A Resolution for Romance: The 52 Loves Notes Challenge

by A Manly Guest Contributor on January 3, 2012 · 141 comments

in Dating, Marriage, Relationships & Family

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Joshua Gordon.

One of the marks of being a great man is the ability to love the same woman for over 50 years. That’s manly–hands down. It’s something that the airbrushed elite of our day can’t seem to figure out. It’s something that many in my generation have completely given up on. It’s something I’ve committed to, and in the spirit of Art of Manliness tradition, I look to great men of the past for inspiration.

As I flip through the dusty pages of history, I see some common themes. Men with long-lasting marriages (Winston Churchill, George Washington, George H. Bush, Ronald Reagan, etc…) tended to write love letters to their wives–with consistency. They cultivated an ability to express their feelings in writing.

And some of those men were quite accomplished letter writers; try this on for size:

My Darling Wife

This note is to warn you of a diabolical plot entered into by some of our so called friends — (ha!) calendar makers and even our own children. These and others would have you believe we’ve been married 20 years.

20 minutes maybe — but never 20 years. In the first place it is a known fact that a human cannot sustain the high level of happiness I feel for more than a few minutes — and my happiness keeps increasing.

I will confess to one puzzlement but I’m sure it is just some trick perpetrated by our friends — (Ha again!) I can’t remember ever being without you and I know I was born more than 20 mins ago.

Oh well — that isn’t important. The important thing is I don’t want to be without you for the next 20 years, or 40, or however many there are. I’ve gotten very used to being happy and I love you very much indeed.

Your Husband of 20 something or other.

The author? Ronald Reagan–a man who, over more than 50 years of marriage, penned hundreds of love notes to his wife.

Now if writing love letters could keep the marriages of the great men of history going–they who experienced the acute stresses and temptations that come along with positions of power–imagine what consistent love note writing might do for us regular joes! And last year, that’s what I set out to discover.

The Challenge

The instant communication tools of today have nearly obliterated the love letter, which is a crying shame. Don’t get me wrong, I really love the tech wonders of our day.  Email? I love it–so useful. Texting? Same deal. Twitter? Addictive as all get out. These are all fantastic tools for communicating with co-workers, making plans with friends–even asking for the grocery list.

At the end of the day, though, a well-written love letter communicates deep affection in a way that a bazillion texts, emails, and tweets never can.

In my own life, it was easy to see how my obsession with “instant” had steadily eroded the inclination to put extra thought and time into carefully written love letters to my wife. So last year I decided to change that. In January of 2011, I pledged to write one love note to my wife for every week of the year. That’s 52 of ‘em.

I knew going into it that it would be a real challenge for me. Mainly, I didn’t trust my ability to write one love note per week. I was sure I’d forget and miss weeks, and thus blow the challenge.

My solution was to write the notes in bursts. Sitting down for an evening, I would compose between 5 and 10 notes, and then distribute them over the course of the following weeks. This kept me on track, and as 2011 came to a close, I could look back over the year and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing I had delivered all 52 loves notes to my wife.

The challenge turned out to be something both my wife and I truly enjoyed. I had a blast hiding them in places I knew Sarah would find them. (Hint: The fridge is an awesome place. As is the bathroom counter. As is her pillow.) I loved watching Sarah find and read the notes. And she told me how special, cherished, and treasured she felt when she read the letters. I sometimes catch her re-reading old love notes and smiling to herself–and man! That makes me feel SO good.

Over the course of the year our relationship took on a new energy, a lightness. All in all, the 52 Love Notes Challenge was an unequivocal success.

Love Note Writing Tips and Examples

Love note from Johnny Cash to his wife June. From House of Cash.

Over the course of 2011, I began picking up on some things that helped me in the love note writing process. AoM has some really great posts about how to write swoon-worthy love letters (see here and here), so I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but here are some guidelines I used for myself:

  1. Be thoughtful when you write.
  2. Be inventive in how you say “I love you.”
  3. Point out the little things you like about your wife.
  4. Use poetry for inspiration.

