How To Write A Love Letter: 60+ Ideas & Examples

Lia Miller, M.A., MPA, MSW

Some would say that writing a love letter is a dead form of communication, a relic from olden days that's irrelevant in the era of instant gratification where we find ourselves today.

At a time when we are separated by visible and invisible barriers, forced apart by social distancing, and almost completely reliant on more impersonal forms of communication like email, social media, and video chatting, a love letter is a particularly meaningful and romantic gesture because it's slow, intentional, and deeply personal.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to write a love letter to a partner, a crush, or just about anyone.

How to write a love letter to your partner

Be ready to get vulnerable.

Writing a love letter to a long-term partner such as a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse can be a great way to affirm or even rekindle your love for each other.

Mental health counselor Chaute Thomson, LMHC , points out that couples can often forget to keep connecting with each other as they get swept up in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

So, a love letter can be a moment to step back, get in touch with your emotions, and show some serious affection to your partner—particularly if it's not something you often do with each other.

"Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your heart," she recommends. "Many times, we are scared to truly share ourselves out of fear of rejection or misunderstanding, but writing a love letter creates a genuine opportunity to connect with one another."

Really lean into your emotions—that's what's going to really make your love letter sing.

Start out the letter with a personal greeting

The greeting is important because it will set the tone for your entire letter, so you want to make sure you start off with something that will catch their attention and keep them reading.

Don't just start with "Dear [name]"—instead, greet them with something more romantic or personalized. Pet names and inside jokes work great.

  • To my best friend...
  • To my darling...
  • To my soul mate...
  • To my forever love...
  • Baby, sweetie, bae, etc.
  • Dear [pet name]...

Say why you're writing the letter

Is it an anniversary or another special occasion? Did your partner come through for you in a big way and you want to show appreciation? Have you just been feeling a lot of love for your partner and wanting to show your affection?

Whatever it is, say why you are writing the letter to give your letter some context.

Tell them why you love them and/or being with them

The body of the letter is where you will really pour out your heart.

For a longtime love, you want to talk about memories, overcoming obstacles together, what made you fall in love initially, why you still love them today, and what you see in the future.

Examples and ideas:

  • Tell them why you love them. In some cases, this can literally be a list of the things you love about them and more importantly why you love these qualities or attributes.
  • Literally "count the ways" you love them, and list some of the reasons for your love.
  • Talk about how your life has changed since they became a part of it and why you are grateful for that.
  • Talk about the future, where your relationship will be going next, how you will be there to support and "show up" for each other. Talk about why the future together is exciting.
  • Reaffirm your love and commitment to them and how you will hold up your side of the relationship/partnership.

Use storytelling

Recall a romantic memory—the first date, the first time you saw them, your wedding day, an anniversary, a special vacation, the first time you laughed together or cried together, etc. The point is to make it meaningful.

  • When I first saw you...
  • The first time I heard your voice...
  • When we first met, I immediately knew you were special because...
  • I knew you were the one when...

Close the letter warmly

Closing or wrapping up the letter is important because it is where you sum up all the things you have just laid out in your letter. This section shouldn't be that long since you've put the meat of the letter into the body.

  • I look forward to loving you for a lifetime.
  • I am so lucky to be with my best friend and soul mate.
  • These years with you have been the happiest of my life.
  • My love for you will never end.
  • Till death do us part—I said it then and I still mean it now.

How to write a love letter to your crush

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best paper for writing love letters

Writing a letter for a crush is a lot different from writing a love letter to a partner.

For starters, writing for a crush can be really scary because there is a risk in putting yourself out there if you have no clue if the feelings are mutual.

However, there is no way to know how they will respond if you don't open yourself up.

Many of the tips given in the previous section of writing a letter for a longtime love or partner apply to writing a letter to crush, though obviously the difference is you don't know them as well. 

Here are some general tips for letter writing for a crush:

Consider whether it's the right gesture

Love letters can be a really romantic way to let someone know you like them, but they can also come off strong and can veer into "creepy" territory if you're not careful.

Before writing a full-throttle love letter to a crush, you should have some sense of where they stand—some inclination that they might feel the same way about you.

If you know that you're both crushing on each other, a love letter can be a great gesture. Alternatively, you can write someone a love letter simply with the intention of making them feel loved, without making it about trying to start a relationship with them.

