How to Write (and Read) a Love Letter

What is love?
Some call it an emotion, but I consider it a verb.

Love is the act of showing kindness, respect, affection,
concern, empathy, forgiveness, compassion, mercy,
and the desire to want what is best for the other person.

It does not force.
It is not dismissive.
It does not get even.
It is not self-centered.

I believe all of the things about what love "is", but whether it is a platonic or romantic relationship, at some point your feelings will be hurt.
Dealing with hurt or rejection is not always easy and we say things out of pain that are not our true feelings, only emotional response and flawed human characteristics.

What is love?
It is when someone knows everything about you and still wants to be with you, its love.
It is when they trust you enough to tell you everything, even the shameful things, and are comfortable and secure when telling you.

It is not the audible word when spoken, but the way it fills your heart and soul when heard.

It is learned and learned again. It never ends.

When it comes to writing a love letter, remember: Itís not a card. Itís a letter.

First, sit. Letters take time.
Letters have a rhythm. Letters must be written, and writing takes a while. Three lines canít do the work of three paragraphs. This is not to say your letter must be long. Three paragraphs can do the work of three pages. Just give them some time.

Be loyal to the past you share.
If your love emerged on a kayak trip, then you donít just mention that experience ó you make it. Let the river become your palette. Tell a story that only the two of you know. Or narrate a moment in which she was unaware that you were watching her. Use detail to show what you remember and that you remember.

Let the example precede sentiment.
A good love letter declares itself plainly, then illustrates particularly. ďI saw you watching the men play chess in the park. So quiet. I love the way you look at things.Ē Show her what you love in her before you tell her what you love in her. Show, then tell.

Donít repeat yourself.
Emotional declarations matter more if you space them a little. Even in a short letter, you must create room. With love, thereís value in scarcity. Thatís why it feels like such a jackpot.

Most of all, remember that itís private.
Say something that surprises you about yourself. Let her know that she is redefining your terms. In this way most, a love letter is like love itself. There must be risk.

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