How to Write a Love Letter to Your Sweetheart

How to Write a Love Letter to Your Sweetheart

Here are some tips for penning an old-fashioned love letter to the one you adore.

By: Laurie Sue Brockway

Samantha Vérant remembers the first time she set eyes on her future husband, Jean-Luc, at a café in Paris in the summer of 1989. Their eyes locked from across the room and they both felt the pull of a strong connection. It was love at first sight. But, alas, the next day she left him standing on a train platform in Paris. At 19 years old, she hadn’t sorted out her life enough to pursue a relationship – but her French amour had other ideas.

“He wrote me seven love letters in an attempt to keep the spark between us lit,” says Vérant, who later wrote about her experience in Seven Letters from Paris: A Memoir. “Afraid to follow my heart, I didn't write him back until 20 years later -- in May of 2009. We married exactly one year later in May of 2010.”

At the age of 40, she was finally able to open her heart, again with the help of the written word. “For three months we communicated through letters,” she recalls.

While not all of us will be swept up into a long distance love affair, and hopefully we won’t have to wait so long for true love to be realized, any couple can incorporate the art of the love letter into their relationship.

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“I write love letters to my wife, often in the form of poems, but also in personal reflections,” says Drew Farnsworth, an author of books for young adults, and a father-to-be. “Romance is even more important as children come along. It's important to remind us of love for each other despite our uncompromising schedules. I believe that it's more important to give handwritten letters, and to surprise her.”

We spoke to writers and connoisseurs on the art of penning a true love letter. Here are their tips:

Send a handwritten note. In a pinch, an email can be sent, but it’s just not as special. “My preference and recommendation is a handwritten note, letter, or card,” says Misha Granado, MPH, MS, an author of inspirational books about love. “So much of our life transpires online – social media, emails, media, and videos – and the only mail we receive are either advertisements or bills. Therefore, receiving a handwritten love letter in the mail, especially if you live together, is a beautiful gesture.”

Be very honest. A letter is a chance to speak from the heart without the challenge of trying to get the words out of your mouth. “What you have a hard time saying in person should go in the letter,” says Dana Lin, a stress management professional who also writes on romance. “You are able to really express yourself without holding back.”

Don’t stress about it. There’s no need to mimic the famous love sonnets and letters of Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, or Jane Austen. “Sincerity is the most important factor,” says writer and translator Lori Straus. “If you stick to concrete points, such as a specific memory or recent event – or maybe physical characteristics that you love, or personality traits – writing skill is irrelevant. A love letter doesn’t have to be a 10-page essay on the subject. Four or five sentences will suffice.” Of course, it can be longer if you like.

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Time it right. Although it’s nice to express your feelings in daily life, a love letter is especially sweet on special occasions, and sweeter still when unexpected. “Special occasions include when something out of the ordinary happened – like a promotion at work, or having gone through surgery,” says Lin. “[Or when] something has shaken your life a bit and a love letter can be very reassuring.”


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Reveal true feelings. Anthony Dallmann-Jones, PhD, professor of education at Marian University in Wisconsin, says it is important to be real. “A love letter is about intimacy, which is also about being vulnerable,” he says. “So a real love letter portrays that, also.”

Be upredictable. Dallmann-Jones says dare to be different. “The phrase 'I love you' is worn out and tossed around like an old salad,” he says. Better phrases are: I adore the way you…” or “I care for you so much I…” Also, give the recipient something he did not know. “A love letter should say something surprising,” he says. “Surprise is the better part of romance.”

In Vérant’s case, love letters brought her closer to her true love. Though her story is dramatic, it illustrates how love letters can connect people who feel distant, and can also put some pizazz into your relationship.

“Finally, in August of 2010, Jean-Luc and I reconnected in France,” she says. “Through letters, we'd established a strong emotional connection. When we finally saw one another, lightning struck again.”

If you and your husband are in an ordinary love slump or having a rough time, letters can evoke powerful feelings because they make you feel so special and so adored. As Granado points out, “A handwritten love letter says, 'I see you. You are important to me. I took time out to handwrite my sentiments. You inspire me. I love you. I am honored to have you in my life.’”

Have you ever received or written a love letter?

Laurie Sue Brockway is a journalist and author who has written extensively on love, marriage, parenting, wellbeing, and emotional health. Her work has appeared in hundreds of print and online publications, including Everyday Health and The Huffington Post.

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