Do you read Christian romance? I do, on occasion. As with all things, it depends upon the book. My husband and I both want to be wise with regard to the materials we allow into our home and more importantly, into our hearts and minds.
And then there’s the matter of personal taste. Some folks like deeply emotional stories, where all of that emotion is pretty much the whole plot. And me? Well, I like my books to have a little more adventure, history, or suspense mixed in. Well-written emotional scenes can move me, but I love getting a window into different facets of characters’ lives rather than a series of emotional scenes strung together.
I read a fair amount of nonfiction so that I can hopefully learn from what I read. And I also enjoy it. The same applies to romantic novels, believe it or not. I do enjoy a good story. However, sometimes when I read about the inner struggles of fictional characters, it helps me to see pieces of my own life more clearly. After all, it’s hard to read a well-written novel and not relate to the characters on some human level. For instance, reading about a character struggling to forgive an old wrong can sometimes help me see places in my own life where I might have hardened my heart.
So, why romance? There’s something so very special about marriage, about moving to that point where you’re ready to vow before God that you will become one. Loving one another as Christ and the church is a serious, solemn thing. It’s also a very happy and beautiful one.
I’ve read some articles from folks who proclaim they will never read Christian romances because they believe the books only inspire readers to lust after fictional characters. I can honestly say that I’ve read a number of good books, and I’ve never struggled with that particular issue. I can understand a reader avoiding something that causes him or her to stumble. However, when I’ve read Christian romance(as opposed to secular), I’ve noticed more authors pointing readers to Christ and modeling godly relationships than the reverse. So, rather than dismissing an entire category of fiction, I would simply advise reading with discernment – just as we do in all things.
My own relationship with my husband before we married was much closer to the courtship model, and I did not date around. In fiction, I’ve seen some stories that look more like this and I’ve also read some books that look quite different from my own life. The variety of human experience is vast, and thankfully, so are the shelves of fictional stories. The common denominator among good stories for me is seeing characters grow in love and faith. I enjoy a good story, and I read all sorts of them. And tales of God moving couples together are often beautiful to me.
So, that’s why I read Christian romance. I wouldn’t read a steady diet of it, but some of the good stories in the world are love stories, and I don’t want to miss them.