"Romance provides the medicine your relationship needs to get off life-support and become vibrant again"
Keeping a relationship strong and thriving is hard work under any circumstances. In your relationship, managing life’s opportunities and concerns while also trying to keep the romance alive is a top priotity. Keeping the flame lit is no small feat in the best of times. However, it is even more important to dedicate time, energy, and effort during the worst of times — such as while your man is in prison. One of the best ways to keep the flame of romance going is to write letters to each other.
Over the years, I have watched many families fall apart because the relationship became too much work.
As time progressed, the initial attraction was lost among the urgent situations they faced. A once refreshing romance, became became stale and sour as life dealt them blow after blow. Eventually, all the romance died, and they were left with only a long list of expectations to fulfill. Yuck! Nobody wants to be in a relationship when their time together revolves around problem-solving and managing the next crisis. You have to get off that ride of chaos.
While your man is in prison, it is a challenge to keep the romantic feelings alive. So, you must be intentional, imaginative, and consistent in focusing on your relationship. Romance provides the medicine your relationship needs to get off life-support and become vibrant again. It is not a question of IF you need to write romance letters to your partner, but HOW MANY you need to write to keep your love alive.
First, I need to dispel the myth that your man is the one responsible for keeping the romance alive.
The burden to invest in your marriage/partnership is meant to be a shared responsibility. If you want to make it through this chapter of your lives, you must both invest in keeping your passion for each other a priority. Writing letters is just one way to keep your attachment strong—but it is, in my opinion, the most important thing you can do. When you write a love letter to your partner, he can return to it whenever he feels down or in need of affirmation of your love. It is a gift that continues to encourage with time.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you write love letters to your incarcerated partner. Before I share some tips on writing romance letters to your man, I need to remind you that other people will read them. A staff person from the DOC oversees and monitors all incoming mail. This knowledge should not deter you from being steamy and passionate in your letters. Only keep the knowledge that someone else will see your words in the back of your mind as you decide how much you want to share with strangers. A good rule of thumb: keep it PG-13 — your partner will get the message loud and clear, but you will be stopping others from peeping into your personal life. Your private life deserves to be protected.
As you prepare to write romantic letters to your incarcerated partner, here are some tips I gathered from writing to Ron for 15 years while he was in prison:
1. Love letters do not need to be sexual. There is so much more to romance than sex. Share romantic fantasies that do not involve sex — for example- hiking together, watching the sunset, snuggling in front of a fireplace, playing in the snow, or relaxing on a beach together. Remember to flirt, and share all the things you love about him without once mentioning sex.
2. Love letters can be sexual. It is also essential to include some love letters that connect to your attraction to each other. Keep that spark alive by sharing your favorite memories with him or sharing what you are looking forward to once he is released. Remember to leave room for his imagination, so you won’t be allowing others to be in your bedroom with you.
3. Include a poem that describes your love for him. It can be a poem you write – but it doesn’t have to be original. You can include a copy of a verse from someone else that resonates with you or quote lines from it. Just be sure to give credit to the original author when sharing.
4. Describe your perfect date night to your partner. Share everything from what you will each wear, where you will go, what you will eat for dinner, and all the details to make it the perfect date together.
5. Set up expectations for a continued romantic conversation on your visits. Ask questions about what your partner is most looking forward to or misses the most about being able to go on dates together. Then, try to incorporate some of that fun into your next visit. Be sure that whatever you plan is allowable in prison. Examples of ways you can be romantic on your visit are:
- Dressing up (following the institution’s dress code),
- Pretending you are on a beautiful date, or
- Taking a make-believe trip as you each share what you imagine with each other.
6. Ensure that you are writing a love letter at least once a week. Think of this as your “date night.” The benefits of making this a priority in your relationship will set new habits for both of you. Then, you will be prepared to continue this habit of a weekly date night when he does come home.
These tips will help you keep the flame burning in your relationship while navigating through the prison time in front of you. Do not hold back. Love like there is no tomorrow, and invest in your relationship like it is the only one you will ever have!
I am rooting for you!