Dec

1

2011

Christian Romance — Fact or Fiction?

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.

Inspiration

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?

Your turn:

What do you do to make your Christian marriage a Christian romance? Share your best ideas and stories!

52 Responses to “Christian Romance — Fact or Fiction?”

  1. Timothy Fish December 1, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    I looked at that question differently than you did. I took it to mean that the person who said “there is no such thing” believes “Christian romance” is an oxymoron. The assumption seems to be that all romance is pornographic, therefore it cannot be Christian. And certainly, that claim is not without its merits. There are romances published under some of the Christian imprints that are indeed pornographic. But one of the ongoing debates is over where to draw the line.

    As for whether Christian romance is fantasy or not, all novels are fantasy, to some extent. Truth in fiction comes from fantasy. We don’t show our characters in the world as it really is, but we highlight the dangers of our readers following the path they are currently on and glorify what we would like our readers to strive to be.

    • Lynn Johnston November 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

      When I think of Christian Romance, I don’t see a reason to laugh. Romance is not about sex, it’s about perfecting a relationship between a man and a woman. What people fail to realize is, without Christ, many relationships are sure to be doomed. I recently saw the movie “Fireproof” and that it was a perfect example of a marriage that almost didn’t make it.
      We need to keep that in mind. All people, especially Christians need direction in Christ to make their marriage strong.

  2. Tamela Hancock Murray December 1, 2011 at 5:13 am #

    Timothy, I am hard pressed to name any pornographic romances published under Christian imprints.

    • Timothy Fish December 1, 2011 at 6:24 am #

      Tamela, I don’t read enough romance to be able to give names (I would prefer not to anyway), but when my mother tells me that there are come authors that she won’t read because they go too far, I trust her.

      • Steve Laube December 1, 2011 at 8:06 am #

        Sorry Timothy, but a blanket statement like that is meaningless without specifics. Above you wrote “There are romances published under some of the Christian imprints that are indeed pornographic.” And then below you mention some Christian “imprints are not selective enough and as a result some authors get through who really don’t belong there.”

        Really? Be specific.

        And since you aren’t a romance reader then ask your mother to be specific.

        It is statements like this that frustrate those of us in the industry who are trying to better our craft. And frustrates who hear opinions like “all Christian fiction is fluff and stupid.” (Granted, Timothy, you did NOT say that.)

        Read Randy Alcorn on the topic here: http://www.epm.org/resources/2011/Sep/12/why-do-many-christians-tend-avoid-visionary-storie/

      • Timothy Fish December 1, 2011 at 8:48 am #

        Steve, I don’t see how I can win on that one. If I say, “Christian Romance is practically perfect in every way” then I’d be lying. If I make a blanket statement, I’m criticized for not being specific enough. If I give names then I just look mean.

      • Steve Laube December 1, 2011 at 8:56 am #

        Never said that Christian fiction is perfect. Hardly. But you made the claim that some Christian fiction romances are pornographic. But without an example the critique is meaningless.

        A critic is mean when they make harsh comments or ad hominem comments. Simon Cowell was occasionally “mean” on American Idol.

        But a broad brush claim equating some Christian fiction to pornography cannot be left alone.

      • Timothy Fish December 1, 2011 at 9:33 am #

        Steve, you’re right. I didn’t say that “Christian fiction is all fluff and stupid” and I don’t anticipate that I will ever say that. I have, however, said that Christian fiction comes primarily in pastel and black, and that if we want to improve our craft we need to fix that. But the thing is, I’m not opposed to those colors. If people want to read those colors, I’m all for them reading them.

        I like the link because it clearly states why we write fiction. I found it interesting because I don’t recall having encountered anyone who viewed fiction as being the opposite of the truth. To give you something of my perspective on it, when I wrote For the Love of a Devil (which I see as a love story rather than a romance), I made it my goal to stay as close to the Bible account as I possibly could, but I wanted to put it in a modern setting because I felt that it would help people understand the story better. I don’t know if it helped readers, but it certainly helped me because I first had to find the theme, so my version wouldn’t miss the point. Then I had several key events that I had to hit. The sequence of events had to make sense and that wasn’t easy because before I wrote it I didn’t have a clear idea of why a woman would trade a life with everything she should want for a life as low down as the one that put her in a situation that made that ending possible. And without that ending, it was a very different story.

