“Whatever I treasure and enjoy—this home, our ranch, the sight of the sea—all would be without meaning if I didn’t have you. I live in a permanent Christmas because God gave me you.”– Ronald Reagan
I hear a lot of people talking about needing to scale back this Christmas. From the large crowds in the malls already, I’m not sure they will stick to their goals. What if there was a gift you knew your spouse would really treasure, and it would cost you nothing but your time and effort? The gift is a love letter. Wait! Before you get too scared, please at least hear me out.
The book, “My Dear President,” details hundreds of letters between Presidents and their wives, from George Washington to George Bush. It’s fascinating to not only read about their lives but about their feelings for one another so eloquently expressed. They don’t call Ronald Reagan “The Great Communicator” for nothing. Not only did he communicate well with a nation, he communicated his love with amazing detail in daily letters. The book “I love you, Ronnie,” details these letters, but you can read a quick glimpse here http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4201869/. No matter where he was, Reagan made time to write letters to his wife, whether they were in different countries or in the same room.
My point is that if the President of the United States can make time to write letters to his wife, so can you. I know you are used to emailing and text messaging and maybe aren’t used to expressing your feelings. So, here are a couple of suggestions. Don’t buy a greeting card and write a line at the bottom. Write a real letter with at least a couple of paragraphs and a beginning and closing. You get extra points for nice stationery and hand writing instead of typing. Tell your spouse not only what you appreciate about what he or she does, but also what you appreciate about who they are and what they mean to you. Express your gratitude and love. If you need further inspiration, read one of the books mentioned above. Or link to this IBJ article, which includes one of the greatest love letters I have ever read, from a Civil War Union officer to his wife while on the battlefield. Go to: www.ibj.com and search for Mike Redmond’s column title “The art of letter writing.”
Chances are that your spouse doesn’t remember many of the gifts from years past. But great letters become treasures for generations.
While you’re at it, draft a letter to your children, your parents or those you want to know how much you care about them. Even hand-written notes to business associates stand out because they are so rare.
Share your letter-writing experience. Have you written or received a letter that has great value to you?