The hardest part is really getting started; I found that writing the notes became easier and easier as the year wore on and I got more practiced. If you need some help in getting your romantic thoughts going, Sarah handpicked her 10 favorite notes for you to check out. Feel free to modify them for your own use (someone else’s words can be a great starting point when you feel stuck):

Dearest Lover and Friend,
As I look back and reflect on this year, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the impact you’ve had on me. You challenge me to be my best. Christmas is about recognizing the gifts in our lives, and when I contemplate the gift of you, I am awed.
With all my love
– Josh
Dearest Sarah,
Weʼve been through a lot — and weʼll encounter tougher times, too, of that Iʼm sure. When I try to imagine the difficult moments that lie ahead of us, Iʼm not afraid. My head tells me I should worry, but I donʼt. Itʼs because of you. You see, I know you, and I know that if we are walking through together weʼll be alright.
You are my safe place.
– Josh
To my wife and partner in crime.
The other day, I wanted to do something I thought would be adventurous. It was probably something sort of silly and insanely impractical — like selling our car and driving bikes everywhere, or relocating to Taiwan, or getting a massive tattoo. Any other person wouldnʼt have even let me finish my sentence. But you, you listened to me. You let me share my silly and insanely impractical dream. You let me be me — and that is one of the reasons I love you so much.
I canʼt believe how awesome you are.
– Josh
One of the things I like about you so much is that you really care about stuff. You engage with your world. You really want to make things better. So many people arenʼt like you.
You drive me to be a better man.
– Josh
Dear Sarah,
You do strange things to me. Sometimes, in the quiet, I feel strangely overwhelmed with how little of you I know. Yes, weʼve been married for years, and Iʼve delighted in learning you, but itʼs amazing how deep you are. Thereʼs always something incredible inside of you.
– Josh
I think back to our wedding day; most of it is blurry and surreal, but I do remember one thing with utter clarity. I remember hearing you say “I do.” I can see your lips pronounce the words, I can hear your voice settling in my ear, and I can definitely remember the surge of emotion that flooded me (which I handled in an extremely manly fashion).
No two words have ever meant so much to me.
– Josh
Dear Sarah.
I love every bit of you. I love your mismatched socks. I love your mischievous grin. I love your quirky affection for goats. I love your fondness for coffee. I love your taste in fashion. I love your ability to really listen. I love your hospitality. I love your quietness. I love your laugh. I love your everything.
– Josh
Dear Sarah,
No matter how many times I tell you “I love you,” it never feels to be enough. I feel as though the deep affection and absolute commitment I have for you is far too great to be expressed through anything but a lifetime of saying “I love you.”
Thatʼs good, because a lifetime is what I have for you!
– Josh
Dear Sarah,
You have challenged so many of my preconceptions about life. Youʼve changed the way I understand compassion. Youʼve helped me to stop listening to myself talk and start really hearing what other people are saying. Youʼve realigned my priorities and reshaped my outlook on life.
Hands down, youʼve made me much awesomer.
– Josh
Dear Sarah,
As I experience you, I want more of you. The more of you I get, the harder it is to imagine life without you. Without realizing it, Iʼve built my world around your beauty and intelligence and spirit, and it looks amazing.
You are the cornerstone of my life, Sarah, and I am deeply in love with you.
– Josh

To read through all of the 52 love notes I wrote this year, check out: http://www.thenonconformistfamily.com/aom

Take the 52 Love Note Challenge in 2012!

So, gentlemen, there you have it. This year, I challenge you to make written love notes part of your romancing arsenal. Be the most romantic guy in your partner’s life. Express your love to her in a way that is deeply, meaningfully real. And enjoy a happier and stronger relationship with your main squeeze and partner in crime in 2012.


Joshua Gordon writes about living an awesome life at TheNonConformistFamily.com. Together with his wife Sarah, he’s leading his sweet fam as far from boring, template living as he can.

{ 141 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ken January 3, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I accept your challenge, good sir!

2 Brian January 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I too accept your challenge. Thanks for being an inspiration and a real man in a world of pansies.

3 Stef January 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm

My husband sent me a “happy Thursday” letter for the past 8 months while he was away. It was Probably the one thing that kept me smiling and always made me feel loved and secure. He has continued to keep the letters up. I think it has made a difference in our marriage.

4 cody loyd January 3, 2012 at 6:43 pm

i’m doing it.

5 Justin Lukasavige January 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm

You’ve always been a great influence on me, Josh. Thanks for setting the bar high again.

6 Claudia Good January 3, 2012 at 7:12 pm

This is a sweet challenge! Maybe I’ll just strategically leave it up on the computer and my hubby will take note ;)

7 Mikey McD January 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm

One of the toughest challenges to a 50+ year marriage is monotony. A letter each week is monotonous. I would suggest an inconsistent barrage of letters, gifts, comments. What to do after 52 weeks? Unless you promise/commit to a letter every week for the rest of your lives together whenever you choose to stop you are a dead man.

8 Kevin January 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm

This is another awesome post. I think romance is another aspect of manliness that we’ve lost. Let’s also remember that notes can be printed out (for those of us with terrible handwriting).