    • Steve Laube December 1, 2011 at 9:37 am #

      Well said.
      But still didn’t answer my challenge to your statement that some Christian fiction romances are pornographic.

      • Timothy Fish December 1, 2011 at 11:37 am #

        Here is part of a scene from Karen Kingsbury’s “Sunrise”:

        “The house could stay empty for all I care.” She eased her arms around his waist. “I only need you.”

        “Mmmm.” He came closer, his breath warm on her face. He worked his fingers into her hair, cradling her head with both hands. Smoldering desire filled his tone. Slowly, with a restraint that didn’t show in his face, he kissed her. Then he pulled back enough to see her eyes. “You and a big bed with down comforters and satin sheets__” he kissed her again, longer this time—“and a dozen pillows.”

        Granted, this is quite mild, and if these two characters were married I might not view it as quite as bad as I do, but I believe this is written in such a way that it is intended to arouse those thoughts in the reader. Certainly, there are some readers who would see it that way, and that is really all that is required for me to prove my claim.

      • Steve Laube December 1, 2011 at 11:44 am #

        Timothy,
        Glad to know your definition of pornography in Christian literature.

  3. Pamela S Thibodeaux December 1, 2011 at 5:39 am #

    I believe in Romance – period. My 20+ yr courtship & marriage ended at the ’till death do us part’ in 2009 and although I’ve met a wonderful man – the pain of that loss still renders me inept at a single coherent thought when it hits. Thank God that isn’t as often.

    My husband was not perfect but, like you and yours, we made time for each other every day – and not to talk about the unfavorable circumstances but to dream and plan and hope and promise!

    And he was one of the most sentimental men I’ve ever met…gave me a rock one day — no not a diamond, a rock! Said….”My love is like this rock…strong, solid, will never change and there’s not another one like it in the world.”

    That rock is in my shadowbox.

    I do believe in romance — whether told from a Christian worldview or not — and I enjoy reading them all!

    Great post.
    PamT

  4. Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke December 1, 2011 at 5:52 am #

    I enjoy reading Christian romance novels among other things. I think Christian romance at its best is God-initiated and absolutely wonderful. But we need to also say that Christian romance/marriage does not automatically happen.

    Discerning God’s will is always difficult. Even more difficult when our own feelings are involved. So we need to be really picky when it comes to choosing our spouse. Otherwise it will be really hard. Hence we should not give an impression that any Christian man/woman that we like -even love- would be the right person to marry.

    The same way there are, for example, Christian missionaries that were not called to be missionaries (not every calling thing is meant for everybody). And it can be really hard for them [not saying that hardships are signs of not being called]. And there are lot of people who were called to be missionaries that never dared to answer the call. So we should not play it safe and write off mission work/Christian romance just to make sure we won’t be disappointed.

    • Timothy Fish December 1, 2011 at 6:59 am #

      I agree that it is possible to choose someone that God would rather we didn’t, but I think we need to be careful about how far we go with “being really picky.” The Bible has far less to say about the specifics of picking a spouse than what it does about loving the spouse we pick.

  5. K. Victoria Chase December 1, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    What an inspiring post! It is wonderful that you and your husband have such great role models! I think truth in fiction, as Timothy states, can also come from one’s personal experiences, which of course, are far from fantasy.

  6. Rhonda Best December 1, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    I do believe in Christian Romance or why encourage anyone in marriage. Romance is not passion but passion is in romance and so is desire. Romance is the desire to share something with someone else and the facination we have with that person. Christian Romance is just enjoying the blessing given to you by God. Romance is thinking of your mate before you think of yourself and putting your expectations aside. Also if You want pornographic try Song of Solomon
    Song of Solomon 2:8- 7 Your stature is like that of the palm,
    and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
    8 I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
    I will take hold of its fruit.”
    Song of Solomon proves there is Christian Romance but we miss so much in looking at Romance through the worlds views or by wrong choices we make.