Sending an extremely affectionate love letter to someone who has no clue that you like them or who doesn't view your relationship romantically might be overwhelming and can make some people uncomfortable.

Consider whether you're writing this letter for their benefit or for your own; if the latter, it may make more sense to write the letter without sending it. This can still be a very therapeutic process for you!

Start with an attention grabber

It can be powerful to hear someone describe shared memories and interactions from their point of view. Consider describing how you've experienced your time together:

  • When I first saw you, you took my breath away...
  • When I heard you speak, it really impressed me or caught my attention...
  • You are captivating and make me feel things I haven't felt before...
  • The time we spend together is so precious to me...
  • The first time I spoke to you, I knew you were someone special...

Compliment them

Many people love receiving compliments that make them feel good about themselves; if nothing else, most people are interested in hearing how other people see them.

Without going over the top, describe the little things that make this person special to you. Don't just focus on their outward appearance—talk about their inner qualities, such as their strength, resilience, playfulness, passion for their work, etc.

Pay attention to the details

Don't be too general in your letter. Don't just say that you like them or that they caught your interest. Tell them why you like them and how they make you feel.

  • You make me happy because...
  • I always look forward to seeing you because...
  • I find you captivating because...

If you're feeling stuck, find inspiration. Look for examples of love letters that say things similar to what you want to say. Look at the great poets and writers and find inspiration in their words. You can even quote them if it feels appropriate.

Drop in a cheesy line

There is nothing wrong with a little cheese if it captures how you really feel.

  • When I think about you, I end up with a stupid grin on my face.
  • Since I met you, I've been feeling like I'm living the best dream of my life.
  • We're all special, but you raised the bar on that.

Be clear about your intentions

Make sure they know why you're writing this letter. Are you just wanting to make them feel good? Are you telling them how you feel because you're hoping they might feel the same way?

If you're not sure where the recipient stands, it is important to let them know that there isn't any pressure on them to do anything, to respond to the letter in any specific way, or to feel the same way you do.

Talk about the future, if appropriate

If you and the recipient are already in a process of courtship (i.e., you both already know you like each other), it can be really romantic to daydream about the future.

When closing your letter, consider imagining what the relationship might look like:

  • Talk about the fun dates you could go on.
  • Talk about the silly arguments you might have.
  • Talk about watching your favorite movies in an evening of Netflix and chill.
  • Talk about the upcoming good days and the bad days.
  • Talk about how awesome it will be dating each other!

General tips for writing a creative love letter

Set the mood.

Before you even put pen to pad, you need to get yourself in a letter-writing state of mind. According to Laura Louis, Ph.D. , a licensed psychologist at Atlanta Couple Therapy, your "state of mind is so important when preparing yourself to write a love letter.

To get yourself into a mindset of creativity and inspiration, you need to manage your environment."

Tapping into your five senses can help you get into the right head space.

For example:

  • If possible, go to a place you find inspiring, creative, and romantic to write your letter. Alternatively, you can find a good photo of the location in mind (e.g., a photo of a beach at sunset) and place it in your work area where you can easily see it and draw motivation from it.
  • "Music can be incredible for getting into that creative space," says Louis. If you are motivated by music, make a playlist that taps into that creative part of yourself and brings up positive feelings that you associate with the person you are writing the letter for.
  • Don't discount aromatherapy to help get you into a love-letter-writing mood. "Certain scents can affect your mood. In particular lavender and eucalyptus are powerful in affecting your mood" and inspiring creativity, says Louis. Alternatively, you can use a scent that you love that reminds you of your loved one.

Think before you write

You don't need to be an expert writer to get your point across, but you should take the time to think about what you want to say before you start writing.

It's OK if you have to write and rewrite the letter a few times before you get to a version that you are ready to send.

Practice makes perfect. If you don't like what you've written, don't settle. Keep at it until you end up with something you love, which will ensure your recipient loves it too.

At the same time, don't put too much pressure on yourself. The recipient will most likely appreciate your efforts, and their focus will be on the sentiments shared in the letter and not on how "well" the letter was written.

Consider how you want the recipient to feel

A good love letter will make the recipient feel loved, cherished, accepted, desired, special, and important. As you're writing, think about not just what you want to say but also how you want the person to feel as they read your words.

