Kids, I want to share my latest installment of Life Lessons with Mom. Put aside the eye rolls for just a moment. I promise this won’t be a long diatribe.
Here’s the deal. We live in a really cool time. Technology has given us communication capabilities that would shock prior generations. The fact that we can instantly send a letter over wireless waves is stunning. The fact that we can be on opposite sides of the globe and still hear each other’s voices in real time is nearly unfathomable. And the fact that, in an instant, I can send a picture to a device in your hand is crazy talk!
Back when your dad and I were dating—a mere 23 years ago, we did have phones, but they were stuck on a wall. And if you wanted to talk to someone across the country, it cost a small fortune. Consequently, since we dated long distance, we couldn’t afford to talk every day and we certainly couldn’t talk while driving or while walking to class or simply on a whim. It was a big deal to talk on the phone.
And texting…surely I don’t need to tell you that we couldn’t text one another. Landlines didn’t have that feature.
We also didn’t email…because it hadn’t been invented by Al Gore yet. And we couldn’t Facebook message each other…or Snap chat each other (is it snapchat, snap chat, or SnapChat???). Anyway, we couldn’t communicate with each other through a computer. Got it?
So why am I telling you all of this? To whine? To make you feel sorry for us? Most definitely not. I want to tell you about something that we used to do. It’s called letter writing.
L E T T E R W R I T I N G
It’s ridiculously old-fashioned, yes. In fact, almost no one does it anymore, which is a shame.
So let me give you two reasons why you need to take up this habit when you start dating someone seriously. First, it gives you a history of your relationship. When I read the love letters your dad and I wrote, I quickly remember the issues we were discussing, the tests I was studying for, the trips we were looking forward to. We would record our dreams through our letters, our foolish thoughts, and our hopes for our future. We talked about our families, our faith, our jobs, and our pasts. It’s a written history of our relationship. Just like a history book, only personal and interesting.
Love letters are not only your personal history, though; they also serve a more important purpose. One day, you might just need to be reminded why you fell in love in the first place. Listen, as I’ve told you many times, marriage is not easy. Two imperfect people join together in great excitement and then come the jobs, kids, moves, bills, and health problems. It’s easy to lose sight of what brought you together. You loved her ability to talk about anything…until she wouldn’t shut up. Or you adored his love of the great outdoors…until he wouldn’t come inside. Over time, the passion will fade—that’s normal—but sadly the mundane of everyday life can leave you forgetful of what brought you together. And that’s where your love letters can help to reignite that initial euphoria. You can be reminded of her qualities that you’ve overlooked; you will remember his traits that you couldn’t live without.
So write to your love…on paper. Tell your love why you’ve fallen in love. You just might need to be reminded one day.
And like I said, because your dad and I dated long-distance before the days of texts and emails, we have countless letters…in a box…but please don’t read them until we’re dead…because I’d you’d be completely embarrassed.