One day, while cleaning out our closet, I found a shoe box tucked behind a bunch of clutter on my husband’s side. Curiosity bid me, and I pulled it down and sifted through the items. There were rusted railroad nails, an antique pocket watch attached to a chain, old baseball game stubs and numerous other creased, rusted, or slightly tarnished items. My heart was touched to see the softer side of my husband displayed in the saving of each item. I’m certain every stub and nail told a story, perhaps of the first game he attended alone or the watch given to him by his grandfather who has since passed. But what touched me most were the numerous slips of paper and cards I found buried beneath it all, my young, immature writing scrawled across them.
I had to giggle at my immaturity. I love you, heart, heart, dot the exclamation point with a large heart. Those letters had touched my husband deeply, so much so that he had saved them all these years. I paused, remembering the first written love letter he wrote me. He’s not much of a talker, and even less of a writer. My daughter and I often laugh at how sparse his words are. He’s notorious for the one word email. Or, the blank email, with everything I need to know written in the subject heading. It’s not that he’s uncaring, he’s just not a writer.
But on this day, he was Casanova with a pen. It was our first marriage retreat. We went to the retreat with scarred, yet healing hearts, and a bit of baggage. One of the first assignments we were given was to write a love letter to our spouses.
My husband and I found a quiet corner in a far back hotel hallway and set to writing what was in our hearts. We wouldn’t write about what was bothering us. It wasn’t time to resolve past hurts. It was time to love, and to tell each other what we cherished most about one another and our marriage.
Honestly, I was expecting a two, maybe three sentence letter: I love you. I’m glad I married you. Love Steve. From the corner of my eye, I watched my husband hunched over his paper, pen in hand. He wrote, and wrote and wrote. I write fast, so I finished and set mine aside. He continued to write. If only I had saved that first letter. I have no idea where it went, but it touched me so deeply, tears poured from my eyes as I read it.
There is nothing like reading, in a letter or card, how much someone loves you. I’m not sure why, but seeing it on paper deepens the sentiment somehow. Never underestimate the power of a written “I love you.” It has the power to heal, to soothe, to defuse and to unite.
(Proverbs 15:1, NIV) A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Sometimes we can get so caught up in the day to day, we forget to tell our spouses how much we love them. Often, we forget to think about our love for them. I’ve said before, if you dwell on the negative, you’ll find it every time. But, if you seek out the lovely, good and pure, you’ll find it’s been there all along.
Jennifer Slattery is a novelist, freelance writer, and biblical studies major at Calvary Bible College. In 2009 she won the HACWN writing contest in the book category, and was just recently acknowledged as the second place winner of the 2010 Dixie Kane writing contest in the inspirational category and placed fourth in the 2010 Golden Pen. She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, reviews for Novel Reviews and has written articles, devotions and devotional stories for numerous other publications. She is also the marketing representative for the literary website, Clash of the Titles.