Friday’s Food for Thought…”Love” letter edition

A few days before his 26-year-old son, Michael, got married, future-President Ronald Reagan sent him a letter of advice on love and marriage. This was in 1971.

It’s a pretty great letter, full of wisdom, so I wanted to share it with you guys. I’d love to know what you think, so you know the drill – got something to say? Leave a comment! I’ll talk back, I promise!


Photo from:

Michael Reagan
Manhattan Beach, California
June 1971

Dear Mike:

Enclosed is the item I mentioned (with which goes a torn up IOU). I could stop here but I won’t.

You’ve heard all the jokes that have been rousted around by all the “unhappy marrieds” and cynics. Now, in case no one has suggested it, there is another viewpoint. You have entered into the most meaningful relationship there is in all human life. It can be whatever you decide to make it.

Some men feel their masculinity can only be proven if they play out in their own life all the locker-room stories, smugly confident that what a wife doesn’t know won’t hurt her. The truth is, somehow, way down inside, without her ever finding lipstick on the collar or catching a man in the flimsy excuse of where he was till three A.M., a wife does know, and with that knowing, some of the magic of this relationship disappears. There are more men griping about marriage who kicked the whole thing away themselves than there can ever be wives deserving of blame. There is an old law of physics that you can only get out of a thing as much as you put in it. The man who puts into the marriage only half of what he owns will get that out. Sure, there will be moments when you will see someone or think back to an earlier time and you will be challenged to see if you can still make the grade, but let me tell you how really great is the challenge of proving your masculinity and charm with one woman for the rest of your life. Any man can find a twerp here and there who will go along with cheating, and it doesn’t take all that much manhood. It does take quite a man to remain attractive and to be loved by a woman who has heard him snore, seen him unshaven, tended him while he was sick and washed his dirty underwear. Do that and keep her still feeling a warm glow and you will know some very beautiful music. If you truly love a girl, you shouldn’t ever want her to feel, when she sees you greet a secretary or a girl you both know, that humiliation of wondering if she was someone who caused you to be late coming home, nor should you want any other woman to be able to meet your wife and know she was smiling behind her eyes as she looked at her, the woman you love, remembering this was the woman you rejected even momentarily for her favors. 

Mike, you know better than many what an unhappy home is and what it can do to others. Now you have a chance to make it come out the way it should. There is no greater happiness for a man than approaching a door at the end of a day knowing someone on the other side of that door is waiting for the sound of his footsteps.


P.S. You’ll never get in trouble if you say “I love you” at least once a day.



I found this letter at

Categories: Friday's Food for Thought | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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21 thoughts on “Friday’s Food for Thought…”Love” letter edition

  1. wow. that gave me goosebumps!

  2. Reblogged this on I Love This Husband & Wife Stuff and commented:
    This gave me goosebumps!

  3. Wow. This must be the greatest father to son marital advice, ever. I was very touched by his words. Thank you for sharing this with us, I have to share it on my blog, too.
    You’ve got a beautiful blog, I’ve been reading around and I’m now following. You two look lovely. Best wishes in your marriage and many happy years! 🙂

    • Welcome! I’m glad you found your way here, and hope to “see you around” more! Thanks for the comment and the kind words!

  4. And thank you for sharing the source of the letter, as well. I’ve found a great many other fantastic ones there.

  5. Donita

    Awesome Post. I have never seen this letter. What timeless advice!

  6. I love this! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Beautiful letter. That Ronald Reagan was a wise, wise man.

  8. Reblogged this on Spotts in the Valley of the Sun and commented:
    This is such a beautifully written letter from Ronald Reagan to his son Michael. Spectacular advice for how to have a happy mariage!

  9. John shipman

    The loving human side of one of my greatest heroes.

  10. Loved that! thanks!

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