What makes a good love letter?
Pictured: A poem from Rupi Kaur's 'A Sun And Her Flowers'
A good starting point is to reflect on why it is that you've decided to write. Are you and your boyfriend celebrating an anniversary? Is this letter the pre-cursor to you proposing to you girlfriend? Or are you just looking to surprise your wife with a cute note? Your reason for writing will dictate whether you end up writing several paragraphs or keep it short and sweet instead.
What To Include in Your Love Letter
1. Begin by telling your loved one why you're writing
Although you have the best intentions with this love letter, you don't want your lover to freak out and think they're getting dumped! You can begin with something like “I wanted to sit down today to write you this letter because I need to tell you how deeply I love you"
2. Reflect on a romantic memory you both share
Your shared memories are what makes you both so special as a couple, so the next logical step is to recall a fond moment from your history together. This will hopefully stir up deep emotions (all positive ones of course!)
3. Start writing about all the beautiful things you love about this person
Depending on whether you want to make her laugh or make her cry, this section can be serious or funny. This part is all about moving from your cherished memories to the present day, and you can bring up anything about your partner that has you so smitten by them.
4. Tell them how your life has changed for the better since they've been in it
You've mentioned aspects of their personality that you love, now let them know what a positive impact they've had on you, and how your life is infinitely better with them in it.
5. End by summing up how much they mean to you.
You could either try searching romantic love quotes and end with a famous line of poetry, like a sample from E.E Cummins iconic work 'I Carry Your Heart With Me (I Carry It In)', or if you have a copy of 'Love Letters of Great Men' handy (yes, the book from Sex And The City!) you could take one of the best love quotes from that. Alternatively, you could just end by telling them that you truly love them and can't wait to grow old with them. After all, this is you writing love letters for her, not some famed dead poet!
The World's Most Famous Love Letters
Ideally your love letter will remain a private possession to be enjoyed solely by your significant other, but it doesn't always work out that way. Celebrity love letters are frequently published in autobiographies or put up for auction because their adoring public are fascinated with the ways our idols choose to to express their most intimate thoughts. Here are 10 of our favourite famous love letters.
10. Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera
Author: Iconic artist Frida Kahlo
Addressee: Her husband, Diego Rivera
Written: Between 1928-1954, between their first meeting and Frida's death
Why We Love It: Frida's art has touched countless people around the world, and she was clearly an intensely passionate person. Swipe to reveal the letter itself, our favourite line is -
"My Diego. Mirror of the night. Your eyes green swords inside my flesh. waves between our hands.All of you in a space full of sounds — in the shade and in the light. You were called AUXOCHROME the one who captures color. I CHROMOPHORE — the one who gives color."
How To Channel This Energy: Take some time to look at artwork or listen to music that inspires you before beginning to write love letters for him or her.
9. Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas
Author: Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde
Addressee: Oscar's muse, Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas
Written: January, 1983
"My Own Boy,
Your sonnet is quite lovely, and it is a marvel that those red rose-leaf lips of yours should be made no less for the madness of music and song than for the madness of kissing. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I know Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days.
Why are you alone in London, and when do you go to Salisbury? Do go there to cool your hands in the grey twilight of Gothic things, and come here whenever you like. It is a lovely place and lacks only you; but go to Salisbury first.
Always, with undying love, yours,
Why We Love It: It was exceedingly brave for Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred to correspond this way, since homosexuality was considered both a criminal offence and a sickness during their lifetimes.
How To Channel This Energy: If you have something you need to say, now's the time to be brave and bear your heart on your sleeve.
8. Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf
Author: English poet Vita Sackville-West
Addressee: Famed English author Virginia Woolf
Written: 21 January 1927
"…I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your undumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it. And yet I believe you’ll be sensible of a little gap. But you’d clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it should lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark: I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal.
So this letter is really just a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become. I suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things. Damn you, spoilt creature; I shan’t make you love me any more by giving myself away like this — But oh my dear, I can’t be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don’t love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defenses. And I don’t really resent it."
Why We Love It: Vita's letter to Virginia captures the very essence of being hopelessly in love with someone. She makes no efforts to down play the strength of her feelings - instead she is completely honest about how besotted she is with Virginia.
How To Channel This Energy: If you're sending a love letter to someone, now isn't the time to be a shrinking violet. Lay it all on the line, what have you got to lose?
7. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
Author: Academy Award winner Richard Burton
Addressee: Dame Elizabeth Taylor
"My blind eyes are desperately waiting for the sight of you...
You don’t realise of course, EB, how fascinatingly beautiful you have always been, and how strangely you have acquired an added and special and dangerous loveliness.”
Why We Love It: Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were famously married twice and their turbulent love story still fascinates fans of the Golden Era of film today.