9 Anonymous age 69 January 3, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Claudia, I am reminded of the time many years ago when a fellow worker said her husband never gave her flowers. I asked her if she had ever given him flowers. Of course not.

Well, my wife gave me flowers once, sent them to work so all the women made a big fuss over them.

Then, I knew why getting flowers was such a big deal for women, so I sent them on appropriate occasions.

Must I spell this out?

10 Mark January 3, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I’m in!

11 Beren January 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I’ve been writing to my bride for the last four years…I have accumulated over 200 letters.

The twist? I haven’t even met her yet.

Yeah, you can find some of them if you click on my name. You can borrow a few ideas from them if you want. Heaven knows I’m not using them right now.

12 Jay January 3, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Is e-mail really such a no-no for love letters? I’ll admit that I’m a young guy (25) but I wonder if, BETWEEN young people, e-mail love letters could be just as heartfelt and effective. After all – we’ve grown up with this. Speaking personally, I love going through my old emails once in a while and seeing messages my friends, family, and yes, girlfriends have sent. Plus, lots of people don’t delete any of their emails anymore, so it has a similar sense of permanence to paper letters.

Then again, maybe I just need to stick to the proven path of the past.

13 Douglas January 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I learned this from my Grandfather. He was married for over fifty years. I can only dream to have the same success in my own life with my one true love.

14 Dan Smithbe January 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm

As a Sailor, I can tell you without a doubt how wonderful it is to receive an email from my wife while I’m deployed. But…oh…you have no idea how much a letter or card means. Something about handwriting my friend. If you’re doing the challenge, do it the old fashioned way. You’ll never be the same.

I’m in.

15 Gregory January 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm

My wife and I have matching boxes of the notes we’ve written to each other throughout our relationship. We’re newlyweds, and this article is true for us: written notes are relationship-growing material. I look forward to continuing to fill her note box.

16 mark January 3, 2012 at 8:07 pm

good sir… I happy accept the challenge

17 Tell January 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm

It sounds great and though I am not yet married, I will file this one away to pick up when I am. Remember, a fountain pen is a great way to keep your letters legible and more of a pleasure to read and write.

18 Russell Riney January 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm

As my anniversary is this week it is a good time to start.
I accept

19 Travis January 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm

This is exactly the type of challenge I need.

Game On!

20 zeus January 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm

I wrote a few love letters to my lovely woman before too and she loved it. Great advice.

21 Ryan M January 3, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I belive id like to do something of this sort. I already write poems about the girl I like so now I can share a line or 2 at a time…I will do 1 a Mo.

22 DeanO January 3, 2012 at 9:09 pm

What a great idea. I enjoyed reading the letters from well known characters.

23 Chris P. January 3, 2012 at 9:13 pm

This is one of those, “I wish I thought of that!” moments. I’m going to try it.

24 Scott January 3, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I love this challenge. Despite the naysayers it is a lot more than just being all lovey-dovey, it is about communicating.

Last month my wife placed a note in my briefcase. I gave it to her after our first month of dating … July 2000.

I’d highly recommend purchasing some quality stationery so that they’ll last when she want to show the great-grandchildren. The note I gave my wife was in sad shape since it was simply torn out of a notebook (and probably read over a hundred times)

Finally, nothing says you can’t still drop her an email in addition to the letter. It might not be around in 50 years but if there were a disaster it would be nice to have some stuff stored in Gmail

25 Hans January 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm

The real challenge is to see how few women laugh and joke to their friends about the beta chump that likes to write about his feelings.

26 Derek Olsen January 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm

My Dearest Josh-
Great post, per usual. You and yours are an inspiration. Keep up the good work over at TheNonConformistFamily.com
-Love, Derek
(practicing, here)

27 Douglas January 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Interesting challenge. I would do it…if I were married or had a girlfriend. It’s good to keep in mind for the future though.

28 Andrew January 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm

That is fantastic! I just started dating 2 months ago and one of the things we started was writing old-fashioned letters to each other. It’s a great way of giving yourself some time to focus on what you want to say. I don’t know yet if she is the one I’ll marry, but we are on the right track. =)
I really like the idea of using a fountain pen, I’m going to have to get me one of those. =)

29 Hunter January 3, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Great idea!! I’m in!

30 Adam January 3, 2012 at 11:03 pm

my Fiance and I just got engaged but are 2500 miles away. I think I’ll write one each day until we’re together again. Thank you for the idea.