Thompson suggests thinking about the five love languages as you write—aka touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, and quality time.

Which of these ways does this person enjoy receiving love? "Be sure to touch on what your partner's love language is when you are writing to tell them what you love about them," Thompson says.

Get the delivery right

The way you deliver your letter is almost as exciting as the letter itself. This is where you can get really creative and have some fun with it.

  • Go direct and hand it to them in person.
  • Use good ol'-fashioned "snail mail" and mail it to them with an envelope and stamp for a real treat. Who doesn't love getting mail that isn't a billing statement or promotional item?
  • Break it up into little bits and send your love on a "scavenger hunt" with clues leading them to the places they can find the different pieces of the letter until they have the whole thing—which leads them back to you.
  • Leave it in a place they will least expect, such as on the front seat of their car before they are about to leave the house or on the bedside table for them to find while you're out of town. Or if they take their lunch to work, tuck it away in their lunch so they have a surprise waiting for them when they open it up at work.
  • Use Post-it notes and leave short excerpts or key parts of your love letter on the Post-its, placed in strategic places throughout the house. Or you can even cover an entire wall in your words of love for them if you're feeling ambitious.

Why writing a love letter is so romantic

We live in a "microwave society" where people want things "quick, fast, and in a hurry," Louis says. But that's what makes letter writing so special.

It takes time to put together and is a permanent testament to your love that doesn't disappear in a long thread of text messages.

Lover letters are one of the greatest exemplars of true romance. The letter isn't even the romantic part but rather the idea that your lover is thinking of you even when they are not physically in your presence.

Writing a love letter lets them know their importance in your life, captures what makes your relationship special, and demonstrates what makes the person you are with amazing to you.

Finally, a love letter allows your partner to see themselves through your eyes, which is, in itself, a gift.

Lia Miller, M.A., MPA, MSW author page.

Lia Miller, M.A., MPA, MSW , is an award-winning writer, foreign policy expert, and clinically trained social worker with emphasis on childhood and family dynamics. She has dual bachelor's degrees with honors in Social Work and African American Studies, a master's degree in Public Administration, and a master's degree in International Relations from Syracuse University . She also has a master's degree in Social Work from Columbia University . Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Blavity, Madame Noire, the Times Union, Heart & Soul Magazine, Griots Republic, and more.

Miller, known online as Lia World Traveler, is also a public speaker who regularly presents on panels and at workshops, conferences, and events nationally and internationally. She is also foreign service officer/diplomat and has worked extensively on issues across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Latin America.

A Modern Guide to the Love Letter

From the right kind of stationery to the wrong kind of metaphor, a how-to on the art of epistolary wooing

best paper for writing love letters

When it comes to the greatest love letters ever written, many like to credit those extraordinary intellects of the 12th century, Peter Abelard and his gifted pupil and lover, Heloise. The besotted pair, whose passionate trysts included making love in a corner of the refectory of the convent in which Heloise had been cloistered, were reduced to expressing their affection via written words after Abelard was castrated by Heloise’s enraged uncle (as he recounts to a friend in the aptly titled letter, “Historia calamitatum”).

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Out of respect (or perhaps in deference to his deleted part), Heloise addresses him only as Abelard, but the letters Peter-less Abelard and Heloise exchanged lamenting their predicament offer resplendent examples of the art of translating love into language. “Your looks were the beginning of my guilt;” wrote Abelard , “your eyes, your discourse, pierced my heart; and in spite of that ambition and glory which tried to make a defense, love was soon the master.”

Heloise is less abstract: “I call God to witness, if Augustus, ruling over the whole world, were to deem me worthy of the honour of marriage, and to confirm the whole world to me, to be ruled by me forever, dearer to me and of greater dignity would it seem to be called thy strumpet than his empress.”

(While it’s tempting to use Heloise and Abelard as a model, each couple invents its own vocabulary of desire. Napoleon, for example, presumed upon some private understanding when his courier presented a hastily written love note to Josephine saying that he would return to the capital in two weeks, and imploring her, “Don’t bathe.”)

Even while lacking both Abelard’s intellect and Napoleon’s tastes, it’s possible to immortalize one’s passion in the epistolary form. But to inscribe your love upon the human heart, you must attend carefully to every detail of the letter with which you convey your affection.

