Count Leo Tolstoy to Valeria Arsenev
November 2, 1856
I already love in you your beauty, but I am only beginning to love in you that which is eternal and ever precious – your heart, your soul. Beauty one could get to know and fall in love with in one hour and cease to love it as speedily; but the soul one must learn to know. Believe me; nothing on earth is given without labor, even love, the most beautiful and natural of feelings.
I believe my wife to be the most beautiful woman, but there is more to our relationship that the outward attraction of the physical. When I first read Tolstoy’s letter to her she asked me to read it again. Her response was “oh wow” (so I encourage you men to read it to your wives- fire for effect. And not just for the one night stand: practice it!). It is easy to be the moth attracted to the flame as I still am. However, there is a commitment to my life long mate that works beneath the surface and sees “us” as a future. The singer/entertainer Lana Del Rey asks “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?”