by Martin Novell LMFT and Daina Hulet
Talking about everything from feelings and dreams to everyday banter -- is the foundation of a strong committed relationship. But, being all talk isn’t always enough to move a relationship along, or keep a marriage on the right track. There are times when putting your thoughts in writing, goes a long way to inspire, enhance and maintain that very special spark between two people in love. Writing can’t take the place of candid, sincere communication, but opening up on paper-- and display screens to text  and email-- can bring couples closer with clarity.

Here are the noteworthy benefits of corresponding for love, explained:
Break the ice (or melt it)
Some people are shy. Some may have been raised not to verbally express certain feelings. Other’s don’t think or speak well on their feet. Writing can be the answer. In writing, it’s easier to be vulnerable. There’s a feeling of safety when you can think and choose your words as you write from your heart. It puts less pressure on the other person who can absorb your thoughts and feelings privately and take time to respond.  

If, for instance, the object of your affections is oblivious to your desire to spend more time with them in the bedroom, writing a short note to get their attention lessons the risk of putting them on the spot and can soften your fears of embarrassment for both of you.

Writing a simple text to apologize to your partner can end a silly argument, or a more complicated written apology can be an effective way of opening the door to a difficult conversation. The words, “Is everything ok?” in a text or email, might help demystify an uncomfortable silence between you. You can clear the clutter in your head and sort out your concerns logically.

They're always on your mind-- and it shows!
Especially when a couple is separated by distance and different time zones, writing moves romance and intimacy forward–even when you are also in touch by phone or Skype. Being candid, flirty, or deeply transparent in writing can go a long way to intensify the emotions of the writer as well as the receiver. The act of writing itself instigates reflection and deep thought. It adds meaning to the passing of information that takes place when couples are apart and may help lesson loneliness when separations are long.

Writing keeps the conversation going
During the work week, simple words of encouragement, fondness and updates on what’s happening via chat, texts or email keeps you connected when there’s no time to talk. Information bites like “rough review” or “great meeting” are shortcuts to learning about each other’s day and serve as topics for conversation later, when you're together.

For couples who have fallen into a rut of silence, there are writing exercises that can lead to fresh and surprising conversation. Research shows that couples who keep a daily one line gratitude journal, which they exchange and read periodically, find it to be an intimate, insightful exercise that encourages happiness.

Writing has value added
Thoughts committed to writing, whether saved in a box, on a memory card or carried around on a cell phone, often become cherished keepsakes that can be accessed as memories, reassurance and often a good intimate laugh.

Couples in long term relationships who have lost their emotional spark, might benefit from pouring their hearts out in an old fashioned love letter.  For those who find writing difficult, copy a famous love letter or a selection of romantic quotes and send them along with a personal line or two, like “This is how I feel about you, but Shakespeare said it better.”  Pick out cards that really fit your feelings or remind you of the one you love, then personalize them with your own words of affection and appreciation. It’s the personalization, whether you write well or not, that makes all the difference!

This blog was excerpted from Love and Letters written for the August 2013 issue of CLU (California Lutheran University) Magazine.

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