Once upon a time, writing a heartfelt letter would have been the only means of expressing your true feelings to a loved one from afar. For the most part, we seem to have lost this tactile gesture to the mercy of technology. Valentine’s day, however, is one of the few traditions where putting pen to paper still prevails and encourages the sincere ritual of written ‘I love you’s.
Finding the right words to say isn’t always easy, so take inspiration from these great love letters.
Johnny Cash to June Carter, 1994
‘Happy Birthday Princess, we get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each other’s minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted. But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realise how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for me existence. I love you very much.’
Marilyn Monroe to Joe DiMaggio
I don’t know how to tell you just how much I miss you. I love you till my heart could burst. All I love, all I want, all I need is you—forever. I want to be just where you are and be just what you want me to be. I know it’s lousy of me to be so late so often, and I promise to try a million times harder, I promise. Love, Marilyn
Zelda Fitzgerald to F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1920
I look down the tracks and see you coming–and out of every haze & mist your darling rumpled trousers are hurrying to me–Without you, dearest dearest I couldn’t see or hear or feel or think–or live–I love you so and I’m never in all our lives going to let us be apart another night.
President Ronald Reagan to First Lady Nancy Reagan, 1983
Still this is the day, the day that marks 31 years of such happiness as comes to few men. I told you once that it was like an adolescent’s dream of what marriage should be like. That hasn’t changed.
Orson Welles to Rita Hayworth
I suppose most of us are lonely in this big world, but we must fall tremendously in love to find it out. The cure is the discovery of our need for company — I mean company in the very special sense we’ve come to understand since we happened to each other — you and I. The pleasures of human experience are emptied away without that companionship — now that I’ve known it; without it joy is just an unendurable as sorrow. You are my life — my very life.
Ernest Hemingway to Marlene Dietrich, 1951
‘I can’t say how every time I ever put my arms around you, I felt that I was home. Nor too many things. But we were always cheerful and jokers together.
You know I love the ranch but these last two days made it plain I only love it when you are there. Come to think of it that’s true of every place & every time. When you aren’t there I’m no place, just lost in time & space.
I more than love you, I’m not whole without you. You are life itself to me. When you are gone I’m waiting for you to return so I can start living again.
Prince Albert to Queen Victoria
Even in my dreams I never imagined that I should find so much love on earth. How that moment shines for me still when I was close to you, with your hand in mine. Those days flew by so quickly, but our separation will fly equally so.