The back of a cocktail napkin may have been sufficient, on occasion, to arouse the interest of the unescorted drinker beside you at the bar with a scrawled vulgarity followed by a question mark. But for a love letter, don’t depend upon paper that’s provided to sop up spilled beer. Get yourself instead to a stationer, where you should select a sheet of hand-pressed, deckle-edged 100 percent cotton paper.

The grain of such stationery, designed like your note to be neither glossy nor slick, hints at your character and may (if Freud wasn’t totally wrong) also subliminally suggest to your beloved those other cotton sheets you hope to share. In fact, all the characteristics of such fine paper commend it as the medium of a love letter: its textured face gives purchase to the trembling fingers that will unfold your letter for the first time; later, the slight shadows cast by the raised grain will conceal tear stains after your fickle heart has cooled (as well as disguise the creases when it’s crumpled into a ball to be hurled at your indifference); and finally, the heft of the sheet will withstand the decades of surreptitious rereading, your lover long since having settled for marriage to another, less literate, person.

Warning: Do not succumb to the temptation to employ your own personal stationery imprinted with your name and address. Such handsome lettering makes identification of the author appallingly easy for your lover’s attorney. (Imagine, if you are not quite convinced of the danger, the disapproving nod as each juror examines your name and address engraved above your pledges of undying love—and support.)

Remember, too, that if your beloved actually needs your name and address on such an intimate declaration to distinguish your note from the others he or she regularly receives, perhaps your relationship hasn’t yet matured sufficiently for your emotions to be immortalized in ink.

Henry Ford’s position on the color of the Model T should guide your choice. You can write a love letter in any color you like, so long as it is black.

No, you may not use blue, unless your imagination tends to the pornographic. As William Gass reminds us in his book-length meditation On Being Blue, the color serves as a synonym for the lewd (e.g., a “blue” movie). So if you’re intent upon scorching your lover with salacious prose, you may suggest a certain droll wit by penning your indecencies in blue.

If you sense that might be a mistake, stick to black. Why? Because it is serious, elegant, and stains more deeply and permanently than anything else. So should your words.

Though our age continues its accelerating devolution toward the casual, resist any inclination toward rumpled informality. Opt, as you have in your choice of ink, for the elegant, that style toward which all other styles aspire to be reduced. What exactly is it? Elegance is a refinement of simplicity rather than a flourish of excess. Elegance prompts wit rather than comedy, sentiment rather than sentimentality. Such restraint is the lens through which all the diffuse sensations of desire are focused into the flame of passion.

When it comes to length, learn from that great epistolary writer Blaise Pascal. In closing an unusually long letter, the French mathematician and philosopher apologizes for its length. “I had not time,” he explains, “to make it shorter.” Similarly, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, in “a plain long letter,” details for the man with whom she would elope a few weeks later the insistence of her father that she marry another. The very length of the letter is offered as proof of her consternation: “My Letter is too long. I beg your pardon. You may see by the situation of my affairs tis without design.” Long-winded elegance is oxymoronic. So length does matter, but in writing, less is more. Distill your prose until just a few sentences can intoxicate their reader.

A minefield for the unwary, the greeting invariably gets one off on the wrong foot. Surely the addressee's name is superfluous in such private correspondence, and mere flattery is more dangerous than one might suppose. The 19th-century British author Thomas Hood must have thought himself the perfect poet in adopting so grandiloquent a tone when he opened a love letter to his wife with "My own dearest and best." Unfortunately, Mrs. Hood, if well educated, would have recalled that the use of the superlative is reserved for comparisons of three or more. The question of which other two or more ladies Hood had found in his experience to be deficient to his spouse may have nagged at her imagination and spoiled the effect he sought. Avoid the temptation of bombast.

But if you nonetheless insist upon a formal salutation, unrestrained adulation may be your best course. Consider the example elicited by Martha Blount. The rumored mistress of Alexander Pope risked the wrath of the Wasp of Twickenham when she addressed him as “Dear Creature.” Charmed, however, the poet responded in a letter beginning with the simple but always effective, “Most Divine!” Even an excessively scrupulous lover would not likely object to your plagiarism of such an opening nor find offense in the comparison.

