Letters in the Mail

My wife got a letter in the mail today. Like, a hand-written, pen and paper, genuine letter. I sat back in my chair as she cheerily tore into it and devoured its contents. Then she said something curious, “letters in the mail are so much better because you only have so much space so you have to convey your words with precision and meaning.” Ok, she didn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s what she meant.

If you’re reading this post and you’ve met me there’s roughly a 50% chance you’ve received a note or letter from me in the mail. It would have been in all capital letters (somebody forgot to turn my internal caps lock off as a kid) and I likely would have jammed my name in the bottom right corner because I hate being confined by finite white space.

Jen’s probably right though, brief is always better than rambling (kind of makes this post ironic, huh?).

Anyway, my parents always bribed us with Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books forced us as kids to write thank you notes and letters. It made me annoyed at them (maybe it still does?) but I thank them for it now because I think it’s one of the places I developed my love for writing.

This isn’t about me though (actually, technically it is since my mug is plastered all over the pages of the URL you just typed in…but whatever). It’s about the fact that letter writing is a dying art and I want to know why.

There’s something innately mysterious about seeing your name in dried ink on the front of an envelope. It’s hard to explain. It’s kind of like the first time you go on a date with a girl or the feeling you get when you buy a book you’ve been dying for. You don’t know what the future holds but in that moment it can be anything you can imagine.

The future of letter writing though, who knows? Where’s it going? Where’s it gone? Do we not have enough time? Do we think writing on the web is better because it is, theoretically, endless? Is it too expensive?

I want your thoughts. Best theory gets a letter from me. It’ll be short. Unlike this post.

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Date Nights Are Great Nights

The other day I got home from the gym at about 6:00 and walked in our apartment to find my wife’s body contorted upside-down on the couch so that the bottoms of her feet were facing the ceiling. Half her clothes were on the floor and there was a glass of water right next to her face. Here were the first three thoughts that went through my head:

  1. I wonder what the grace period is on getting a marriage annulled.
  2. Why are half her clothes on the floor? Why do I care why half her clothes are on the floor? (I know that’s two but in my head it was just one, trust me)
  3. Lady Gaga. Yankee Stadium. (if you don’t know, don’t Google it)

Turns out she had writers block and apparently her solution to this was to force every liter of blood in her body to flow to her head. She makes a compelling case that we should purchase a pair of these and wear them at all times.

Despite her idiosyncrasies (or maybe because of them?) I love this girl and I love dating and pursuing her. I think, as a society, we’ve turned our relational lives into this: meet, chase, date, fall, marry, settle down. This seems to be the standard “I was raised in a Christian home and I think this is what Kirk Cameron did with his life” thing to do. Well, that’s out. By the way, that was the first of many many shots at Kirk Cameron, it’s just too easy.

The pattern of our relational paradigm has gone (and will go) something like this: meet, become best friends, pursue, date, pursue some more, marry, keep pursuing, have some kids, fight to pursue, build a family, pursue into eternity.

I realized about a year ago that I was going to need to put some systems in place to help me sustain (and, sometimes when I’m less than enthused, force me to continue) all this pursuing. One of those systems is Monday night date night.

We make it a point to get out of the house (uh…I mean 600 sq. ft. apartment) the first night of every week. Sometimes we get dressed up and go to Cheesecake Factory and sometimes we just put on tanktops (yes, both of us) and go for a picnic. Each Monday is special though. It gives Jen something to look forward to, a time when she can relax and know that I’ve planned out our night and she doesn’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning or being mad about me for not doing either. It gives me an opportunity to creatively and continuously show her how much and in what ways I love her.

Obviously, I don’t always reach into our engagement week well and bust out 27-part activities for us to participate in on Mondays. But as our date nights have evolved, I’ve learned how much it means to Jen that I picture, plan out, and participate in these dates. She feels loved. I feel like a leader. Everybody wins.

What fun things do you do for date night?

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