Whether you want to profess your love to someone special, or you want to re-affirm your love to your significant other, words are a massively powerful tool. The problem is that most people aren’t as eloquent as they would like to be when it comes to putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
If you effectively write a love letter to your significant other, you can make them cry tears of joy, you will deepen your connection with them, and they will have a keepsake to cherish for eternity that they can come back to whenever they feel like reading it and feeling a bonus burst of love.
Here are some tips on how to write a love letter that will make your partner cry tears of joy. But before I get into the brass tacks structure of how to write a love letter, there are some things that I feel need to be expressed explicitly when in comes to the craft of love letter writing.
1. Personalization is everything.
You could deliver the most beautiful piece of stationary with the finest calligraphy on the planet, but if the words on the page sound like a copy and paste job that you took from Hallmark and they didn’t make much sense for your specific relationship then the effect would be ruined. The content of your love letter needs to make sense. Everything you say has to make the recipient think, “Wow, this is so true, sweet, and thoughtful. They really see me for who I am.”
So as much as I’m going to give you every element you need (and show you a sample love letter near the end to check out) the end result of your love letter has to be calibrated to the person you’re writing it to. It has to come from your heart. I’m giving you the skeleton of the love letter, but it’s up to you to put the meat on it and give it added life.
2. Send it on an unusual day. (NO, not Valentine’s Day.)
Love letters on Christmas, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and birthdays are no doubt powerful, but there should be an element of surprise when your love letters are gifted. Don’t warn them that they’re going to get one in a few days as you’re in the process of writing it, just deliver it. BAM! Instant romance.
3. Don’t just gush on their physical attributes.
Don’t just spend your thousand-word love letter harping on the same thing. Even though it’s a nice gesture, giving someone a love letter exclusively focusing on their external beauty might not be as well received compared to a letter that touches on a multitude of different elements of them as a person.
4. Don’t rhyme.
I get it: not all of us are born writers. But don’t think that there is only one way of writing a love letter. It doesn’t have to be lengthy prose, or a rhyming poem, or anything else that society has led us to believe is the way to write a love letter.
While I personally find that un-rhyming words are usually better and connect with the heart more deeply, whether you write a bullet point top ten list, a traditional poem, or twenty paragraphs of free flowing words, it’s the thought and the calibration that counts. The format is irrelevant as long as it genuinely comes from your heart.
5. What you say is most important, not how you send it.
Some purists believe that handwritten notes are the only way to go when it comes to delivery love letters, and while handwritten is totally bad ass and a classic way of doing things, if your handwriting is as bad as mine then you might be better off sending a typed message.
Now, some people would argue that hand written letters stand the test of time more than sending the words via a Facebook message. But handwritten letters can catch on fire or have coffee spilled on them or get eaten by the dog. So who is to say that a handwritten love letter will necessarily last longer than a digital message will?
Whether you deliver it via beautiful stationary in your finest handwriting, a carefully crafted digital message, or a piece of paper that you commemorate in a photo frame, the delivery medium is largely irrelevant. What’s important is that you write it at all. If you’re better at communicating your innermost thoughts in one medium over the other, go with whatever feels natural.
There is no one correct order for these to appear in your finished love letter, these are simply elements.
Some of them will resonate with you and others won’t mean as much to you. That’s fine. Use whatever it useful for you. Here are seven important structural elements that you can include in your love letter.
1. Start with why.
Personally, I love starting my love letters with a quick explanation as to why I’m sending it. This can be as short as a few words, or as lengthy as a few paragraphs.
For example, you could say any of the following to kick off your love letter:
- “This letter is long overdue, and it’s been tumbling around in my mind for weeks now. So I thought it was finally time to put pen to paper and tell you how I feel about you.”
- “You do so many little things day to day that only ever elevate my opinion of you. You are such a gift in my life and you deserve to know it… so I decided to write you this letter.”
- “I’m not so good with talking about my feelings sometimes, but I didn’t want my thoughts to go unsaid, so I thought a letter would be best.”
Grounding the love letter with a reason can lead people into the experience of “Get ready for this huge incoming smorgasbord of emotions!” by pacing their reality of “What am I about to be reading here?”
2. Focus on what they bring to your life.
What exactly does your partner bring to your life? Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, sexually. How do they elevate your life? How do they make your daily existence that much easier or better?
Maybe you’ve told them about certain ways, or maybe you’ve told them almost none of them. This is your chance. Brainstorm out anywhere from 10 to 50 things that your partner brings to your life and then pick your favorite handful to focus on.
Some examples could be:
- “I love how you encourage the best parts of me. I am healthier, more driven, and more emotionally fulfilled than at any other point in my life and that is in large part because of you.”
- “Thank you so much for reminding me who I am when I sometimes forget. I am so grateful to have you as a rock in my life.”
- “You have helped me turn my dreams into a reality in so many areas of my life. You are an absolute blessing.”
As always, make sure that it’s true for YOU. Calibration is key. And, by all means, if any of the above examples do ring true for you then please feel free to use them verbatim.
3. Allude to memories that you share.
As simple as it sounds. Do you have a pre-existing relationship with this person? Then write out a list of all of your favorite memories that you shared and then pick your top couple of memories to reference in your love letter.
- “That one time that you laughed so hard that chocolate milk came out of your nose? I fell in love with you right then and there.”
