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.
(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!