I've got a friend who is a Hallmark-aholic. So, when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday a few weeks back, it was actually no shock to me that she wanted some cards sent in the mail. Selecting the perfect ones wasn't the issue; the problem was, because I spend so much time banging on my laptop's keyboard, it's almost like I forgot how to write cursive. What in the world?! But it was so worth it to hear her almost tear up over the phone because written messages move her so.
Her reaction reminded me of why I oftentimes suggest to my married clients that they handwrite love letters to one another. While, on the surface, this kind of gesture may not seem like that big of a deal, if you humor me for about 5-7 minutes, I'll offer up some reasons why writing a card on some beautiful stationary and gifting your beloved with it could be the kind of investment into your union that will pay off for years to come.
It Can Help You to Tap into Your Romantic (and Creative) Side
If someone were to ask me for the top five reasons why so many married people struggle, believe it or not, "extreme things" like affairs or even financial issues are not what immediately comes to mind. I'm actually more in the lane of sharing the fact that many partners feel disconnected, the passion in the bedroom has waned and/or couples have become plain ole' bored. One definition of bored is "tedious repetition" and, let's be real—when you've vowed before God and your loved ones that you will share the rest of your life with someone, while living in a limited amount of square footage, it's understandable that things can start to feel a little "yawn" from time to time (check out "This Will Get You Through The 'Ho-Hum Seasons' In Your Relationship").
To breathe some life back into your relationship, a very sweet, sentimental and simple thing that you can do is write your spouse a love letter. One reason why I've found this to be so effective is because, oftentimes, when a relationship is new, romantic gestures, on both sides, tend to be at an all-time high. Then, a good two or so years into a marriage, as life "gets in the way", it can be easy to fall into a routine that oftentimes leaves romance totally out of it.
Making the time to express the love—and desire—that you have for your partner is not only extremely thoughtful; it's also something that can help you to tap back into your creative side, so that you can get your romantic juices flowing again. And personally, I don't know any relationship where, more romance, is seen as being problematic. Not in the least lil' bit.
It Can Help You to Clearly Express What or How You’re Feeling
Personally, I find it to be extremely endearing when couples make sure to say "I love you" on a regular and consistent basis. Yet, as wonderful as those three words are, if we're not careful, they can make us lean a little bit on the lazy side when it comes to communicating with our partner beyond a surface level. What I mean by that is, we can take on the attitude that "I love you" should be an all-encompassing statement. Problem with that is, if you or your partner happens to be a words of affirmation person like I am, you/they could end up feeling a little "empty handed". A love letter is a very effective way to go beyond "I love you" and into the reasons behind that sentiment.
Another awesome thing about penning a love letter is it's a wonderful way to express how you're feeling if you're not someone who is big on words or you're not the best at articulating your thoughts. If you want to express how attracted you are to your spouse, the reasons why you are so thrilled to be married to them, or what you appreciate about them that you haven't said, either in a long time or perhaps at all, a love letter can help you to get your thoughts together so that your spouse can know exactly where you are coming from.
It Can Be an Effective Way to Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane
An author by the name of Susan Gale once said, "Sometimes a short walk down memory lane is all it takes to appreciate where you are today." This point can apply across the board, but I like it in this context because—your first date, your first kiss, the first "I love you" exchange, your first holiday together…who doesn't like to revisit memories that basically serve as puzzle pieces to the much bigger picture that is you're here and now with your spouse? Even if you happen to be someone (or happen to be blessed to be with someone) who is a great verbal communicator, it can still be very special for a love letter to be written that consists of all of the moments that brought you and yours to this very point. A love letter can be a collection of memories and something that can be held dear for years to come.
It Can Further Confirm Why You Committed to Your Spouse in the First Place
If there's a couple that I've met with for more than five sessions, an exercise that I typically encourage them to partake in is writing a list of the reasons why they fell in love—or, as I'd prefer to phrase it, chose to deeply love—their partner.
Because I'm such a fan of individuals being proactive (over reactive), I have found that recalling what you adore about your spouse's mind, body and spirit can help to keep things in perspective on the days when, quite frankly, they are either getting on your very last nerve or you find yourself saying, "I honestly don't know why I married your ass." (Trust me singles, married folks tend to get to that point and place, more than once, over the course of their union.)
After the husband and wife jot their reasons down, I then recommend that they either post the lists somewhere where they can look at them every day (like a bedroom mirror or the refrigerator in the kitchen) or that they turn their list into art (like perhaps blowing it up and putting the lists over their bed or in their offices).
This being said, another way to present the list is by putting everything together in letter form. In many ways, it adds to the appreciation of the list because it takes time to sit down and write a letter in your own handwriting. However you choose to do it, recalling when you chose the partner that you did can make you feel more grateful and cause them to feel more appreciated—and seen. It's a win/win in both directions.
