Ways to Show You Care
Messages can be verbal and written. In the last section, we mentioned some verbal approaches, except for the idea of tucking a note somewhere for your partner to discover at work. There are several other ways to express your love. Romantic Romeos and Juliets are just as willing to say it in print. Here's how.
We live in a great time. Several outstanding companies think up new greeting cards each day. These cards can be funny, sentimental, poignant, or somewhere in between. This means a vast number of choices are available at practically any card shop, drugstore, or discount retail store. So you can take lots of time and pick out the one that perfectly expresses how you feel.
Everyone loves getting cards. You can even create your own card on a home computer or by using one of those in-store card-designing machines.
A card is a quick, thoughtful way of telling someone they mean so much that you were willing to take some time to send a message of romance, interest, passion, or love.
The past few years have witnessed a renewed interest in the idea of love letters. Three movies came out (You've Got Mail, Message in a Bottle, and The Love Letter) with love-letter themes. Several books are also available. Don coauthored one in 2001 with author Barrie Dolnick called How to Write a Love Letter: Putting What's in Your Heart on Paper. Here are a few of the highlights from that book:
A love letter can be written using paper and pencil or e-mail, or it can be typed out. The most romantic is undoubtedly handwritten prose. The message is that you were willing to take the time to say something special in an old-fashioned way. Writing things down gives you the time to carefully consider what you want to say and gives you the chance to say it clearly.
Anyone can write a great love letter. The key is to say what is in your heart. If you need help, there are aides in print and on the Web. You don't have to be a polished writer to eloquently say, “I love you.”
A love letter doesn't have to be long. A few sentences and paragraphs can say many things. A great letter gets to the point, whether it's flattery, a thank-you, or something more intimate.
Remember, you can write a letter for just about any occasion, from asking if someone is interested in dating to saying thank you for a lifetime of love. Putting your thoughts on paper commits you to something more lasting than a casual comment on the phone or while lying in bed. More than one loving couple has stored love letters in a safe place to be read and reread at their leisure.
You don't have to be a writer or a scholar to send a nice note. Any husband in the world is going to enjoy the message, “I'm in the other room, naked,” if it's placed properly under the right circumstances. From there, longer and more meaningful thoughts get easier to share. Writing is a wonderful way to add a new ingredient to a love life.
Anatomy of a Love Letter
Greet your lover with one of these phrases:
This is the main section, in which you say what you want to say. Here are some examples:
I had a great time last night.
I want to get to know you better.
I appreciate your thoughtfulness (or some other characteristic).
You are terrific and here's why (brains, looks, talents, and so on).
I'm going to miss you while I'm gone.
Making love for the first time was very special.
I think I'm falling in love with you.
Should we think about getting married?
Think carefully about how you want to sign off.
See you soon.
I love you.
Until we meet again.
Use pretty stationery rather than plain notebook paper.
Ladies, spray a hint of perfume on the letter.
Guys, use your cologne.
Add an embellishment like a Hershey's Kiss or a rose.
Wrap the letter with ribbon, as if it's a present.
Remember, many people keep love letters for a lifetime. In the past few years, the love letters Ronald Reagan wrote to his wife Nancy have been published. Many great historical figures have written love letters that now appear in books and articles. This happened because the letters made such a big impression that the recipient kept them. They are keepsakes to savor for many years.
As much as words can create ties, they can cut them apart. Biting, mean language should never enter into a romantic relationship.
Talk is the glue that binds a romantic love life. Keeping in constant communication allows you to share, prevents you from growing apart, and bonds you in ways that nothing else can. Notice how important talking is early in a relationship. Lots of you probably share a story about the time you “stayed up all night, just talking.” As you and that special someone get to know each other, you open up and talk about things that are more and more intimate.
Unfortunately, once a marriage or partnership bond is in place, talking may be one of the easiest things to fall by the wayside. Lives get busy and kids and work occupy what used to be those more serene moments when you would visit calmly and quietly at the end of the day.
We have some advice for re-establishing the lines of communication. First, turn off the television. The average set stays on over six hours per day, while the average couple spends less than one hour talking to each other. It's no wonder intimacy breaks down when you know more about Regis than about how your lover's day played out. Second, log off the Internet. Articles are just now showing how isolated we're becoming as a culture, preferring a self-indulgent surfing expedition to actual contact with a human being. And third, as a couple you need to figure out when “quiet time” is better than either television, the Internet, or a conversation. Sometimes the most romantic thing you can do is to leave your loved one alone to sort things out. Watch for and learn the signals your partner sends when he or she needs to have some “space.”
Never forget how small words lead to big love over time. A compliment is an ego-hug. As often as you can, let your partner know that he or she is important, loved, sexy, smart, fun, exciting, and great. Affection is a self-building cycle. Less leads to less, while more leads to more. It's equally important to say sweet things as it is to do nice things.