- “I can’t believe it’s already been two years since we went on that trip to (location) together. I have such fond memories of how we navigated the streets like a team and we went the entire trip without even a small argument. We’ve always worked so well together as a couple and I couldn’t feel happier that we’re together.”
- “Our first kiss was so blissful that I thought I might fall over. My legs felt like jelly for the next few days. You certain have always had a powerful effect on me.”
You can either allude to your multiple memories in a rapid fire 1 to 2 sentence format, or you can really sit with one amazing memory and describe it in vivid detail. The choice is yours.
4. Pinpoint what you love about them.
What specifically do you love about the person you’re writing to? What do you love about their character, their appearance, or what they fill their life with? Brainstorm/jot it down, and then let them know what you consider to be the highlights.
Examples of what you might love about them:
- “I love your drive and ambition. I have endless faith that you’ll achieve anything you put your mind to.”
- “You are so amazingly loyal to those you care about. The depth with which you love others is nothing short of inspiring. I love your massive heart.”
- “I don’t think I actually had a sex drive before I met you. You are the sexiest thing in the world and I couldn’t be more attracted to everything about you.”
- “You are so thoughtful with me. I noticed that you did (X), (Y), and (Z), recently and I want you to know that I notice all of it.”
- “Your eyes are so captivating. I could get lost in them forever.”
- “You are simply the best person I have ever known. I have endless respect for you and the way that you carry yourself in this world. So thank you for being you.”
5. Write about what you take for granted the most.
I call this the Elusive Obvious effect. Often some of the things that are presented most obviously in plain view are the things that get taken for granted the most. Also, if you are more prone to complimenting them on just one thing or one area (i.e., only their physical appearance, or only one of the things that they bring to your life) then this can be a good exercise for expanding your awareness of all of the other things that you love about them.
6. Details are important.
While it’s nice to praise the things hidden in plain view, I find that the most memorable moments in love letters come from finding the super-specific details that you love about the love letter recipient and letting them be known. Just imagine, your love letter could be the first thing in the recipient’s entire life that lets them know that they have some specific gift that they bring to another’s life. And every time they notice that detail about themselves, the thought will be linked back to you and your thoughtful letter.
Really sit and brainstorm with this one. What are the teensy tiny, detailed things that your love letter recipient does/is that make your heart light up? It could be the way that they laugh, the way they eat, or the way they tear up when you’re watching a certain movie together.
I wish I could give you a laundry list of 200 things for you to pull from but you know your love letter recipient infinitely better than I do. Really give this specific exercise time. The few nuggets of gold that you mine from your brain will pay dividends in your relationship for years to come if you do this one right.
7. Discuss your plans for the future.
I like to finish my love letters with this element, but you can put them throughout your letter as you see fit. Let them know that you’re in the relationship for the long haul by alluding to some imagined future plans that you want to see come to fruition.
Maybe it’s the fact that you’ll have children one day, or a trip to Paris that you want to take in a few years, or kissing each other’s wrinkly old faces. Whatever it is, make it something that you’re authentically excited about for your shared future.
I was going to include some real-life love letters that I have sent out to my girlfriend, close friends, and parents in this section, but having read through the dozens of letters that I’ve written over the past few years, I’ve found that they’re all SO highly calibrated that they wouldn’t make much sense to people that didn’t know the letter’s recipient.
So I’m going to just write out a simple sample structure following my own advice just so you can see what a love letter would look like following the above points:
These past few weeks have been relatively challenging for me, as you know, and you have been such a blessing to me. I can’t always express my innermost thoughts as accurately as I want to in the moment and so I wanted to write you this letter to tell you how much you mean to me.
As amazing as I thought my life was before we first crossed paths, I couldn’t have dreamed of how much better my life would become after we first met. Since then I’ve felt healthier, happier, more accomplished, and more love day today than at any other point in my life. I feel so grateful to be able to wake up next to you every day, and am so happy that yours are the lips that I get to kiss before I nod off every day.
From the craziness of white water rafting in Georgia to the silly fun at the trampoline park in San Francisco, we always seem to make fun situations out of otherwise challenging moments. I couldn’t feel luckier to have you by my side through all of the trials and tribulations of my life.
I don’t tell you often enough but I have such unending respect for you and how you carry yourself throughout your life. Your integrity is admirable. Your heart is so expansive and kind. Your eyes are like pools of green silk that I love getting lost in.
I love how you are with your family. You are so loving and patient with them and they obviously all look to you for advice because they value you and your opinion so much.
I love how considerate you are. You do so many little things for me that only ever add to my already never-ending list of things that I love about you. Whether it’s something as thoughtful as filling up my car’s gas tank, or something as seemingly insignificant as offering to give me a quick shoulder rub while we wait in traffic, you are such an amazing person and I’m so thankful that I get to be yours.
I’m so looking forward to kissing your old wrinkly face one day.
Remember, this is meant to be a guide, a starting point, a skeleton structure that you can now make your own. And even if you copy and paste certain parts of this article to use in your love letter (which you are totally free to do), make sure that you modify the sentence a little bit so that the recipient couldn’t just Google the words and find out that you borrowed them from someone else.
Bottom line: whatever you write and however you deliver it, make sure it’s from your heart. If it’s authentically you, they will love it just as much as they love you.