How To Channel This Energy: This is classic 'Step 3' in action - make sure you take a moment to focus on all of your lover's unique traits.
6. Johnny Cash and June Carter
Author: Country music legend Johnny Cash
Addressee: June Carter-Cash, his wife and musical partner
Written: In 1994 on June's 65th birthday.
"Happy Birthday Princess,
We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.
But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much.
Happy Birthday Princess.
Why We Love It: This letter could be a love note between a nearly married couple, but the fact that this was Johnny Cash's message to his wife on her 65th birthday is so touching. It's a true testament to a love that lasted a lifetime.
How To Channel This Energy: Why not turn your partner's next birthday card into a love letter?
5. Former U.S President George Bush Snr. and Barbara Bush
Why We Love It:
How To Channel This Energy:
4. Tupac Shakur and Madonna
Author: Rapper and activist Tupac Shakur
Addressee: His girlfriend at the time, legendary singer Madonna
Written: 15 January 1995
"I offer my friendship once again this time much stronger and focused. If you are still interested I would like to further discuss this with you but some of it just couldn't wait. I feel compelled to tell you, just in case anything happened to me...
...I don't know how you feel about visiting me but if you could find it in your heart I would love to speak face to face with you. It's funny but this experience has taught me not to take time 4 granted"
Why We Love It: We do love this letter but it a bittersweet way. This is a break-up letter that Tupac sent to Madonna from prison, during what would be the last year of his life. It's a heartfelt goodbye to their romantic relationship, but it is filled with so much respect and optimism.
How To Channel This Energy: We hope you never have the occasion to write a break-up letter, but if you do, try to do it with as much dignity as Tupac.
3. Alex Turner and Alexa Chung
Author: Lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys, Alex Turner
Addressee: Fashion guru Alexa Chung
Written: Late 2000's, in a Valentine's Day Card
"My mouth hasn't shut up about you since you kissed it. The idea that you may kiss it again is stuck in my brain, which hasn't stopped thinking about you since well before any kiss. And now the prospect of those kisses seems to wind me like when you slip on the stairs and one of the stairs hits you in the middle of the back. The notion of them continuing for what is traditionally terrifyingly forever excites me to an unfamiliar degree."
Why We Love It: Alexa accidentally left this Valentine's Day card from her then-boyfriend Alex in a bar - the staff snapped it up and sold it to the tabloids who published it the next day. Recalling the incident, Alexa said "He [Alex] was really cool with it. ... He said, 'I'm not upset that everyone saw it because that's the truth and I couldn't give a s**t.'"
How To Channel This Energy: Tell the truth. Don't give a s**t.
2. Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe
Author: Playwright Arthur Miller
Addressee: Marilyn Monroe
Written: 17 May 1956
"Wife, Dear, Dear Woman—I have been thinking crazy thoughts. For instance, a wedding with maybe fifty people. Maybe in Roxbury, maybe somewhere else in a big house. And Bob and Jane there. And just a little bit of ceremony. Not fancy, but maybe my old friend Reverend Melish, a courageous and wonderful fighter for fine causes; or a Rabbi of similar background—I know one. Or maybe just somebody who can marry people. I want to dress up, and I want you dressed up; I want all my past looking on, even back to Moses.
I want the kids to see us married, and to feel the seriousness and honorableness of our marriage, so that nothing Mary can say to them will ever make them believe we have sneaked away to do this, or that I have hidden myself and what I wanted to do. And I want this for their sakes as much as for my own pride and my joy; so that they will see their Grandma and Grandpa full of happiness—and crying too, of course. (Isn’t it strange?—I didn’t have my parents to my first marriage, which was in Cleveland. It could have been arranged, but I felt better not to have them there. That time I felt untrue, you see? This time I feel true, and if the world wanted to come I would embrace them all.)"
Why We Love It: Arthur Miller was Marilyn's third and final husband before her untimely death at the young age of 36. She brought so much joy to others, it's heartwarming to see that someone wanted to bring joy to her.
How To Channel This Energy: Let your letter convey some of your past memories, and also what you want for your future together
1. Caitlin Moran and her daughter, Lizzie
Author: Caitlin Moran
Addressee: Caitlin's daughter, Lizzie
Written: July 2013, published in The Times
""Stay at peace with your body. While it's healthy, never think of it as a problem or a failure. Pat your legs occasionally and thank them for being able to run. Put your hands on your belly and enjoy how soft and warm you are – marvel over the world turning over within, the brilliant meat clockwork, as I did when you were inside me and I dreamt of you every night."
Why We Love It: Caitlin wrote this "post-humous" letter to her daughter, a letter of advice to be given to her if Caitlin had died. The result is beautiful letter from mother to teenage daughter.
How to Channel This Energy: Love letters don't have to be romantic in a purely sexual sense, you can express your love and appreciation for your friends and family members too.