    • Timothy Fish December 1, 2011 at 6:44 am #

      I think it is a stretch to call anything in the Song of Solomon pornographic. It talks of physical attraction, yes, but it keeps the characters clothed in the metaphors of palm trees and such.

      • Rhonda Best December 1, 2011 at 7:13 am #

        I’m not calling God’s word pornographic I’m saying unless you know the intent people will call it that. So don’t assume like some people that romance means questionable actions. I have read alot of Christian Romance, Christian Mystery and Christian Historical and been to many writers conferences and never has there been a question of Christian imprints being improper. I do agree that fiction is fantasy because who wants to read about a life just like theirs. Although seeing the same mistakes we make in print gives hope to the reader for a change in their life too. Anything can be taken to the extreme Christain included. I’m just saying I havent seen it.

      • Timothy Fish December 1, 2011 at 7:42 am #

        Rhonda, I didn’t mean to imply that there is a Christian imprint out there that is completely improper, but I do believe there are some imprints out there that are not selective enough and as a result some authors get through who really don’t belong there. I doubt any of it is worse than some of the stuff that is allowed on network television, but I think it is certainly worth considering how far Christian Romance should be allowed to go and still be considered Christian.

  7. Connie Almony December 1, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    Tamela, I always joke with my crit partners that I’m jaded having worked in the mental health field for so long. And though I’ve seen marriages that have turned ugly, and many toxic relationships, I have also seen true love that has weathered many storms. I love my job for that reason. I usually believe that true love takes time to develop and the “romances” I write usually work that way. However, when I brought this up in a writer’s email loop, I was barraged with emails from writers who’d been married for decades (good marriages) after having known each other only months or even weeks. I believe, with God, ANYTHING is possible.

  8. Candy Arrington December 1, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    Wow, the comments are all over the place! To answer the original question, my husband and I have been married for 31 years and one thing that keeps romance alive is reminiscing about our feelings for each other when we were dating and remembering that breathlessness of first love.

  9. Lindsay Harrel December 1, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    I love reading Christian romance novels because I’m a romantic at heart and because I know I won’t encounter anything elicit in them.

    To remain close, my husband and I try to talk every day, even if just over dinner, and take walks together.

  10. Marilyn Turk December 1, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Okay, I’m jumping in here! If you look up the word “romance” or “romantic” in the dictionary, it’s all about love and the expression of love. Since God IS love, and the creator of it, He created it for our pleasure in the purest form. A Christian romance shows how love makes us feel and the joy it brings when it is God-led and not flesh-led, like the satanic opposite, pornography. Real love like I found in my husband three years ago embodies the depth of love that God created for us to enjoy. How do we keep it joyful? By remembering that it is a gift from God and should be treasured and protected, not abused or neglected. The simple acts of holding hands, a sweet “hello” and “goodbye” kiss each day, and remembering to say “I love you” goes a long way to keeping our Christian romance alive. Thanks, Tamela for sharing your story and getting this conversation going.

    • Timothy Fish December 1, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      I’m all for romance. It’s a great thing when you can get it, but romance and love are not the same thing. The word romance deals more with the courtship or the affair. That is also the case with romance novels. The word love is often used in these situations but it has a broader meaning and certainly takes on a different meaning when we talk about the love of God.

  11. Virelle Kidder December 1, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    I loved hearing about your family, Tamela, and the impact of Christian marriages that sparkle have on our culture. Our forty-five year marriage was influenced early on by a number of couples whose examples made staying together through tough times worth it. Yes, love can be hard, but the rewards of learning to love one another are priceless.

    I enjoy Christian romance writing that has more than one dimension and isn’t preachy. The truth is embedded in the story and speaks to a wide range of readers. Do you find publishers with the same vision? If so, I’m there!

    • V.V. Denman December 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

      Virelle, I love your statement: “Our forty-five year marriage was influenced early on by a number of couples whose examples made staying together through tough times worth it.”

