(A repost from the archives, in honor of Valentine's Day)
A day after I started dating Brian, I received my first love letter. He has always had a way with words. It was long, beautiful, heartfelt and Christ-filled. This first letter was written to me as I napped beside him in a van full of noisy teenagers on the way back from a mission trip to the sticks of Tennessee. We were a young 17, but it was here we realized that we never wanted to part.
Throughout the 5 long years of dating, we wrote each other at least once a week (we lived 5 minutes apart from each other). They were long hand written notes; and love, hopes and dreams filled each page to the brim. Even though we'd surely see each other that night, we'd continue to lick postage stamps and send them on their way to the other side of town.
I guess we just couldn't believe how much our hearts and beings seemed to fit together so perfectly, how God has chosen for us such a wonderful match. We loved to write about it. And read about it. (We will often open the pages of those letters on an anniversary and smile as we remember those early feelings of young love and infatuation.)
When Brian asked me to marry him, along with my ring, he gave me two handmade boxes. Mail boxes. He made them with scraps of wood and hand picked sea glass. With a wood burning tool, he etched "Beloved Wife" and "Dear Husband" and our initials. It was a perfect summation of our early love and a wonderful symbol for acts of love to come. Promises were made to keep writing throughout our lives together.
* * *
The mailboxes now sit on our respective bedside tables. A mite dusty, but well-used. Beside them, a stack of paper and a pen.
There have been times in our marriage when life overwhelms us and these notes become more sparse. We quickly pass each other through the rooms in our house, busy with things we must do and things we must think about. But, a little "I love you" and a quick passing kiss in the hallway, just doesn't do for us.
We always come back. We come back to the paper and the pen. We sit long and carefully craft the words with which we can try to express our hearts. And we scratch those words of love and longing again and again.
Through these careful, slow, thought-out, unexpected, love notes, left secretly in dusty mailboxes, we are harkened back to early love. The words, the romance, the intentionality. But we are not only remembering "the good old days". We are slowly and consistently building up a love that is maturing and becoming sweeter and more strong every day. Written word by written word.
Why not try writing to someone you love this week? Whether it be your husband, friends, or kids, there aren't many things in life that are more cherished and meaningful than heart-felt words of love and encouragement. I have the boxes of letters to prove it!