How To Write a Love Letter

How To Write a Love Letter
Woman sitting on the steps writing a letter. (Stock Photo)

My husband’s first CO glared as if we spouses were morphing into snivelers and whiners before his eyes. “N-A-V-Y spells “ocean,’” he barked. “Prepare to spend a lot of time apart!!”

Might have been a threat. Might have been a promise. All I know is that the guy would have done better to tell us gently.

That isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds. If you and your service member are apart, here are some suggestions about how to write a love letter and make it easier than you ever imagined.

It doesn’t have to be handwritten. Most love letter experts insist that you write your love on beautiful paper with a fountain pen and adhere a meaningful stamp on the envelope. Although something in the mail besides a flier for House of Kung Pao might be a delight, in the military we are not that picky. The only thing a love letter has to be is saveable. So a phone call doesn’t count, but a really sweet text message I can print does.

No need to go all 17th century on a guy. I once sent my deployed husband my favorite poem because it said exactly what I felt about him being gone. The thing was, my favorite poem “Letter To Her Husband Absent Upon Public Employment” was written in 1648 by Anne Bradstreet. In return, the guy sent me a postcard of the ship. Love you! Miss you! Working 18-hour days!!! Poetry might be more private than you think. Ditto for song lyrics.

Make it sound like you talk. When we hear “love letter,” we think it has to be all profound, flowery, overwrought 9th grade English. Not so much. Instead, try to make your love letter sound like you are speaking. If this is hard, use the voice memo app on your phone to speak a message. Then write that down word for word. It’s amazing how good that stuff turns out.

Name your trigger. Too many love letters run along the love-you-miss-you-wish-you-were-here lines. That’s good stuff, but it won’t make anyone burn for you. What exactly makes you love/miss/wish? Name the ordinary thing that triggered that feeling on that day. For example: That pack of Miller 64 that no one drinks except you is still taking up half the space in the fridge. Silly, I know! But it makes me feel like you will walk in the door at 6:00 tonight instead of too many nights from now. I still listen for your car to pull into the drive because the moment you get home is the best part of the day to me.

Involve your children. If you have kids together, it is always nice to be reminded that they are made up of half you and half your service member. This is especially a nice thought if the half you are being reminded of is the good-looking half. As in, I caught Albert outside with no shoes on in the snow. That kid is just like you—hot feet, warm heart! I hope he turns out to be the kind of man who will be big enough to stand in your shoes. Do you need me to send more socks?

Remind me of forever. When we are apart, it seems like the deployment is the thing that is going to last forever. The truth is that trainings and work ups and deployments are actually a short time in the fifty or sixty years you and your Beloved will spend together. Be sure to mention that forever is part of the plan. Because that makes a love letter a keeper.

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