      That describes the type of Christian romance that I enjoy reading. The ones that portray couples as encouraging examples. I’ve often wondered why some romances leave me thinking my husband is lacking, while others remind me how awesome he is. And those books are also the ones that motivate me to be a better wife.

      I hope I figure out how to write that kind of romance. :)

  12. Anita Mae Draper December 1, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Great post, Tamela.

    I make my Christian marriage a Christian romance by feeding my husband a steady diet of Christian novels that end in a happily ever after (HEA). Without the HEA, he won’t read it.

    Of course, he wasn’t always like that. He wasn’t even a Christian when I married him. Oh wait – where’s Connie (waves to Connie) – I’d only been at my first posting 3 months when I met Nelson in June. We became engaged in Sept and married that Dec – 35 yrs ago this month. Yikes!

    Since Nelson became a Christian – going on 15 yrs now, our marriage has developed into what God intended for us. I can’t praise Him enough for speaking to Nelson’s heart and taking that burden away. The freedom to openly pray and worship as a family was something I’d seen in other peoples’ homes, but never thought I’d experience in my own. Especially after I married for love and chose to live with an unbeliever.

    However, you may have noticed most men don’t take time to woo their wives, to hold their hand, or read romance. Nelson didn’t either until I started writing again. Somehow that sparked his appetite for reading – specifically romance because that’s what I write. He began holding my hand again, snuggling on the sofa, and bringing me flowers. It’s taken years to get where he is today, but I think I’ll keep him. God’s doing an excellent job in our marriage and I can’t wait to see what the next 35 yrs bring.

    • Timothy Fish December 1, 2011 at 9:55 am #

      Now I know why God hasn’t seen fit for me to marry. I could handle the holding hands, the snuggling on the sofa, and the flowers, but if marriage requires that I read romance novels, I think I’ll stay single.

      • Anita Mae Draper December 1, 2011 at 10:56 am #

        A requirement, Timothy? It takes courage to go against the grain for what you want/believe. It takes courage for men to wear pink, but they do it for the cause. And it takes courage for a man to show his feelings in public. Nelson not only reads romance because he enjoys it, he reads it in public places. Here’s what happened when he read among a group of men…

        Valentines Day, 2008, Nelson’s 22-wheeler (truck and pup trailer) needed repairs so he went back to the shop. He helps where he can, but when the mechanic left for a bit, Nelson pulled out Debra Clopton’s ‘The Trouble With Lacy Brown’ – the one with the pink convertible girlie cover – and proceeded to read. When the mechanic came back, Nelson put the book down and went back to work until lunch time.

        I swear I had no idea what would happen when I made his lunch that morning, but being Valentine’s Day, I had this bright idea to surprise him. With heart-shaped cookie cutters, I’d cut hearts out of his pre-buttered bread, salami slices, and cheese. I placed them all in separate baggies so he could ‘play with his food’, and then I tossed in some carefully chosen Sweathearts.

        So lunch time came and there Nelson sat with all these burly mechanics and truckers who were already giving him the look because of his reading material, and he opens his lunch kit and has to put his 2″ heart-shaped sandwiches together. As he relayed his story to me that night, my emotions swayed from horror to sympathy to amusement. What had I done?

        When I ventured to ask about the men’s response, Nelson said the single men snickered. However, the married mens’ responses ranged from “Lucky you” to “Wish my wife did that”.

        So Timothy, my point is that there’s no rule book on what a man is required to do – in a marriage or out of it. And sometimes the image men portray in public because they think it’s the way they’re supposed to act isn’t the true picture of what’s in their hearts.

      • Timothy Fish December 1, 2011 at 11:58 am #

        Anita,
        Courage? Henpecked? I suppose it all depends on how you look at it. But if your husband enjoys reading romances, who am I to say he shouldn’t. I’m just saying that if it takes reading romances to convince a woman that I love her, then I’m not the guy for her. And that has nothing to do with what anyone else might think about my reading choices; that’s just the way it is.

      • Debra Holland January 22, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

        Actually reading Christian romance will help you have a better understanding of women and of what they need and want in a relationship. Most women love romance and would adore having a romantic, loving, understanding husband.

