Tell me again why you love me.
Even better, write it down.
Samuel Johnson once wrote about the power of love letters saying:
In a man’s letters you know, Madam, his soul lies naked, his letters are only the mirror of his breast, whatever passes within him is shown undisguised in its natural process. Nothing is inverted, nothing distorted, you see systems in their elements, you discover actions in their motives.
You see, love is nothing if it cannot be expressed, and when it comes to keeping a relationship hot or even breathing new life back into one on the brink of extinction, the written word may reign supreme.
As a relationship counselor, I often work with couples who have lost the art of communicating. They come in seeking to find ways to feel connected to one another on an even deeper level.
One of the first things I frequently prescribe are love letters.
Neuroscience supports the idea that the written word evokes emotional connection. In fact, the more vibrant and detailed descriptors one can use, the better. Our brains appear to experience words on a page as if they’re actually happening in real time. For example, researchers have shown reading the word “lavender” will light up the olfactory cortex of the brain while a metaphor like “velvety voice” will signal the sensory cortex.
What lover wouldn’t melt at hearing his or her virtues extolled as through the eyes of their esteemed partner?
This becomes especially true for those whose “love language” is “words of affirmation.” These are the souls who wither if he or she isn’t told repeatedly that they are loved and why. They also tend to be the ones most easily wounded by words.
If you’re struggling to even know where to begin, I recommend starting at the beginning; the good memories.
Focus on the good. Speak life over one another and your relationship!
- What was it that you noticed about him or her?
- What does he or she do that you most appreciate?
Doesn’t matter how small. Start there.
Also, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Hallmark is pretty great when it comes to providing the scaffolding here. You can simply add a heartfelt, “This made me think of you, I love you.”
- Google song lyrics, poetry, or quotes on love or even a person he or she looks up to.
- Leave post it notes hidden for your partner to find.
- Write a short pep talk on a paper towel in their sack lunch or on their windshield.
- Send a quick text here or there throughout the day letting them know you’re thinking about them and can’t wait to see them again.
One of my favorite couples I’ve worked with was polyamorous and into Tantra. We were addressing issues surrounding insecurity and loss. I recommended a couples journal. It was kept in their bedroom and used to communicate everything from amorous thoughts to fears and dreams for the future.
Humans tend to express themselves more fully when they write because there’s time for the entire brain to really become engaged and our bodies emote in response (i.e., we really taste and feel our words as they are put to paper).
This allows our partner a deeper glimpse into where we’re coming from.
Well it didn’t take long for this couple to find their way back to one another’s hearts and the bed!
Some of my own personal favorite gifts have definitely involved love notes. I once received a multi-layered package with each layer holding beautiful calligraphy by hand of poetry by Rumi that reminded this loved one of me. It was a connection he and I shared and conveyed that he truly saw and understood my heart.
Another gave me an intricately carved box filled with envelopes to open on different dates or under certain circumstances (e.g., whenever you feel alone). They all had his cologne on them (double bonus for engaging the olfactory senses!).
Notice here I am talking about them years later. 😉
So get creative lovers! Deeper intimacy awaits!
Tamara Powell, LMHC owns Arya Therapy Services, a Pensacola counseling and coaching practice. Specializing in love, sex, and identity issues, she works with clients across the globe to achieve the highest satisfaction in life. As a self-proclaimed purple sheep, rebel, and visionary, she loves working outside the box so to speak. If you’d like to work with her online or in person, you may reach her at email@example.com.