple, 'Love' --- instead, make it special, personal and memorable.

Extras: The Personal Touch

To add a little extra touch to your love letter you might like to spray it lightly with your favorite perfume or cologne. Adding dried rose petals or small sparkly hearts from a craft shop adds a nice touch. For women writers, you might like to put some red lipstick on and then kiss the paper for a special 'sealed with a kiss' imprint. For men, you might consider tracing your hand on the back of the letter suggesting to your beloved that she might 'take your hand' and place her own hand within the tracing of your own hand. A decorative postage stamp placed upside-down on the envelope is a European custom that signifies "I love you." Remember, when it comes to a love letter, it's the little details that count!

Have fun writing your love letter! And, even if you live in the same house with your loved one -- consider mailing it! Imagine how exciting it will be for you to anticipate your loved one's response as he or she collects the mail and discovers that a very special, private, intimate and deeply meaningful love letter from you has arrived. And, who can predict what type of pleasant response it just may bring!  


[1] Turn Toward Your Partner to Create Intimacy http://www.twoofus.org/educational-content/articles/get-connected-turn-toward-your-partner-to-create-intimacy/index.aspx





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