We call it the body of the love letter for good reason, but recipients won’t necessarily be moved by your appeals to their physical parts. Even four centuries later, Henry's confession to Anne Boleyn of his royal wish to find himself “in my Sweethearts Armes whose pritty Duckys I trust shortly to kysse” still sounds cringingly silly.

So pay attention to your words. Remember, it’s “scent,” not “odor.” Your beloved doesn’t “smell” good; her “fragrance” is enchanting.

If you find yourself stuck, begin with a quotation. Shakespeare is a safe bet, especially his Twelfth Night , in which one woman, disguised as a man, woos another woman on behalf of the actual man the first woman secretly loves. Yes, it's complicated, but you can learn from the Bard’s play how a woman might woo if she were a man—an invaluable lesson in imagining what the object of your affections wants to hear.

And, even if you have a knack for them, no pornographic drawings.

Ulysses S. Grant peppered his love letters to Julia Dent with blank spaces, which, he was forced to explain to the baffled lady, were an attempt to suggest feelings that words could never express. It worked for Grant, who married Miss Dent after four years of courtship. It might work for you.

Use metaphor, not euphemism. If you don’t know what a metaphor is, rent Il Postino . In the film, the exiled poet Pablo Neruda explains the concept to his postman, and the metaphors invented by Mario, the tongue-tied mailman, win the heart of his gorgeous Beatrice.

Neruda's own poetry is also an invaluable trove. His book Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair is full of examples (and its final song may prove of comfort if your letter fails).

A few rules apply. No cute goofiness. No financial metaphors, particularly employing the conceit of what an excellent investment your lover is. Food is a good choice, but be careful. Fashionable vegetables may be all the rage at that little bistro where you take your beloved after a film like Il Postino , but a fiddlehead fern may be more attractive on the plate than on the page.

If your lover is female, you can compare her to a flower. Jorge Luis Borges, always intrigued by labyrinths, reminds us that one of the immortal metaphors of poetry pairs a woman with a flower. You should realize, though, that roses (and oysters, for that matter) are associated with love in part because of their physical resemblance to a particular part of a the female anatomy. When Bobby Burns sings, “O, my luve’s like a red, red rose,” he’s speaking literally as well as figuratively. So consider carefully all the implications of the metaphors you strew.

Fernando Pessoa, the great Portuguese poet, insists that immortality depends upon the grammarians. He knows what he’s talking about.

Consider the case of Confederate officer William F. Testerman, for example, who penned these concluding sentences to his beloved: “Direct your letters as before and dont forget your best friend so I will end my few lines but my love to you has no End remember me as ever your love and friend. Excuse bad riting.” Perhaps Miss Jane Davis, to whom the soldier's letter was addressed, forgave his prose. He did, after all, write from the battlefield. But you, in composing your love letter, seek to make eloquent those reasons of the heart most resistant to glib formulation. “Bad riting” won't ease your task.

Make subjects agree with verbs, and pronouns, with their antecedents. Do not say, “Everyone love their mother, and I love you.” (Actually, there are quite a few reasons not to put that in a love letter.) Proofread. Then proofread again.

Complimentary Close

Be extravagant. As much as you might mean it, don’t end with “Sincerely,” “Cordially,” “Affectionately,” “All best wishes” or “Yours truly.” Their punctilious formality smacks of someone who wears wing tips to bed. “Your humble servant” is appropriate, but only for certain kinds of relationships. Something closer to “Truly, Madly, Deeply,” the title of the British film about undying (for awhile) love, might do.

On the other hand, if you’ve done your job up till the last sentence of so intimate a letter, the swooning reader won’t notice the omission of this epistolary convention. Be bold. Skip it.

If you can’t bring yourself to close without a signature, limit yourself to your first initial. And try to be illegible here. There’s no reason to make the job easier for a lawyer someday.

Avoid overnight delivery services; they make you look too anxious. And, contradictorily, they take too long. Instead, bribe whomever you must to have the letter placed directly upon the beloved's pillow.

Accepting an Answer

Let your lover express gratitude without interruption. There should be nothing left for you to say, anyway, and no improvisation will match the perfectly crafted sentences of the letter that has brought you to what ancient poets called, not without reason, the bower of happiness.

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How to Write a Love Letter, According to Experts

We asked romance novelists and authors for their best love letter tips.