31 Lauren January 3, 2012 at 11:05 pm

As a wife who had a deployed husband and who has written a handful of letters to me in the years that have followed his return from Iraq. HANDWRITTEN letters mean the world to a girl. They truly are a thing only a real man does. A real man does care about his wife and family over himself (and how he might be percieved he show off his inner feelings) No one is asking you to post them online for the world to see but to share yourself on a deeper level with your wife. To show her you do still love her, that you think of her, and are willing to sit down during a busy day and take moment that’s just for her. (AND WOMEN, you can do this for your man too!) I am so thrilled to see so many step up to take this challenge, even if you only write one letter, trust me it will make an impact. I hope you all fulfill the 52 notes this year and see amazing results in your marriages!

32 Alexandre January 3, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Apparently you post an article and make a few dozen women happy as a result. Respect.

33 Kyle F. January 3, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, and Johnny Cash were beta chumps! Who knew?

Seriously, Game tards are always good for a laugh.

34 Alexandre January 3, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Josh, sorry I ment Josh.

35 Joshua Gordon January 3, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I’m SO buying awesome stationery, Scott. That and improving my handwriting… 2011′s challenge was pretty darn successful for me; I kinda want to kick it up a notch for 2012!

Thanks for all the wicked engagement on this post, btw!

36 Dulst January 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Reagan, Churchill and Cash made up for it by being awesome at life – ie Alpha.

Also Churchill was quite the womanizer, but that’s beside the point.

Things like writing love notes work for high status men because they have exceeded themselves in other areas of life, this is the same reason why Rock Stars that sing soppy love ballads have armies of groupies.

For your average man a love note won’t do shit, unless you landed a really traditional partner who unconditionally respects you.

This is probably not the case.

And assuming it isn’t, supplicating love notes will only diminish her respect for you.

Pedastalising women is not manly.

37 Sarah Gordon January 4, 2012 at 12:06 am

Props to all the Men out there taking my Man up on his challenge. Real men have feelings. It will only be a good experience for you and the one you love.
For all you women out there, it works both ways. Men like love notes too.
And Dulst, everyone deserves respect, but my respect for Josh grows with every love letter.

38 Joshua Gordon January 4, 2012 at 12:14 am

It’s true, Dulst. Pedastalising women is NOT manly in the least. Working at your marriage or relationship for 50+ years? That’s something else entirely, an aspect of manhood that’s losing ground in our culture. Great marriages take a combination of guts, perseverance, and sheer dedication, and great marriages go through some intense hills and valleys. But the root of every successful relationship lies respect born out of shared, unwavering commitment to one another. Writing love letters consistently fortifies that core, it strengthens the base.

Every man wants to be great; what’s more, every man has the potential to be great. That’s why a site like ArtofManliness.com can be successful. Alpha status isn’t measured by public recognition, by accolades, or by awards. It’s measured by the character in our hearts. We can all be Alpha, and anyone who implies differently… well, they’re full of shit.

- Josh

39 Jeff January 4, 2012 at 12:22 am

I’m in. Here’s my first:
You asked me why I love you.
I could tell you that you are the finest person I know, and it would be a good reason.
Yet, even when you are not your very best self, I love you no less.
I could tell you that you are beautiful, and it would sound sweet.
Yet, I have seen you at your worst, early morning moments; your hair defying gravity and making no sense of itself.
And I love you no less.
I could say that I was drawn to your kindness, your patience or your compassion.
Yet I have seen you angry, at me and at others and lose all of these.
And I love you no less.

So it seems to me that my love defies reason.
One might as easily ask;
Why do stars love the night,
or flowers, the sun?
They were made that way.
And so was I made; for loving you.
It is as simple and pure as that.
I need no reason, though I have many.
My love for you does not depend upon how you fulfill expectation,
For I have none.
I love you as you are, for the anger and the joy.
For your moments of beauty and your moments of disarray.
I love you, because I must. Because I choose to allow myself to.
Because the stars shine in the night, and because you are you.

40 JP Williams January 4, 2012 at 12:48 am


Another good one for the books: 12 days of Christmas.

My new girlfriend and I were apart this last Christmas. I wanted to help keep the spirit alive despite being away for two weeks, so I wrote her a nice poem every day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. (Actually, it was every day for the 12 days leading up to the day we exchanged presents, the 29th. This added a nice personal spin to it.)

The 12th day was Christmas day itself, and I wrote the poems to reflect the gifts she received, ending in one big heart metaphor to introduce her heart necklace.

@Jay re: Emails … I sent the above through email. I think it was fine, and she really appreciated it. However, I definitely missed an opportunity to do even better. So I don’t think it’s bad, but handwritten is better. (Unless you have handwriting like me.)

41 Amie January 4, 2012 at 1:20 am

Any woman who would mock her husband behind his back (“laugh and joke to their friends about the beta chump”) doesn’t deserve her husband.

