By Elizabeth Slagel
Owner, Weymouth Hill Event Venue
No one can escape the power of a good love letter whether it was your great grandfather writing home to his beloved from Normandy or one your brother wrote to his girlfriend while serving in Afghanistan. As a writer, I discovered writing other’s love stories was both intriguing and fairly easy that is until I set out to write my own. I decided to write my own when details became foggy about my in-laws union, I asked my father-in-law to clarify some details and he came back with their story in written form.
At this point, I decided it was time to put our story to paper as I never wanted that magical feeling to be entirely lost and to give my own children clarity of how the chase can lead to a strong, meaningful relationship. It doesn’t have to be an episodic tale, or screenplay magic. However, when you take the time to reflect on those details that led to how you met, how the relationship grew and of course the proposal a compelling story takes flight. Think of all the great fictitious stories you’ve read that were of a personal journal about young love. Just imagine what your journal would read, had you kept one. Nearly every relationship has a romantic start and should not be lost to faded memories.
- Remember those initial feelings…In my case, I thought my husband was one of the most handsome men I’d ever met with dreamy bedroom eyes and a mischievous, sly personality. Oh yes, he gave me butterflies and my daughter’s delighted that I included that in our story. Take the time to explain where you were in that stage of your life. Were you working? Finishing up school? Was it a chance meeting or just a rediscovery of someone who’d been in your life for a while? No relationship is one-sided. Be sure to quiz your significant other as to his or her initial feelings about you if you’ve never been told. It can prove a fun exercise.
- Don’t forget to describe the setting… Details like places, events or what your loved one was wearing don’t just fill in details, they too play a backdrop to your story. Often, you’ll hear a man describe what a woman was wearing when she first turned his head. Most people remember where their first kiss was or where they went on their date. Don’t forget to describe how the setting created a mood or why it is part of the memory.
- Include the co-stars…Let’s face it, there were other people circling while your romance budded. Just maybe they played a part in the set up, shared opinions of your soon lover or were part of a triangle. These people were either protagonists or antagonists. Include them all as they give your story life.
- Don’t leave out the conflict. Once I recall a young lady telling of her parents dating days and her story didn’t exactly jive with what I knew to be true. Often, I wondered if her fairytale rendition didn’t give her the real account of grit or obstacles her parents faced. Conflicts can be painful and perhaps not details maybe we care to include or should. However, these truths give your story authenticity and make your story more compelling, if after difficulty you still found yourself together.
- Include a dialogue of that climatic point of your story. We all remember nearly word for word what lead to a proposal or who said, I love you first. For me, I remember the first conversation that led me thinking, I may marry him someday. Include that conversation or any others that were part of the buildup.
- Share with whom you are comfortable. I once wrote a love story series for a magazine for Valentine’s Day. The couples I wrote about got mass readership, but their stories were wonderful tributes of the power of love. I wrote my own story for our 20th wedding anniversary, quite posthumously for my husband. My children loved it, my daughters especially.
What better way to show love isn’t dead and what a neat way for your children to hold onto knowing the small details of how their mother and father met and what drew them to one another. Remember it doesn’t have to be the Notebook quality to be special. We all have our stories whether it’s marriage of convenience or second chance that grew into a foundation of love.