Headshot of Lizz Schumer

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Doth your loved one teach the torches to burn bright? If trying to write a love letter has you muttering, “wherefore art thou, oh muse,” you’re in good company. We’re willing to bet even William Shakespeare had a case of writer’s block as he stared down the blank page every now and then. But you don’t have to be a bard to write a sweet message that will make your recipient weak at the knees. To really hone in on the best way to write a love letter, we outlined the basics — then asked a few romance novelists and authors to share their tricks of the trade. After all, nobody knows how to convey the lovey dovies through words like someone who does it for a living. Here’s what they had to say.

How to Start Your Love Letter

Stick to specifics.

A really effective love note, like any good piece of writing, is all about authenticity and specificity, says Devon Daniels, author of Meet You in the Middle . Instead of rattling off a laundry list of traits that could come off sounding insincere, pick a couple of things you love about them as an individual and go deep on those. For example, you might say, “Your commitment to helping others inspires me to be more giving,” or “I love that you’re never too busy to stop and play with our kids.” Once you focus on one trait, you’ll be surprised at how easily the words flow, Daniels says.

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For Gina Hamadey, who wrote her husband a thank-you note each day for a month before writing her new book, I Want to Thank You , getting specific became even more important. She focused on things like her husband playing music in the house to set the mood for the day or making really good eggs and coffee. “The most effective love letter is the one that shines a light on the person and all they are doing,” she points out.

Get Personal

While reading others’ steamy missives for inspiration can get your own creative juices flowing, resist the urge to copy the greats. “Don’t try to sound like someone else. You don’t have to be poetic or flowery unless that kind of thing comes naturally,” advises Kristan Higgins, author of Pack Up the Moon , among many others. Instead, Higgins suggests thinking about the first time you knew this was your ride-or-die person or the foundational aspects of your relationship. “You might say, ‘I knew you were going to be important because you irritated me and made me laugh the very first time we met,’” she says. Or you might point out how they make you feel safe or listen when you share your struggles.

“I learned that the most romantic and giving and loving letters aren't necessarily the ones that are the most poetic,” says Hamadey. “I think everyone in a relationship wants to be fully appreciated by the other person.” The phrase she used most in her letters was “you take such good care of us.” Sometimes, it’s the simplest truths that make the biggest impact.

Dive Into the Details

When writing a love letter, you can’t go wrong by getting really granular about why you’re super into the person. This is no time to hold back. “The more specific you can be, the more romantic it will feel,” says Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of The Ex Talk . Instead of telling someone how much they always make you laugh, take it one step further by calling out a specific joke or instance that still makes you snort-giggle.

When Hamadey asked her husband Jake how the letters made him feel, he said it was the opposite of the old adage of missing the forest for the trees. “You and I say, ‘I love you’ a lot, and that is the forest, the love we have for each other,’” he told her. “This month refocused us on the nice trees that make up the forest.” When you focus on your own trees, you show the other person exactly how much they mean.

When in Doubt, List It Out

Both Daniels and Higgins love listing out the positive qualities that make your relationship really special. Daniels, who’s celebrating her 16th Valentine’s Day with her husband this year, says she might list out “16 things I love about you,” as a fun way to organize your thoughts. If your relationship isn't quite that old, you might list something you love for every month you've been dating, or some other number that's significant to the two of you. Making a list also gives you the opportunity to mix in some silly and serious angles, to balance out the mushy stuff.

Tailor It to Your Person

If you know your loved one likes a particular style, consider getting creative with it that way. “The best love letters contain the personality and essence of the writer,” says Uzma Jalaluddin, author of Ayesha at Last , and Hana Khan Carries On . “My husband is not a writer, but he loves rhyming poems. As a result, my love notes are more love poems — of the ‘roses are red’ variety,”

Because this is love we’re talking about, a little spice never hurts. Don’t be afraid to sauce things up, Daniels advises. Even if you’ve never written a steamy scene before, the effort goes a long way.

It’s the Thought That Counts

Writers know that the best way to beat the block is taking the pressure off. Don’t beat yourself up over writing a Pulitzer-worthy masterpiece. Even if you’re the worst writer on the planet, your loved one will appreciate a letter that really comes from your soul. “No matter what, your person will love that you put in the effort,” Higgins says. “That’s what love is, after all. Showing up and giving it your best.”

