by Tamela Hancock Murray
In response to a recent blog post, “A Matter of Taste,” a reader asked what I would say if someone claimed there is no such thing as Christian romance.
In fact, I have been confronted with this question before. At a Christian writers’ conference a few years ago, a woman told me in a snide manner that romance is a “fantasy” and walked away before I could respond. I felt especially sad that the woman was no doubt a fellow Christian, but it sounded like it had come from a jaded secularist. I believe this woman’s attitude reflects her own experience rather than the state of Christian publishing. True, not all real life endings are happy, and Christian romance novels traditionally end with the premise that the couple will enjoy a bright future. That is the hope and promise these books offer. Indeed, isn’t that the hope and promise of weddings in real life?
The Lord never promised Christians perfect unions. My heart aches for anyone in a miserable marriage. Hurt people hurt people, so no amount of convincing will change some minds about romance. But God is bigger than any situation, and He heals willing hearts.
Yet to dismiss Christian romance as a fantasy is wrong, in my view. When I wrote my own Christian romance novels, my husband inspired the best elements in my heroes. My heroines were not modeled upon myself, but on women I admire. I gave my heroines qualities I wish I had in bounty. I felt uplifted as I wrote my stories. Judging from the fan mail, those stories connected with readers as well. Other authors receive heartwarming fan mail by the bagful, so I know God is using Christian romance novels to touch lives.
In Real Life…
As for real life? My husband and I have the advantage of great examples. All four sets of grandparents demonstrated “till death do us part.” Three sets celebrated their 50th wedding anniversaries. Our family demonstrates that the Lord is a God of second chances, too. My husband’s mother is the child of her mother’s second marriage, as she was widowed young. My mother-in-law always speaks of how her parents encouraged her and her brother to be active in church. She ended up marrying the youth pastor who moved to town from the Midwest!
Both sets of our parents have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversaries. They are still devoted to each other. Though we aren’t perfect, my husband and I have tried to emulate their models. We make time for one another every day. We are individuals, but have cultivated the same interests so we enjoy doing the same things. We look forward to spending time together. We are devoted to each other. To me, that is the key word: devotion. How can you not feel romantic toward your mate when you are both devoted to one another?
What do you do to make your Christian marriage a Christian romance? Share your best ideas and stories!