I honestly can’t think of even one of my girlfriends who wouldn’t be honored to know her husband took a moment to write a note. This would be something they’d (I’d) brag about. This is the type of thing other women would be jealous over. This is the sort of action that garners comments like, “Does he have a brother?” or, “Can you have him call my husband?”

I don’t know what sort of crowd you’re used to, Dulst, but I pray you find higher caliber women before you marry one.

42 Mark January 4, 2012 at 1:44 am

I’m in!
i think alot of men don’t tell or show their partners [straight or gay] how they really feel about them until they feel unappreciated, at which point it’s often too late.While for alot of men it may not seem a manly thing to do and don’t show alot of affection[ i'm guilty of this] To write lasting tributes to my partner about how much he/she meant to me to be recounted and reread long after i’m dead and buried is probably one of the manliest things you could ever do. To have it in writing and recalled that they were truly loved.

43 Pierre January 4, 2012 at 2:19 am

Challenge accepted!

It’s my wife’s birthday tomorrow, so it’s the perfect opportunity to start. Thank you for this – I needed this too.

44 Alex January 4, 2012 at 2:51 am

Thanks for the inspiring challenge and the brainstorming notes to read. I feel like this is just what my relationship could use, sign me up!

45 Bex January 4, 2012 at 4:59 am

My parents were married for thirty plus years before my Dad passed away suddenly from a stroke on Christmas Eve. His hand written love notes are an absolute treasure to my mom and to all of us kids. It’s a very personal reminder of the love he had for my mom and even though he’s gone, because of his handwritten notes we still feel him close when we hold and read them. Hand written love notes, it’s the way to go.

46 Darren January 4, 2012 at 6:12 am

I accept half the challenge. 26 notes. I know myself too well. :-)

I have a dozen letters my wife has hand-written to me over the past 28 years. They are laminated and in a binder.

I wrote her a few sonnets a few years ago, They’re really hard to write, but that made it more fun. One of them was NSFW. She laminated them and they live at the bottom of her underwear drawer. If we die in a car accident together, our kids will get an eyeful. :-)

47 Darren January 4, 2012 at 6:14 am

P.S. Bex, sorry about your Dad.

48 Joe Young January 4, 2012 at 7:41 am

This post is a response to Alpha, who seems to have had his post removed – Perhaps it was because he linked to his own blog?

Anyway, what Alpha was saying was that these types of letters can backfire. After I read Brett’s other blog entry about this a while ago(about long distance relationships and how to make them work), I tried it, and it ended up being partially a reason for a breakup I’m going through now.

The thing that I have misunderstood with my girl was that, telling how much I care about her… It probably sent the wrong message. Instead of appreciating my honesty, she probably saw it as needy and clingy. I told her everything in those letters, the good, the bad, the doubts, the hopes, the fears – I thought that wouldn’t be a problem after 8 months of being together, but she didn’t see it that way.

I think I truly became less interesting in her eyes. Maybe her behavior will change once she turns 30-35 when/if she wants to settle down, but as a 22 year old she probably thought it was cute for a letter and then it was just demoralizing my own status as a strong man.

It’s not the letters fall in it’s entirety but in my experience they were not the solution to save or improve an relationship.

I’m only 24, but everything in my dating experience with women has been that men are more visual and they get more satisfied from being with someone who they appreciate (looks, personality) but that they don’t tend to care about their job status/friends/interest/income/whatever, were women need their man to be interesting/mysterious and a host of other things. Perhaps they are more driven by psychology?

I think from now on, I unfortunately, will not be able to be open. If I was in a womans place and got a letter from my love about her fears and all the scary shit that make her doubt herself – It wouldn’t affect me at all. shes a nice person, shes attractive, I like hanging out with her. That’s all I ever would want from her.

Sorry if that was long winded.

- Joe

49 amanda January 4, 2012 at 7:42 am

sigh. this is so wonderful. thank you for writing this. we had love letters read at our wedding- nathanial hawthorne and zelda fitzgerald- havent had one since then, eight years ago. my husband is not demonstrative. at all. rarely even says, “i love you,”. i guess i assume he does since he sticks around and helps with the kids but romantic love? whats that?

i did receive a great love letter once a very long time ago; 20 years. i still have it. ill always have it. women who are loved like this are very, very lucky.

50 Matt January 4, 2012 at 8:26 am


You’re better off without her. Look for a woman (not a girl, your ex was an immature little girl) who’s ready for a serious relationship.


51 Christopher January 4, 2012 at 8:59 am

Challenge accepted!