Headshot of Lizz Schumer

Lizz (she/her) is a senior editor at Good Housekeeping , where she runs the GH Book Club, edits essays and long-form features and writes about pets, books and lifestyle topics. A journalist for almost two decades, she is the author of Biography of a Body and Buffalo Steel. She also teaches journalism as an adjunct professor at New York University's School of Professional Studies and creative nonfiction at the Muse Writing Center, and coaches with the New York Writing Room. 

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How to Write a Love Letter

Love letter with flowers

Really? A love letter? Yes, really. Sure, in this day and age, your options for how to say “I love you” are endless. You can text it. You can email it. You can say it face to face. You can write it in flour on the countertop, take a photo, and post it to Instagram. You can scribble a love note on a napkin and tuck it in a lunch bag. If you’ve got the courage, you could even write a song and serenade your sweetie.

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And all of those are great. You should definitely keep (or start) doing them to remind your love how much they mean. But when you really want to get your partner’s attention, there’s another tool to consider adding to your I love you repertoire: the good old-fashioned love letter.

Writing a love letter is the kind of gesture we 21st-century types don’t make every day—and that’s exactly what makes it so special. It’s something a little out of the day-to-day…unexpected…above and beyond. Odds are good your partner is going to want to read, reread, and hang onto it for a good long while. Love letters are just that meaningful.

Of course, the fact that letter writing is less common nowadays also means many of us are less than confident about how to write a love letter. (Is it a weird thing to do? How do I even start?) If that sounds like you, then read on for some helpful love letter writing tips.

Why Write a Love Letter  

Putting pen to paper gives you space to really open up, explore, and expand on what’s in your heart. That can be just the thing for when your feelings are so strong, you just know it’s going to take some extra time, thought, and heartfelt words to express all you’re feeling. A love letter gives you a chance to dive deeper and communicate things that can be hard to say face to face or capture in a text…even one with lots of heart emojis.

When to Send a Love Letter  

Here’s the short answer: Whenever you’ve got some saved-up affection, appreciation, and admiration to express to the one you love. To expand on that just a little, here’s a list of specific times perfect for a love letter:

  • Official occasions: Valentine’s Day, your love’s birthday, Christmas, Mother’s or Father’s Day (if your partner is a parent), Independence Day (if you want to start some fireworks), or any meaningful holiday, really.
  • Significant dates for your relationship: Wedding anniversary, anniversary of first date, engagement, the day you met, or any other date that has special meaning for the two of you.
  • When things are great: A love letter when things are going well is a chance to appreciate your partner for all they to keep your relationship strong.
  • When things are not as great: A love letter when things are tough is an opportunity to reset, remind, and apologize (if needed). It’s a chance to focus on the positive and recall happier times together, and most importantly, to express optimism in your future together, in spite of hard circumstances.
  • A random Tuesday: Or Monday, or Wednesday, or Thursday, or…in other words, just because. A love letter from the heart can make any old day feel like an occasion. And sometimes, it’s the out-of-the-blue, utterly unexpected love letter that means the most…and that goes the furthest toward keeping a relationship strong.

How to Start a Love Letter  

Materials Nice stationery and a quality pen can add an appealing touch of significance and permanence to your love letter, and in the long run, they’ll help it stand the test of time. But if a sheet of notebook paper feels more like you, or more in keeping with the personality of your relationship, then by all means, get writing. The key is not to let your momentary lack of the perfect paper keep you from even starting. On the other hand, if you do want to go fancier with your materials, keep in mind that pencil stubs and notebook paper can still be handy for…

Writing a Rough Draft That’s right—rough drafts are not just for school essays, but for any important piece of writing, love letters most definitely included. Your rough draft might be as simple as a brainstormed list of lovable things about your partner in the notes app on your phone. Or it could be a fully fleshed-out practice letter you draft out on your computer or on scratch paper. Once again, go with the approach that feels most like you.

Top-of-Page Details Date your letter: Before diving in to the body of your letter, start off by writing the date near the top right of your first page. This is more than just a letter-writing convention—it also helps create a record of your relationship. When your love rereads the letter years from now, they will know this is a snapshot of your passion at this particular point in time.

