We authors constantly immerse ourselves in God’s Word
so that our Christian message inspires a blessed faith walk in our readers. That’s the “Christian” part of the equation.
That leaves the significant question of what we’re inspiring with the “Romance” part of the equation. How are we presenting the “Romance/courtship” message so that it, too, is a blessing to our readers?
We all love a classic Cinderella story. Girl meets wonderful boy. Wonderful boy cares for girl. The lovely glass shoe fits the heroine’s foot. Wonderful boy and girl marry and live happily ever after.
Over the years, that same premise has increasingly become a romance novel staple. Unfortunately, so have young couples, quick courtships, and marriages based primarily on the emotion love. Real life has mirrored this fictional path, and high divorce rates and broken lives have resulted.
Critics of the genre have called romantic fiction idealistic, unrealistic, and misleading of readers’ viewpoints on courtship, love, and marriage. Are they right? Do some Christian romances’ portrayals of romance, courtship, love, and marriage skew readers’ viewpoints of real life? Does repeated exposure to unrealistic portrayals ingrain fictional expectations in unmarried readers’ minds?
God has gifted us—and charged us—to write Christian Romance, to guide readers in both their Christian lives and their romantic lives. So how can we craft our Christian Romance ministries to guide readers in their romantic lives?
The current real-life trend: finish high school, start college, get married, have kids. The problem here is often age, but perhaps more often the problem is maturity. Despite couples’ levels of maturity, or lack thereof, countless weddings takes place, and kids usually come fast on the heels of “I do.”
Does it occur to young people to wait to marry until they mature, or to first discover who they really are, so that they can discover what they really want in life?
Does it occur to young people to wait to marry until they first discover what they really want in a spouse, and discover if they want to be married at all?
Why not? While pondering this mystery, I asked my mom, “Why did you and Dad get married and have kids?” Her expression went blank. Then she answered, “That’s what everyone did. You got married and had kids.” Many young people continue this trend today because they don’t see, hear, and read enough examples to show them there’s another way . . . perhaps even a better way.
One of my lifelong friends (also in her forties) married for the first time two years ago. I have zero doubt that she found the right man, because she took her time searching to be certain she picked the right one. Today, she is a college graduate, and she and her sister are both highly successful in their careers, and both took their time picking good men.
To read more of Tammy's commonsense views, see http://christiancowgals.blogspot.com