Because he’s awesome.
People always ask about the secret to a happy marriage. They wonder how marriages last so long. It’s actually extremely simple. Be happy together.
I am happy with my husband. I believe – and hope – that he’s also happy with me. Because of that, we support each other in everything.
He collects guitars. Transformers. Legos. I help him with his collections, encourage him with his collections, and enjoy his collections.
I collect pens. Blank books. Jewelry. He helps me with my collections, encourages me with my collections, and enjoys my collections.
Together, we read, watch bad movies, and listen to music. We are happy together.
Last year, I found out about an activity called ‘Month of Letters.’ During the month of February, participants mail a letter of some sort every day except weekends. That’s 23 letters sent by every successful person taking part. There are also stickers you can earn by doing things like sending a love note, a fan letter, or even a piece of Victorian-style mail, going so far as to use a wax seal.
That was my first year in LetterMo, and I decided to send my husband a fan letter. I wrote to him and told him all the ways he was awesome. Then I posted it and waited for it to arrive in the mail, aiming for it to be there while I was away at a convention.
This year, I signed up for LetterMo again, and then I learned about ‘More Love Letters.’
More Love Letters believes that the world needs more love letters, and they have made it their mission to make love famous. Their founder, Hannah Brencher, wants to show strangers that they are not alone in the world. What better way than to allow people to nominate other people to get love letters from around the world?
To get someone on the love letter request list, all anyone needs to do is create a request, email it in, and wait to see if and when it’s approved.
I went ahead and wrote up a request. Last year, I’d had a number of personal issues, and, while finishing my MFA in Creative Writing, became a freelance writer and artist and stay-at-home mom. Instead of thinking that I was crazy for pursuing my own path, my husband encouraged it. He was happy that I finally decided to go for it because he’d been trying to convince me to do that since we’d gotten married (19 years ago). Even though it meant less collecting of fun stuff, less hobbies, less vacations, less eating out, less money. Even though it meant I’d travel more to conventions and farmer’s markets. Even though it meant a huge change in our lifestyle. Even though.
My request was simple
“Patrick is super supportive, super caring, and just, in general, a super, super dad. He does housework and is always willing to drop everything when something happens or goes wrong. He let me quit my job to reduce my stress and let me pursue writing and jewelry making.”
They picked me! (Well, him…)
Then the letters came in.
Over 200 letters from all over the world. I saved them up during the weeks when his Love Letter request was posted, and then gave him the stack. It took several hours for him to open them all and read them.
Most of them were amazing: outpouring of thanks and positive energy from strangers who didn’t know either of us.
Other were, well, interesting.
One of them, written on college-ruled loose-leaf paper, stated that: “My English teacher is making me write this letter for 10 points. Honestly, I do not approve because personally I don’t care about your problems. Therefore, I wrote this short paragraph explaining to you my feelings instead of lying and saying I care. Don’t take it personal and have a good day.”
Some delved into interesting personal details. “P.S. My husband was a drunk so I raised 3 kids and got a cosmetology license. Alone.”
One was just hysterically funny: “Thank you for opening this letter. You see, writing a letter to a stranger is on my bucket list. It’s number 56 actually, right below ‘eat a scorpion’ and above ‘ride a bicycle through Paris.’ It’s randomized.”
For the most part, though, they were simple and honest responses from strangers, telling my husband what I tried to let him know every day. That he is awesome.
Once he’d read them all, I went out and bought a large binder and a few sets of page protectors. I sat down and spent some time organizing the letter, sorting them by type, by size, and, in some cases, by matching card or stationary. When it was all done, he had a permanent record of all the love that he’d received.
So why did I do it?
The long answer is the same as the short answer.
Because he’s awesome.