Thursday, April 23, 2015

On Romance...

It's been a while since we've had a controversial topic here on Word Painters. The last one was by John J. Horn and Jason McIntire on violence. So today, let's delve into romance.

So... Is romance good in books?

Yes, I know it's a controversial subject. I will say right now that I think romance is good. If it's good romance. God created it, it's a natural part of life, and the Bible says that "marriage is honorable in all".

But, like everything else, Satan has twisted something beautiful God created into something evil in many instances. He can't create - only pervert. So he has naturally tried to do just that. Therefore, there are many cases in books where ungodly romance is portrayed. 

So, rather than ask the question of whether or not romance is good in books, I think the question is more How is it portrayed?. The following are a few things I believe are Biblical and good to consider when you are choosing your next book or are writing a romantic scene.

(Might as well get the worst over first...)
  • If your romance portrays too much physical, it's wrong. Most of the physical aspects of marriage are meant to be private. Discreet. Sacred. Not blatantly described for the whole world to read. Not because they are bad (in the Biblical context), but because they are too special to depict. 
  • If the guy in your book is not portrayed as an ordinary guy, there is the chance that a female reader may start longing for her relationship to be like the one depicted in the book. While it is the reader's responsibility to guard her heart and not read anything that will in any way damage her marriage or courtship, authors have a responsibility to be careful. 
  • If the entire book centers on romance, chances are that too much is portrayed. I.E. presenting unrealistic settings, creating unrealistic expectations, creating longings that cannot be fulfilled, or even causing a fictional relationship. All of which, if they happen, are wrong and not demonstrating a heart that is loyal to your spouse or future spouse.

(Cause there is a lot of good!)

  • Romance is natural and God-given. I think it's unrealistic to have books without it. Marriage is honorable and wonderful. Love is wonderful. It is not something to be ashamed about. If romance is a natural process in the book (like it is in real life and/or is an enhancement to the story), it will be a beautiful and worthy enhancement.
  • It's fun! Just like the story of Ruth and Boaz, the creation of a love story and seeing how it all fits together for God's glory is amazing. Both to write and read.
  • I have learned a lot from reading books that have romance in them. I've learned about the importance of putting God first, of knowing how you feel, of being open and having clear communication with your future spouse. (You want to know how many books and movies would be half as long as they are if only the two people would learn how to communicate?!)
  • We as Christians never want to give the impression that we are against love. It's Satan that teaches that only the immoral are having "any fun". God teaches love in purity. So write a pure love story. It's all about that word - purity

Awkward Situations:
(Cause there are problem spots.)

  • What about fornication/perversion/abuse? They happen and many books have to touch on these subjects because it is entwined in the message God has for the book or is just a part of historical fact. I had to myself in From the Dark to the Dawn, lightly hinting at what Thallus wanted Moriah for and what Marcus could have done with her as well. The Romans weren't exactly the purest of people.... If you find yourself in a case where you have to add something along those lines, be discreet. Be careful. Pray about it - a lot. You can hint at things without showing or even telling. Make sure your motive is redemption and honoring Christ - not glorying in wickedness, whether today or in history. Things happen, but our emphatic should always be on the beauty, not the ashes.

Unsure about how much romance to depict when writing or how much to read? Pray about it. I've prayed about many such scenes in my books. The Lord will lead you.  Remember, it's all about what God wants of you

On a side note, I add *pure* romance as a natural process and enhancement to my books. Oh, and I love the man the Lord has placed in my life and enjoy every minute of our relationship. Just FYI.... :) 

What do you think?

Alicia A. Willis is a home-school graduate, published author, and avid historian. She is a firm believer in the principle that one can accomplish anything by substantial amounts of prayer and coffee. Visit her at her blog or Facebook to view her historical-fiction novels and all the goings-on between writing!


  1. Interesting. I like to write a bit of romance in my books but I feel like its all so cliche sometimes. :/

    1. It can be. You have to get pretty creative. God writes individual love stories and we have to be diligent to do the same thing! :)

  2. Amen! I heartily agree with you Alicia! So many books today are so full of romance which is not biblical, or presented in a holy manner, however as you mentioned, it is a natural part of life and holy in the eyes of the Lord! (see 1 Corinthians 7)

    I greatly appreciate how your books portray the biblical romance which encourages this in the ways of the Lord and not cause one to is so easy to get caught up in a book and realize the romantic side is unholy and cloud one's mind to think fanciful things about marriage that are not real at all, and feed the fleshy side of our sinful nature.

    I know because this has happened to me many times, but I am so thankful we serve a faithful and merciful Savior, Who over the years, has shown me the great importance of true biblical romance is and how books can greatly affect our view onew this topic along with many others.

    "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
    ~Philippians 4:8~

    Blessings in Christ,

    Miss Antoinette

    1. Thanks for your thoughts! Yes, I think we tend to swing either way too much or way too little into romance. Both are wrong. Just as I'd hate to influence a reader into reading too much romance and developing an imaginary relationship...I'd also hate to give the impression that romance is wrong. Because it really is so beautiful and God-designed and such a part of our lives. We can too-easily teach young girls (and guys) that it's wrong...when it's not. And that can be detrimental to real relationships later.

      Good verse - thank you for sharing! :) You're a dear!

  3. I've been thinking about this a lot as I work in my current project. The main focus of the book won't be romance, but to round out the story, I want to add a little. This post was very helpful!!

    1. Good for you! I'm glad it was helpful. Yeah, it does round out the story! :)

  4. This is one of the best articles on the subject I have ever read. Two thumbs up.

  5. Thank you so much for this post! I wholeheartedly agree with you on this topic. : )

  6. Very helpful and informative. My upcoming novel, as you well know, Alicia, doesn't have even a trace of romance, but partly because I'm still studying the topic. This article has blessed me greatly. :) Maybe I'll have romance in a later novel...if I can come up with something original...

    1. I am so glad it was a blessing, Justus. Yes, but my first one had very little too. :) It's okay to develop your writing/publishing before delving into it. I bet you'll do great once you get started! :)


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