When people think of love letters, what generally comes to mind is carefully crafted sonnets, and long romantic declarations of love. And generally, these thoughts are tied to the letters that men have written for women. “Women like that kind of thing” is the common mode of thought, while there is a corresponding line of thought that men just don’t need to be wooed by grand gestures.
The truth, however, is even if there is still the societal view that men need to keep a stiff upper lip and aren’t prone to “sappiness” a well thought-out letter to show your love and appreciation to that man in your life would not be amiss. While harder to find examples of romantic letter from women to men than from men to women, we still see many examples of women writing their husbands and lovers throughout history to express the depth of their affection.
Some of these examples are as follows:
Emma Darwin to Charles Darwin.
I cannot tell you the compassion I have felt for all your sufferings for these weeks past that you have had so many drawbacks. Nor the gratitude I have felt for the cheerful & affectionate looks you have given me when I know you have been miserably uncomfortable.
My heart has often been too full to speak or take any notice I am sure you know I love you well enough to believe that I mind your sufferings nearly as much as I should my own & I find the only relief to my own mind is to take it as from God’s hand, & to try to believe that all suffering & illness is meant to help us to exalt our minds & to look forward with hope to a future state. When I see your patience, deep compassion for others self command & above all gratitude for the smallest thing done to help you I cannot help longing that these precious feelings should be offered to Heaven for the sake of your daily happiness. But I find it difficult enough in my own case. I often think of the words “Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.” It is feeling & not reasoning that drives one to prayer. I feel presumptuous in writing thus to you.
I feel in my inmost heart your admirable qualities & feelings & all I would hope is that you might direct them upwards, as well as to one who values them above every thing in the world. I shall keep this by me till I feel cheerful & comfortable again about you but it has passed through my mind often lately so I thought I would write it partly to relieve my own mind.
Zelda Sayre to Scott Fitzgerald
I am loving, loving every tiny minute of the day and night—
Scott–there’s nothing in all the world I want but you–and your precious love–All the materials things are nothing.
I’d just hate to live a sordid, colorless existence-because you’d soon love me less–and less–and I’d do anything– anything–to keep your heart for my own–I don’t want to live–I want to love first, and live incidentally…
Don’t–don’t ever think of the things you can’t give me–You’ve trusted me with the dearest heart of all–and it’s so damn much more than anybody else in all the world has ever had—Don’t you think I was made for you? I feel like you had me ordered–and I was delivered to you–to be worn–I want you to wear me, like a watch–charm or a button hole bouquet–to the world.
And then, when we’re alone, I want to help–to know that you can’t do anything without me…
All my heart–
I love you
Edith Wharton to W Morton Fullerton
Dear, won’t you tell me the meaning of this silence? …
I re-read your letters the other day, & I will not believe that the man who wrote them did not feel them, & did not know enough of the woman to whom they were written to trust to her love & courage, rather than leave her to this aching uncertainty.
What has brought about such a change? Oh, no matter what it is – only tell me!
I could take my life up again courageously if I only understood; for whatever those months were to you, to me they were a great gift, a wonderful enrichment; & still I rejoice & give thanks for them! You woke me from a long lethargy, a dull acquiescence in conventional restrictions, a needless self-effacement. If I was awkward & inarticulate it was because, literally, all one side of me was asleep.
Lastly this is my favorite, written by a great man Count Leo Tolstoi to Valeria Arsenev, his fiancé.
Writing Your Letter
Remember that the letter you write must be first and foremost honest. It can be difficult to put our hearts out there, but remember that you aren’t writing a letter to the world. These letters were not written to be read by you and me, but rather the men they were addressed to. Make sure you keep that intimacy in your letter, because if you start writing for anybody other than your intended audience, then the letter will fail to get your true feelings across.
With that in mind, try to make sure your letter feels honest. If you are not prone to use words such as “apricity” in your real life conversations, then don’t use such words in your writing. Thesauruses might be handy in some cases, but keep it well away from you when you’re writing an intimate love letter to the man you love. You’ll also probably need to write several drafts, so don’t get frustrated if you can’t get the words out the first time. In the end it will be well worth the effort.