The wedding day is drawing near. The invitations have been sent, the cake ordered, the rings purchased, the ceremony, reception and honeymoon have been planned. The bachelor party and wedding rehearsal are scheduled. What else is on the groom’s “to do” list?
What about the days following the wedding? After all of the investment in the wedding day, will the new husband and his bride weather the 50-50 chance of having a lasting and thriving marriage?
According to top psychologist Dr. John M. Gottmann, men are often emotionally deficient when it comes to expressing fondness and admiration to their spouses. Well, now may be an excellent time for grooms-to-be to intelligently plan the emotional success of their upcoming wedding.
Love letters. Are you and your fiancee exchanging them during your engagement? Personal love letters are one of the most revered ways that husbands and wives communicate. Drafting and writing a personal love letter takes energy, thought and time. As a matter of fact, the success of marriage preparation programs depends upon how willingly a couple shares their feelings, affectionate and otherwise, with each other.
Dr. Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, builds on the concept of making regular deposits in a bride’s emotional bank account. One of the exercises for building fondness and admiration is thinking of and writing down one’s positive feelings for the other person. Writing a personal love letter to your bride for your wedding day is a gift that will be treasured for years. Here are eight rules to follow.
Rule Number One: Make the Letter Positively Personal
Anything put into writing can be read, saved and reread. The first rule for a personal love letter is to make it personal and positive. Love letters carry a message of worth from a groom-to-be and new husband that affirms and cherishes his bride. So, it is critical to make a list of the positive things about bride wife that you want to assert. Avoid any critical, ambivalent remarks. Let them go and focus on what you cherish about your new bride.
Rule Number Two: It’s About Her
A personal love letter is a direct communication to and with your fiancee. Use the word “you” early and often. Share your feelings. My parents have been married for more than 55 years. On my mom’s 80th birthday, our family gave personal testimonies that we taped and made into a DVD. My dad stood up and used the song, “You Mean All the World to Me.” He choked up with emotion in front of us all and it was so powerful to witness the love he had for his wife.
As a groom-to-be, you don’t have to wait 55 years to make that happen. (My dad didn’t!) Start now. Make your bride-to-be feel special on your wedding day and many days afterwards.
Rule Number Three: Start with a Special Endearment
If you have a special name for your fiancee, use it. Write a personal greeting, like
– My most beautiful ______________ (your bride’s name)
– Dear wonder of my life
– You’re the best thing that happened to me
Rule Number Four: Make it Specific and Meaningful
With a little practice, writing a personal love letter becomes a great habit! Make sure that the words you write express things that are specific and meaningful to your upcoming wedding, yourself and your bride.
For example, you may write a personal love letter that includes how you felt when you first met, what events in your engagement have meant a lot to you, things that you admire and appreciate about your fiancee, special thanks for favors done, or for any reason that you can find. (Remember, the more reasons, the more letters!)
Rule Number Five: End with Love
Don’t just write, “well, that’s about it.” Get creatively romantic. Use something that sums up your feelings and lets your bride-to-be know that you continue to love her. Use endings like: Forever Yours, All my love, With love forever, I am so happy you are in my life, You mean the world to me. Then, sign your name.
Rule Number Six: Make It Pretty
A bride-to-be loves getting a special gift and the packaging is often as important as what is inside. In other words, don’t write your personal love letter on the back of a paper bag. Make it pretty. Use special stationery (you can visit a scrapbook store and buy just one sheet for less than 50 cents.) Or write your letter in a romantic greeting card.
Use your own handwriting, too. A card typed on a computer seems artificial and mechanicals. Decorate your letter with a personal drawing like hearts or XOXO (shorthand for hugs and kisses), or use stickers. Use her favorite color envelope.
Rule Number Seven: Special Delivery
Make sure your personal love letter gets your fiancee’s attention. Use surprise. Mail your letter in a special envelope, like Priority Mail or through Special Delivery. Put the letter on the front seat of her car, on her dinner plate or tie a balloon to it when you pick her up for a date.
Rule Number Eight: Turn Your Wedding Letter into a New Habit
Trust and ongoing commitment rank high with every woman. Write another personal love letter when you go out of town or mail one to arrive on Monday after a long day at work. Your engagement and marriage will grow with love beyond your imagination as you regularly write a personal love letter to your fiancee.
With a little consistent effort, grooms-to-be can write personal love letters that create a hope-filled atmosphere, and enjoy a thriving and happy marriage that goes well past the wedding day.