52 PJ January 4, 2012 at 9:11 am

A few years ago, after our 16th anniversary, I started a daily journal where I penned a note to my wife every day for a year. Each day started “I love you today.” I wrote to her about the good, the bad, what was bothering me that day, what I liked and disliked, little things she did that made me happy, and a whole host of other things. A few more notebooks later, I gave the set to her as an anniversary present the next year.

One of the best things I ever did for both of us.

53 Seth January 4, 2012 at 9:16 am

Throughout our relationship, my fiance (for just 5 more months, then I can finally call her my wife!) has showered me with compliments and told me she loved me in hundreds of ways. I’ve tried to keep up, but I fall flat every time; just not as creative on the fly like her, and more notably I have a harder time expressing my feelings out loud.

Which is why I loved this post. It’s inspired me let her know her how I feel in my own way rather than trying to keep up with her way. When we first dated we would text a lot, which I found easier for being romantically expressive, and she loved them. Now that we’ve lived together over a year, the need to text went down and we see each other everyday. I think it’s time to get back to those love notes, this time handwritten and physical. Thanks, Josh!

54 Tim January 4, 2012 at 9:30 am

My wife and I have been married for over 28 years. Although we started out as high school sweethearts, she moved away and we ended up writing love letters for nearly four years before we got married. Throughout our married life, those letters have continued. Someday our five children will sort through those boxes of cards and letters and…ahh….well…maybe they won’t. No. That ain’t happ’nin’.

55 Brian S. January 4, 2012 at 9:48 am

Love the idea. I’ve already started.

I wrote my first one today for her birthday and hope to keep going for the whole 52 weeks.

Thanks for the post!

56 Troy January 4, 2012 at 9:57 am

I recently launched a very similar effort myself… to my wife. In response to some troubling times in our relationship, I bought a few sets of mini-note cards from Target and left her one note per day for all 31 days of December. Just as you noted, hiding them for her to find – in pillows, medicine cabinets, and lunch boxes – was one of the most fun parts. Even if the note was very, very short, she seemed to enjoy them. It shows that you’re thinking of her, even in small ways.
Longer letters though… tougher, but I’ll give it some consideration.

57 Owen Marcus January 4, 2012 at 10:08 am

A simple note can be powerful.

58 Skip January 4, 2012 at 10:14 am

Challenge Accepted!

I normally try to write love letters to the Mrs. when I’m deployed, but since I’ve been home as of late I don’t think I’ve actually written one in over a year.

59 Kaleb January 4, 2012 at 10:39 am

This looks like a challenge to to do, but I don’t have anyone to write them to. I’ll store this in my brain for the future though.

(Love the site)

60 Douglas Aldrich January 4, 2012 at 10:41 am

Just by coincidence, I happened to be reading the article about the 14 ways to affair proof your marriage, so when I saw Sarah, I was flabbergasted! hahaha

Seriously, this website is awesome. I have thought about doing this before, and I never did, but now I am totally in. I won’t be able to hide the letters in different places, seeing as how me and my girlfriend are in colleges great distances away, but I will totally do this. This is a great idea,

Thanks for everything Brett, Kate, and everyone else on here. This site is outstanding.

I just bought both books the other day. Good stuff that I plan on passing on to other people!

61 David W January 4, 2012 at 11:01 am

This is precisely what being a man is all about. Great piece. Now, I too accept this challenge! :)

62 Melissa January 4, 2012 at 11:12 am

I’m in! I wrote a note to my husband last night and left it on his desk and he found it this morning. His smile. His surprise! His happiness. His thank you kiss. All of that made this worth it. Thank you for the lovely idea.

63 scott January 4, 2012 at 11:26 am

HA!…I actually started this very thing this last week. Not only have I challenged myself to write my wife at least one love note a week…I have also challenged myself to write my kids one note of encouragement a week.

64 Mark Baker January 4, 2012 at 11:33 am

challenged accepted good man, in fact i wrote the first one before reading this article, in the form of a sonnet, in fact

65 Doug January 4, 2012 at 11:41 am

I accept this challenge! Thank you for the inspiration.

66 Frank January 4, 2012 at 11:51 am

My fiancee and I have been doing this for the past 4 years, except we put a twist on it.

What both of us did was go out and buy some nice stationary and a slightly expensive fountain pens, so the letter writing is more of an event. We both write to each other. What the twist is, is that the letters are never discussed ever between us. Anything that is brought up in the letters is addressed in the other’s response when they write back!

It tends to keep things both fun and interesting. We never even tell each other we got the letters just to keep the worlds separate. I should add that we actually mail them to each other.