It’s a Treasured Keepsake
My godchildren's mom's mother passed away when she was seven. One of the things that she still has from when her mother was alive are the love letters that her mom and dad wrote each other. While she jokes that sometimes they are a bit "TMI" for her taste, she has also told me, many times over the years, that she is so thankful that she has those in her possession. Know what? I've had a few women tell me the same thing—that they too have their parents' love letters and, not only has it made them feel closer to their mom and dad, but it has given them a different perspective on things like love, commitment and yes, romance.
So, whether love letters between you and your spouse are for you two's eyes only (cue Sheena Easton. How many of y'all remember her?) or so that you can have something to pass down to your own children on their wedding day or later up the road, there aren't too many keepsakes that top the preciousness of handwritten love letters. Wouldn't you agree?
Chances Are, Your Spouse Won’t See It Coming. Like, At All.
When's the last time that you did something that was completely out of the blue for your spouse? I don't mean "expected out of the blue" like maybe showing up at their job for work or emailing them a reservation at a hotel (which, if you're that kind of spouse, I most certainly salute you!). I mean something that, not in a million years, did they ever seen "it" coming? Unless you write for a living or you just drip with romance 24/7 (or they do), there's a pretty good chance that they never predicted that they would wake up to a letter on their pillowcase or in their briefcase.
There's no time like the present to catch them totally and completely off guard! Remember that presentation is key, so make sure it's some gorgeous stationary or a beautiful blank greeting card. Then set aside about an hour to pen a love letter. I can almost guarantee that it will be just as revealing to you as the writer as it will be to your partner, the reader. Plus, it will be the gift that keeps on giving, each and every time they read it. So…what are you waiting for? Get off of this thing and get to writing, sis.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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'Power Book II: Ghost' Star LaToya Tonodeo Talks Breakout Role And Shooting Her Shot At 50 Cent For An Audition
Actress LaToya Tonodeo demonstrated the power of speaking up as she recently recalled how she secured her breakout role in Starz's Power Book II: Ghost.
The hit show, a spinoff of the original series Power, follows the journey of college student Tariq St. Patrick (Michael Rainey Jr.) as he tries to escape his father's tainted image while running a drug operation.
In Power Book II: Ghost, Tonodeo portrays the role of Diana Tejada, the daughter of former kingpin Lorenzo Tejada and Monet Tejada, played by Mary J. Blige.
The series debuted in 2020 and became an instant hit as viewers were glued to the screen weekly due to its captivating storylines. Power Book II: Ghost is currently in its third season and has been renewed for a fourth.
Although Tonodeo has been a part of the entertainment industry for over a decade by appearing in various television shows and films, the 26-year-old's star shined a lot brighter after landing a role in Power Book II: Ghost.
In an IG Live with xoNecole, Tonodeo opened up about how her dream opportunity came to fruition and the rumor that she boldly asked Power's executive producer, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, to participate in one of his projects.
LaToya On Previously Working With 50 Cent
In last month's discussion, Tonodeo revealed that before landing Power Book II: Ghost, she was already working alongside Jackson for his Sony/Crackle series The Oath.
In the show, the actress played the character Tara Byrd. Tonodeo shared that as the red carpet premiere for the first season of The Oath occurred in 2018, she missed her opportunity to connect with Jackson because she was working on another project. But as fate would have it, The Oath was renewed for a second season.
In 2019, as Tonodeo reprised her role in the show and attended the red carpet premiere for the second season, she briefly chatted with Jackson, who at the time acquired the rights to the BMF story.
"Well, what's crazy [is] I was already on a 50 Cent show. So at that premiere, it's called The Oath. It was the season two premiere of The Oath on Sony/ Crackle, and he was there," she said. "Season one, there was a premiere, and 50 Cent attended. I wasn't there because I was doing The Fosters, and I'm like, 'man.' When I got to go to the season two premiere, I saw him, and it was around the time when he got the rights for the BMF story."
The Bold Move That Helped 'Powerbook' Star LaToya Tonodeo Land the Role
LaToya On Asking 50 Cent To Audition For a Role And Landing 'Power Book II: Ghost'
Tonodeo explained that during her conversation with Jackson, she congratulated the mogul on obtaining the rights to the BMF story and expressed her interest in wanting to be a part of the project.
Tonodeo added that although she is unclear if Jackson remembered their encounter or "if it meant anything," when a Power Book II: Ghost role came along, she auditioned and landed the job.
"I was like, 'Oh my God, like I want to be a part of it.' But I don't know why I did it. I just walked over there, and I was like, 'Hey, congratulations on getting the rights. I would love to audition.' I don't know why I did that. I don't even know if it meant anything or if he remembers or not. I do know that I did my thing in the audition, so yeah, we are here now," she stated.
Either way, with that story, Tonodeo has displayed the perfect example of "closed mouths don't get fed."
Power Book II: Ghost is now streaming on Starz.
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Feature image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for STARZ