        Romance novels can also be a starting point for a conversation. You don’t have to read the whole book, but you can ask her to show you a scene she liked and then discuss why.

  13. Lena Nelson Dooley December 1, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    What a lot of non-Christians don’t realize is that there is an added dimension to a Christian romance–the spiritual link that takes the everyday romance to a depth they can’t even imagine. It’s also hard for us to explain. Yes, Christians who are married experience hard times just like everyone else. This added dimension gives an added strength to get through the hard times.

    And that spiritual linkage takes the emotional and physical aspects of their union to a depth others cannot fathom. James and I have just passed our 47th anniversary, and our love is deeper and wider than ever.

    • Lisa Phillips (@nataliagortova) December 1, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

      Amen!
      That’s exactly what defines a Christian romance–the spiritual connection that has it’s foundation in the agape love of God.

    • V.V. Denman December 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

      Good point. And congratulations on 47 years!

  14. Charmaine T. Davis December 1, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    I’ll help poor Timothy out–Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is a “Christian romance” I would consider pornographic.

    • Iola December 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

      Readers should note that there are two versions of Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – the current Christian version, published by Zondervan, and the more sexually-explicit version published in the early 1990′s (no longer for sale except second-hand). Which version did you read?

      Authors like Francine Rivers, Julie Lessman, Kristen Heitzman and Deeanne Gist have pushed the envelope over what might be considered appropriate in Christian Romance novels. However, none of them come close to what you will find in many women’s magazines (e.g. Cosmopolitan), or secular Romance novels, let alone a ‘pornographic’ mens magazine.

      Equally, other Christian writers have pushed the envelope in regards to content in areas such as murder, rape, violence, domestic abuse… yet they are not being criticised because they are showing ‘true life’. What does that say about society if murder and rape are allowed in Christian fiction because they reflect real life, but romance isn’t?

      • Timothy Fish December 1, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

        I’m not sure I would want to be in a position of arguing that I’m okay because I’m not as bad as the other someone else.

        As for the other things you mentioned, it really does come done to the question of is it pornographic or is it not. If a book covers the topic of murder, even if it is very graphic in its description of the murder, the reader isn’t actually killing someone, so the sin is not committed by the reader. We can’t say that about scenes that arouse the reader’s desire for sexual gratification (which is by definition pornographic). In that case, the sin is committed by the reader as she lusts for something she can’t have. And though we may tell ourselves that she can redirect those thoughts toward her husband, it is likely that she will encounter one of the biggest problems with pornography, which is that her husband won’t be able to live up to her expectations. This leads some women to seek that gratification from other sources. But there are ways the author can talk about sex and reveal what is going on without bringing the reader so close to the intimacy that the reader can hardly avoid inappropriate thoughts.

      • Charmaine T. Davis December 2, 2011 at 3:54 am #

        @ Iola – I was not aware there were two versions of Redeeming Love. All I know is that most of the women at church were gushing over this book. Note: the church librarian refused to carry it in the library. A church friend lent it to me after exclaiming what a beautiful love story it was, blah, blah. Who couldn’t resist reading something if it was that good? I read it…many of the scenes seemed forced to me. The storyline seemed choppy, contrived and so transparent. “I’m named after Hosea in the Bible.” The book was meant to be an echo of Hosea in a way. Besides that, I hated the heroine. With that said, I do want realism in my fiction, but there is a way to do it without coming across as crass and loose.

  15. Tamela Hancock Murray December 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    Anita, I admire your husband and clearly, even the men around him can see you have a wonderful marriage. I enjoyed and was blessed by your marvelous comment!

  16. Hilarey December 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Thank you for a great topic, Tamela. Beautiful description, Lena. And true!
    To answer the question: it may be corney but I once heard humans are always growing. So in marriage–you either grow together or you grow apart.
    I am approaching 18 years in my marriage, and we keep romance alive by simply talking to each other, every day. Touching base with eye contact…remmebering we are not just parents, job titles, whatever, but also a couple. And being a couple on purpose because love is a choice.

