A brown envelope surrounded by flowers

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Your Wife’s Birthday, Anniversary, or Valentine’s card

Why giving your wife a birthday card matters, and why the message you write inside is everything

Smiling woman in sunglasses

In the age of the internet, giving a paper card may seem old-fashioned.

When you talk to, text, or email your significant other regularly, isn’t a birthday card just a waste of money? Actually, giving a birthday card to your wife is even more critical today than it was in the past.

A birthday card is quite intentionally different from our everyday forms of communication. It is a message of love, appreciation, and affection that shows your wife how much you care. And for all the communicating we’re doing these days, our lives are so busy that opportunities for these extraordinary moments are less common. That’s why giving a card means something special.

But the card itself is just a token. The essential part of any card you give is the message you write inside. It doesn’t have to be perfect, fancy, or even lengthy. But the point of a card is to make her feel loved. So, for it to be meaningful, it should be written in your words. And there’s the challenge. So, what should you write in your wife’s birthday card?

What NOT to do

There are plenty of websites out there that will just list out bland, impersonal messages you can write in a card. For the sake of your relationship, please, PLEASE do not just write down something you find online. Your wife wants to hear YOUR words. To know what YOU are thinking. The messages you find online will always pale in comparison to the feelings inside you.

That said, it’s not always easy to put your thoughts into words on paper. Even I, blog writer extraordinaire (cough), struggle with it. Fortunately, I have some tips to help you translate those squishy feelings in your brain into squiggles of ink.

Tips on how what to write a great message for your birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s day card

Keep it short

You only have space for 2-4 sentences if you want to keep it to one side of the card interior, or about twice that if you’re good with covering both pages of the inside. Cramming too much in there can quickly get messy, so be careful before you start writing a novel.

Of course, you’ll also need to leave room for your valediction and signature. What the heck is a valediction? It’s a fancy word for the sign-off or closing phrase at the end of a message. Hopefully, you already know what a signature is.

Write your message out somewhere else before you write it into the card

Sure, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll write out your note in a satisfactory way in the first go. But there’s an even better chance that with an extra few minutes of effort, you can avoid typos and awkward sentences. Crossed out words and spelling fixes can be uncomfortable (though not the end of the world).

Write your message out the day before

As with the previous point, it doesn’t take much longer to write the message out ahead of time. And doing so means you’re not rushing at the last minute and half-assing your note. Instead, spend the same few minutes you would have spent anyway. Just do it a day or two before you give it. You’ll be less stressed, have some time to think about the message a bit, and be ready to go on the big day.

Consider some example themes to get you started:

  1. A specific detail of an early memory of you together

    Where did you go on your first date? Do you remember the moment you first met? When you first moved in? Your wedding day or honeymoon? The first time you saw her smile?

    Thinking of those meaningful moments in your life together, try to remember some particular aspect. Maybe the name of a restaurant you ate at, or a dish you both enjoyed — some moment when something you love about your wife stood out remarkably.

  2. Something going on in their life right now

    Acknowledging something big going on recently in your wife’s life, or your life together, is a great way to make a message feel personal.

  3. If all else fails, keep it simple

    If you’re at a loss for other ideas, pick something you appreciate about your wife and write a couple of sentences about that. More likely than not, she’ll appreciate the gesture of getting a card, writing a note, and giving it to her, even if it’s not particularly moving or poetic!

Make it special

While not a necessity, try to add a touch that makes your message personal. Possibly the themes outlined above already have you covered, but if not, consider adding a reference that only the two of you would get. Perhaps some inside joke? (Please, nothing too raunchy unless you’re sure your wife will appreciate it). A pet name?

Trust yourself

Ultimately, you know your wife better than some blogger on the internet. Hopefully. Write something you think will make her smile, and you’ll be off to a great start. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • What makes her happy?
  • Do you want to keep your message sweet or add some humor? If you’re not sure, it’s typically best to stick to a simple, sentimental note.
  • Will your wife appreciate your gesture, no matter how bad it is? Even if this is true, please put in genuine effort. She deserves it. But if it’s not true, you better make sure you get all of this done well in advance to avoid any last-minute issues.

The secret of card giving

Here’s the cherry on top of this card-giving tip sundae: getting a card from someone feels special because it means they were thinking about you when they weren’t with you. Since you’re doing that right now, you’re already winning!

You can also work this into your card message for added value. For example, if you picked an early memory of you together as your theme, maybe write something like, “The other day I was thinking about our first date, and remembering how beautiful you looked in the electric glow of the McDonald’s fluorescent lights.” Although hopefully your first date wasn’t really at a McDonald’s. If so, and you ended up getting married, bravo!

Wrap up

In the end, the most important thing to remember is that the purpose of giving a card is to make your wife feel special. So do your best, give it some effort, and you’ll likely end up with a win.

Now get out there and get that card!