As a sex and well-being writer I often find myself reading a lot of content that pertains to these topics and a while ago I stumbled upon a very interesting article whose name I have now shamefully forgotten.
The article itself was about various ways that people with massively different work schedules can still maintain intimacy and romance, which immediately appealed to me.
Mr Peaches, is a teacher (away for most of the day) and a complete and utter night owl. I, although liking to call myself a ‘constantly exhausted pigeon’, am a fiercely hardwired early bird and pretty much collapse come 10pm on your average night.
This means that during term time we can feel the pinch of clashing schedules, especially when leisure, social, and solo relaxation times are factored in.
It was because of this that I skimmed this article with peaked interest. The suggestion that stayed in my mind? ‘Write a love letter to each other every single day and look at it when you’re away from each other’.
I was hooked before it even described the ‘why’ of the action.
That same day I approached Mr Peaches with the idea and we both agreed it was a good one. We purchased a book for the task (easier to carry, archive, and remember than individual letters) and got to writing.
How Did It Go?
For those who recklessly defy spoiler alerts and want to low down straight away here it is:
We no longer write each other a letter a day. But we do still write each other the occasional letter, now in the more traditional format and now with what we perceive as increased meaning.
This may seem like a bummer to some people but don’t feel too deflated by our ultimate decision not to go fourth with daily sweet nothings. The physical act of writing daily may not have been for us but along the way we both learnt so much that I do not regret the project for a single moment.
Here were my key findings:
#1 I Became A More Thoughtful Person
In my quest to provide some more thought to the romantic act of love letter writing I found that I also became more thoughtful as a person.
I considered Mr Peaches more. I looked in to different questions to ask lovers and wondered what I might still have to discover about the man I had been with for eleven years.
We all grow over time so, of course, I was excited to get to probe my partner’s mind and I simultaneously let him know just why I found him so frustratingly irresistible.
#2 I Became A More Thoughtful Person
Deja vu but entirely necessary in this case, because, in addition to becoming more thoughtful towards my partner I also became more thoughtful in terms of giving myself a permissible space for introspective thought.
By asking things of Mr. Peaches I was inevitably considering my stance too. By thinking about what I had enjoyed of our last time together I was suddenly left considering how my day had gone.
All the things I would usually cast aside in the daily grind were suddenly given a space in my day and exploring them became a joy all its own.
And, of course, to let someone know you, you must first know yourself, so this act of self-reflection played an important aspect in the bonding part of the love letters too.
#3 I Reconnected With My Creative Side
For the first time in a long time I drew my dragon-y self-image for Mr Peaches to see (presenting him with hugs in the form of a haphazardly sketched doodle).
I also began to collage, collect little trinkets and tidbits throughout the day, and look at colourful postcards to add to the book.
I pulled out my scissors, purchased PVA glue and got to work rekindling my crafty and creative aspects. This felt like a romantic gesture and an act of self-love rolled in to one, and neither of us complained about that.
#4 I Strived For More Complements & Gestures Generally
Love letters are great but, to my mind, they’re kind of dulled if the only place that such sweet words manifest are in the written form.
Because of this I also pledged to make an active effort to show my love more in other ways.
I complemented Mr Peaches more, offered to lighten the load with household chores, and thought about at least one thing I could do to make him feel values every day.
These efforts, sadly, went unnoticed, and underappreciation and a perceptible loss of verbal and active romance outside of the daily book’s pages was one of the reasons that we eventually decided that the daily routine just wasn’t quite right for us.
Still, the intent was there and remains there, now with more time to put it in to practice, due to time reallocated from writing to physical time together, and I am so grateful to have been given the reminder.
#5 I Started Writing To Others Too (And It’s Going Well)
Smitten by the traditional act of letter writing, I found that I began writing much more to other people in my life too.
I started keeping in regular touch with my grandma; I gave the young boy who lives downstairs to us a belief in ‘the Garden Fairies’ who occasionally write to him and given him gardening tools and bird seeds to help him pursue his love of nature; and I began making sure that neighbours who had shared their kindness were given letters of appreciation that reminded them of just how awesome they are.
My conclusion from this increase in letter writing is thus:
People love letters. They’re a perceptible (and sometimes nicely designed) manifestation of someone else acknowledging them – either for a single act or for the person they are as a whole. When given from time-to-time they can have incredibly meaning, but it pays to space out your letter writing enthusiasm, less writer’s block and a perceived sense of insincerity seep in to things.
I highly recommend rekindling the letter writing tradition and have found it to be an incredibly positive part of my life. Just find your balance and roll with it. I’m sure you’ll soon find yourself with your own life lessons too.