  17. Lisa Phillips (@nataliagortova) December 1, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    What a wonderful post, thank you. It made me think in terms of how my marriage infuses into the romance I’m trying to write. Since I’m shooting toward Steeple Hill’s Love Inspired Suspense, I can use them as an example.
    Since they’re owned by Harlequin it seems like they’re all the more strict with what they sell in the Christian market, and I admire that: though I wouldn’t mind if they got some specifically Bible-believing editors, but that’s another conversation.
    In the past I’ve struggled with Kristen Heitzmann and how she seems to stretch the line of what’s appropriate, including sexual content, conversations over sexual content, and other things not normally included in CBA novels.
    However, I also heard from a friend who attended the ACFW conference this year that Bethany House (who have published a number of her novels) are now moving into a more conservative slant…So I wonder how this will play out in the future.
    As far as making my Christian marriage a Christian romance, I think song of soloman is a good reminder that even God promotes the kind of intimacy that leaves you breathless…like a good (clean) romance novel should!

  18. Rajdeep "call me Raj" Paulus December 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    I’m pretty sure I’m married to the MOST romantic man alive. He’s creative, original, thoughtful, and extravagant. If I listed all the ways he has whispered, “I love you” into my heart through his actions, the pages would fill at least an entire volume of the letter “R” encylopedia. Do they even publish those anymore?

    For the sake of “fluttering hearts,” I’ll list several examples of his syrupy sappy sweetness below:

    For starters, he proposed to me at a waterfall!
    He sang to me at our wedding, [Geoff Moore’s “If you could see what I see”] and he’s no Justin Beiber. :) But I loved every minute of his courageous out loud love for me!
    On one February evening, he took me on a surprise date to the city (NYC) and when we reached the corner of 51st and Broadway, he started singing, “We’re off to see the Wizard…” YES! He got us tickets to see “Wicked!”
    He still picks purple wildflowers for me when we go for walks in the spring…especially lilacs.
    For years, when I struggled with my self-esteem, he made me repeat three times [every night before we lay down to sleep] “I’m beautiful. God made me beautiful. And I’m beautiful.”
    This last year, for our 14th anniversary, he told me that he wanted to make sure I knew my identity through and through. “You’re a Princess. Of the King of Kings.” For our anniversary, he surprised me, arranged the babysitting [double, triple, quadruple, BONUS!!!], and brought me to a real castle for dinner.
    He still asks me to slow dance even though he has two left feet.
    I often sing to myself the words: ”It feels so good…to be loved by you” right before we pray and go off to our separate dreamlands. :)

    I so hope that we pass on our legacy of faithful and grace-filled love to our girls as your parents did for you!! Both of our parents were arranged marriages and although not romantic in the traditional sense, they have been examples of selflessness and loyalty to us.I wrote a little story about my parents marriage called, “44 Reasons Why My Parents Still Do” on my Blog “Insearchofwaterfalls.com” – Take a read if you want a glimps of Traditional Indian ‘Romance.’

    Romance. Christian Romance. Is alive and kicking! Now, if I can just bottle my hubby’s cupid struck heart and give a few sips to my heros in my novels … :) :)

    • Charmaine T. Davis December 2, 2011 at 3:58 am #

      @Raj – your husband sounds so alive and so sure of himself as husband and lover!

      My marriage was arranged, too — by the Father! My husband and I met and married in six weeks. We have been married for nineteen years and have seven children. I started praying for a husband when I was fourteen years old. On our second date, I knew my husband was going to ask me to marry him!

      • Rajdeep "call me Raj" Paulus December 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

        Awwww! I always tell people we are “arranged” too…”arranged by God!” :)
        And ftr, hubby is just as unsure as the next guy, but he has the “willing to work at it” factor inside him and the Grace of God fueling him. And it doesn’t hurt that he has an easy to please wife to work with — even a little text msg during the day that says, “hey, I’m thinking about you,” rocks my world!

  19. Kim Taylor December 2, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    We have fun everyday. We laugh about things. We like to be with each other. If you don’t do these things…try it. You just might like it.

  20. Tamela Hancock Murray December 2, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    Raj, what a beautiful testimony!