So this way, it’s like we’re carrying on two different relationships with each other. One everyday relationship, and one more reminiscent of a “great romance”.

Both of us have had a lot of fun with it and it has gone a long way to keeping things interesting.


67 Brandon January 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Is writing love notes bad advice or good advice? Manly or not unmanly?

Neither. It’s a neutral thing and whether it helps or hurts your relationship depends entirely on you and your partner.

If you see you and your woman as equal, best friends, if you need and love her as much as she needs you, the love notes will be a great thing. Her respect for you will grow.

If your woman doesn’t love you, the love notes will not change that and may make you seem weak and desperate and even less attractive.

That’s it. It’s not complicated. If love note writing didn’t work for you, the problem is not love letter writing, it’s you, or your woman, or your relationship.

I’m a Marine whose been on two deployments to Iraq, and I wrote my gf love letters (and emails) both times. It made our relationship very strong and now we’re engaged. It worked because she’s an awesome girl, and I’m…well it isn’t manly to call yourself manly, but I’m manlier than some guy who trolls the internet calling other dudes he hasn’t met beta….

68 Brent Pittman January 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Joshua, another great challenge for 2012! Thanks for helping us to be better men and parents.

69 George January 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm

A quick question; did you explain what you were doing at the start or let her catch on? Awesome idea and I accept your challenge. Girlfriend is currently in America for 3 months so will be a small fortune in postage but worth every penny knowing the look on her face when she recieves them all.

70 Mary Lou January 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm

My husband passed away unexpectedly last year after 52 years of marriage. He was self-conscious about his handwriting and never wrote me letters or notes except sometimes on birthday and anniversary cards. I kept some of them and I treasure anything I find in his handwriting. So I would suggest to those wanting to send emails or text to also send something in your handwriting.

I also like to read letters my dad wrote to mom during WWII when he was in the navy that she kept and re-read over the years.

71 Joshua Gordon January 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Great question, George.

I didn’t tell Sarah at first, but after a month or two, she began to see what was going on. At that point, once she’d discovered my plan, her anticipation for each letter really heightened the joy we both experienced.

Does that make sense?

72 George January 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Hi Josh,

Thanks for the reply! Makes perfect sense to me!

Currently thinking of ways to personalise/individualize each letter to separate it from the last, seeing as I won’t be able to surprise her with hiding them etc due to the first 12 arriving via mail. If only I could draw… I’m what they call ‘artisically challenged!’

73 Daniel January 4, 2012 at 1:11 pm

This is a great idea! My wife is currently pregnant and isn’t always feeling so hot. This will be a great way to just let here know how special she is to me. Thanks Josh!

74 Jimmy January 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I’ll see your challenge and raise you…a PROPOSAL! I’ve decided to write a series of 14 letters to my girlfriend with the last one simply being “Look into my eyes…” at which point I’ll pop the question.

Thanks for such a creative idea!

75 Jason V. January 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Wow, Josh!
You’re more Awesome than I already knew! Great guest post!

76 P January 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I just started reading How to Win Friends and Influence People after Christmas. I had read the chapter where it talks about baiting the hook to suit the fish before going to bed. The following morning while I was shaving I thought about 2012 and my 12 years of marriage and decided to get my wife 12 roses and of course it would call for a letter to my wife. I planned on giving it to her the first week of 2012. Then this is posted on the site so I guess that means it was meant for me. I’m in since I already have the first note written ans sealed; the next 51 should be a piece of cake.

77 Dave M January 4, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Outstanding post, and challenge accepted. I’m heading out to get stationary and a decent pen today.

I recently read some letters that my Grandfather wrote to my Grandmother during WWII while he was in the Pacific. They have both passed away, but it was really great seeing in his own hand how much he loved her.

78 Steve January 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Okay. I’ll give it a shot! I don’t know that I’ve ever written a decent love note, but you have inspired me. Damn… should have saved that last line for a love note! Well, I’ll think of something else!

79 Michael January 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm

As a teenager I used to write love letters to girls I liked and girls I was dating. For some reason, as I got older, I stopped. I’m not really sure why as I enjoyed writing them just as much as the girls on the receiving end loved reading them. This is a perfect way for me to get back into the habbit of letting the woman I love how much I care and appreciate her. And boy do I have a way with words. She’s going to love this.

80 Brad January 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I tried this last year while studying abroad in England, but I didn’t do as well as I hoped. Even though postage was pretty expensive and I’m not too great with words, I really regret my inconsistency, because my girlfriend really cherished the few letters I did send.

This post inspired me to re-attempt love letters. I don’t have many excuses anymore, seeing as how I’m back home. I am definitely going to try the whole hiding-the-letter technique.