Salutation: The word sounds formal, but in truth, the salutation is highly intimate. It’s the “Dear Joe,” or “Hey, Babe:” just above the body of your letter. For a newer relationship, you might stick to a simple “Dear Jane,” but for a more established love, here are some more passionate possibilities:

  • Darling (Jill), My Darling (John), My Darling Girl, My Love,
  • Dearest (Jack), My Dearest (Joanne),
  • My Wonderful (Jim), My Beautiful (Jess),
  • Hello, Gorgeous: or Hi, Babe:
  • Dear Sunshine, Dear [insert pet name here],

What to Say in the Body of Your Love Letter  

There are no hard-and-fast rules for what a love letter should say, except that it should sound like you, including your voice, your personality, your sense of humor, etc. In other words, you should feel absolutely free to write from the heart; however, if you could use a little help getting started, here are some ideas and guidelines.

State a “Why” Start off by mentioning why you’re writing. This could mean anything from referring to the occasion, to saying you’ve been thinking about your partner:

  • Occasion: On our first anniversary, I just wanted to remind you how lucky I feel…
  • Just because: You know I love you every day, but today, I felt like putting it in writing….
  • Miss you: I miss you seeing your face…
  • Appreciation: Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about all you do for us…
  • Compliment: Just so you know, you take my breath away…
  • Tough time: Hey, I know things haven’t been the best between us lately. That’s why I want to make sure you know
  • New love: Just wanted to tell you that I’m having the best time with you, and I can’t wait to…
  • Thinking of you: You’re on my mind right now…

Go Into Detail Go on to add some specifics that could only come from you:

  • List things you love about your partner: The more specific, the better—I love the way your eyes crinkle when you laugh, instead of just I love your laugh. Getting specific shows you really know your partner.
  • Be sensual: All day long, I look forward to the thrill of being back in your strong arms…I love the feel of your soft lips on mine…
  • But don’t be R-rated: Imagine that your adult child or grandchild might someday stumble across this letter. It’s okay to make them blush, but try not to make them say, “Eeeeewwww!”
  • Get physical: It’s great to admire your partner’s sparkly blue eyes or rock-hard abs…
  • But try to balance it out: I adore your offbeat sense of humor…I’m constantly amazed by your ability to fix anything…Or whatever else you happen to love about who your partner really is.
  • Share a memory/Tell a story: I knew you were the one for me the moment you…I was just thinking about our trip to San Diego—the one where I lost my glasses…
  • Talk about “us”: I love this life we share…I feel like you and I are a perfect fit…I’m so grateful for what we have together. Thanks for sharing it with me…

How to Wrap Up a Love Letter  

Sign It You’ll want to end your letter with some real passion, so consider using one of these closings before signing your name

  • All my love,
  • Love always,
  • Forever yours,
  • Passionately,
  • Gratefully,
  • All my heart,
  • Always and forever,
  • Hugs and kisses,
  • Under your spell,
  • With all my love on (Valentine’s Day) and always,

Seal It Beyond just the envelope, here are some additional ways to “seal” a love letter.

  • With a kiss (lipstick optional)
  • With a spritz of your signature scent
  • With an enclosure (poem, quote, concert tickets, pressed flower, paper heart, candy, etc.)
  • With a fancy wax seal or embossed sticker
  • With your awesome origami skills in place of an envelope (hand-delivery only)
  • With ribbon or twine tied in a bow

Deliver It Almost any delivery method you choose will add an extra element of surprise. If you get in the habit of writing love letters, you can try them all…and invent some new ones of your own.

  • Mail to your partner’s home or place of work (It can be surprisingly fun to get mail from someone you live with or see every day.)
  • In their bag, purse, or briefcase
  • On the driver’s seat of their car
  • On their pillow
  • On the bathroom vanity
  • Face-to-face

Prepare for Smiles, Hugs, Kisses…  

Long or short, heartfelt or humorous, if you write from the heart, with genuine affection and appreciation, your partner is going to love and cherish your letter. The thought you put into it may seem like a little thing, but it’s one of those little things that can add up over time to keep a romance going strong.

  • From the Heart Edition
  • Greeting Card Messages and Ideas

best paper for writing love letters

Keely Chace is a Hallmark Master Writer who loves reading, running and spending time with her husband and daughters. She shares writing tips in her "What to Write" series on Hallmark & Community.

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