  21. Laurie Alice Eakes December 3, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    As Jesus told parables to get His point across, so do we, as Christian authors, tell stories to get the message of God’s love and forgiveness across. If our characters are not sinners, they are not even close to people with whom readers can relate, and they ahve nowhere to grow, nothiing to learn that will help the reader grow and learn.

    And readers do grow and learn from our books. I have fan mail to prove it.

    And how better to portray that kind of love God wants for us here on earth than through Christian romance. God wired us for connectedness. “It is not good for man to be alone.”

    The Bible is full of romances and man and woman love stories.

    Cloaked in metaphor as Song of Solomon might be, we all know what is up. It does not any less evoke thoughts of physical love than does the mention of satin sheets. Not so long ago in comparison to the length of the Bible’s existence, the Bibles of young women had Song of Solomon cut out of them to protect their tender sensibilities. Don’t tell me that no one took it in purely sexual terms if that was a common practice. OK, you can tell me, and you won’t be convincing.

    Romance, sex, and love are all part of a healthy and happy marriage, and marriages are more successful with God in the center of the lives of the people and thus our characters. My characters must have their hearts right with God before they can find happiness with a partner.

    My husband doesn’t read too much in the way of romance, but he is a deep romantic at heart. He shows it to me in little ways like vacuuming, or ordering out dinner when he sees I’m tired or stressed. No matter how busy he is, he will drop it all to fix my computer when necessary. He watches chickflicks with me because he knows I like them and would rather watch them with me than be off doing his own thing.

    I also watch things he likes more than I do, and we both end up enjoying them in the end.

    His favorite movie is The Princess Bride, if that gives you any idea of what a romantic he is. In real life, he is an attorney, not at all a push-over kind of profession.

  22. V.V. Denman December 3, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Tamela, thank you for sharing your story.

    My husband and I are busy-busy like most families these days and it’s all too easy to overlook each other in our rush. Or worse, to lose patience. Simple kindness is all it takes for us to keep romance alive. I say “simple” but sometimes that is the first thing we forget.

    That’s one reason I enjoy Christian fiction. It serves as a reminder to prioritize the important things. A well-written heroine gently inspires me to slow down and be kind to my real life hero.

  23. Tamela Hancock Murray December 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Laurie Alice, what a great post, and a wonderful testimony about how thoughtfulness makes marriage a great place to be!

    V.V., with that kind of spirit, you are well on your way to being a successful author.

  24. Rebecca Collver July 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    So, I realize that this is an old blog, but in my search for publishing advice (I’m a newbie author), I stumbled upon this post and couldn’t help commenting. My comment doesn’t deal with marriage and romance, but instead on the side conversation about Christian Romance crossing the line.

    I’m a single Christian woman and part of the reason I love reading Christian Romance are the examples of Godly relationships. I read Timothy Fish’s post concerning the excerpt from Karen Kingsbury’s “Sunrise,” and I understand what he was saying, but I don’t think Christian authors should shy away from romance or the topic of sexuality.

    Here’s my point of view. Temptation is a real thing, even in a relationship with another Christian. Hormones are rampant, and as a physician I can provide the scientific facts behind that statement. There is a temptation to give in, because the World says it’s okay to have premarital relationships. Yeah, the excerpt makes you think of certain things (although it is less sexual than many movie previews or television commercials), but the difference between Christian Romance and secular romance is what happens next. If they are unmarried, then the appropriate ending is to have the characters take a step back. That’s the example I love to see in a Christian Romance. Real life applicability. It tells the older teen or young adult that they do have an alternative to giving in to peer pressure. It gives the mother of teenagers a way to open up to their daughter about the issue of love, romance, and even sexuality.

    Here’s the cliche I couldn’t help adding. As a reader, I don’t like authors who are like ostriches with their heads in the sand. What an older generation would classify as pornography is commonplace in our society. Perhaps if more Christian Romance authors dealt with the issues head on, we could reach one more young woman before she irrevocably changes her life.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray July 29, 2013 at 8:04 am #

      Rebecca, I’m so glad you found this post. I think you make very good points. God is using CBA in so many great ways. I can’t wait to see what He does next.

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