Thank you for this post Mr. Gordon.

81 Josh January 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I thought I set myself plenty of goals for 2012; looks like I’m squeezing in another one. Awesome idea.

82 Claudia Good January 4, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Agreed – love notes aren’t special only coming from the husbands…it goes both ways! Hey, that’s what marriage is about…But what a special memory for Sarah, Josh :) Well done!

83 Antonio January 5, 2012 at 12:07 am

Challenge accepted. Love letters at 52 paces.

84 pineapple January 5, 2012 at 3:32 am

For those who think they have less than desirable handwriting: You don’t have to settle on your penmanship. You can change it. …granted, I only improved my chicken-scratch handwriting after my time in the police academy. (after filling a 3-inch binder full with handwritten papers in block letters.) Penmanship is a perishable skill set, you loose it unless you use it.
We should all heed @Mary Lou’s advice.

85 Zachariah January 5, 2012 at 4:57 am

Most excellent. I loved writing notes for my girlfriend when I had one. I look forward to being married one day and having a women with which to do this.

86 BenL January 5, 2012 at 9:12 am

Excellent idea and a great time for it. First one was taken well…just got a call here at work as she found it on her pillow as she just got back from her night-shift at the hospital. Thanks Joshua!

87 Jerod Q January 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I’m doing it. I just finished note number one. Thanks for the motivation. The Johnny Cash example was a great addition as well.

88 Jeanette Ruiz January 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Joshua you are incredible. Sarah is the luckiest woman alive because you actually see her and who she is. That is the fabric of a beautiful relationship, which I am sure will continue to be woven for many years to come. Thank you for sharing this and giving me hope for the men of our generation! You made my eyes water in the best kind of way!

89 CO January 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Jay (0736) – I’m with you, e-mail/text etc are perfectly valid. A big part of why I fell in love with my wife was her sense of humour and we still send each other silly/loving e-mails etc every day, even when we have nothing much to say.

Also SMS – as part of her birthday present this year I made a book out of all the messages we’d sent each other for the last 12 months – they were really sweet and told a great story of that period in our lives together. Add in some photos and it created a brilliant time capsule.

Meaning is greater than method here – its the thought that counts after all.

Great post though.

90 Dave Turner January 5, 2012 at 7:04 pm

This is a great idea that every husband and boy friend should start with and then expand on them to continue to love their wives. For Fathers, there is a faith based group, I think that encourages Dad’s to write letters to their children to have when they leave this world. Hand written letters and notes are very powerful and precious.

91 Steve January 5, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Count me in.

92 Jeffrey Guterman January 5, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Outstanding! I’ve been writing love letters for a long time. Songs, too. I’m in for the 52 love letter challenge. For 2012, though, I plan to write 52 love songs.

Here’s one song called “Without You” (click link for recording)

Original song by Jeffrey T. Guterman. Words and music by Jeffrey T. Guterman. All instruments by Jeffrey T. Guterman. Copyright by Jeffrey T. Guterman. All Rights Reserved.


Without you in my life
I don’t think I could make it
The pain I’d feel inside
I don’t think I could take it

Without you in my life
I don’t think I could fake it
The pain I’d feel inside
I don’t think I could shake it

But if you’d take me back again
I’ll be the man you used to know
Until then I will cry
If I am without you

93 Philip January 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Dear darling,

As you were sanding down my world class bunions, I could not help but notice what strong arms you have. You will always make me feel like a small child in your yeti like grasp.

You man.

94 Fawn January 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Wow! My husbands love language is words of affirmation so I can see how a challenge like this would really be a blessing to him. I don’t know if I can commit to 52 of them this year but I love the idea and I think I’ll get started on this right away. Thanks for the great idea!

95 Gustavo pizarro January 5, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I’m in

96 Luke Wood January 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm

What a wonderful challenge! I’m in as well.

97 Poland January 6, 2012 at 10:54 am

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because… this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being ‘in love,’ which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.” —Louis de Bernières

98 Chase January 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I have one note that set up the process my wife and I being together today. It just happened to be a break up note with a promise… let’s “wait till we are older and more mature” (we were 12 years old at the time).

Fast forward 17 years… we are now married and she still has the note with the promise. Now it’s my turn to man up, and continue the tradition, but make my love for her shine through on paper =)

99 Ryan January 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Good thing I saw this article today. Challenge accepted. I have already made it a bit of a private resolution to be more romantic for the lady. This is a nice way to do it too.

100 Rob Saunders January 7, 2012 at 5:20 am

I did that with the girl I loved. She cheated on me in the end.

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