When I looked down and realized that my normal Thoughtful post this week would be on Valentine’s Day…well, it didn’t take a genius to realize what my topic ought to be. 😉 But deciding what particular slant I wanted to take on a very general topic proved much more of a challenge.

As I let the subjects of love and romance and marriage etc. all swirl around in my head, a few things came to the surface. Some of which I intend to talk about in more detail (and with other authors) during some of my Roseanna White Live events this spring. But writing it all out here is a great place to start. 😀

I am a romance writer. In particular, a Christian Romance writer. Even more particularly, I tend to focus on historical romance. Which I think has given me an interesting perspective, because, for most of history, a woman’s primary purpose was to find a good match, get married, and raise a family. There were always exceptions, but that was the rule.

And I love that. I have other passions, yes, and I think most people do. But as goals go, building a family is one of the most important ones I’ve ever been able to imagine for myself.
Some of the critics of Christian Romance as a genre–and historicals in particular–rant about how these books teach girls to focus on the wrong things: that without a man they can’t be complete, that marriage is all they should be thinking about, and that focusing on such things might “awaken passion before it’s time.” That they portray unrealistic heroes and give us an unrealistic view of what a relationship will look like.
And this is where I always want to argue. Because no, most stories I read aren’t saying that at all. But they are saying that when we find that special someone, we are better together than we are apart. Stronger with each other than without. 

Let’s be honest: most of us end up falling in love and getting married. This is how God made us, to crave companionship. It’s going to come up. And it’s IMPORTANT. One of the biggest decisions we ever make in our life. So shouldn’t we be taught how to differentiate between emotion and something deeper? Shouldn’t we identify what makes someone a good versus a bad partner? Shouldn’t we have an idea of what a relationship with a godly man should look like? This is actually what I love about Christian romance–it’s not all about finding the alpha male who’s super sexy. It’s about finding someone who makes the heroine better. Through whom they grow closer to God. It’s about showing us all that we are worthy of love.

This is why the bride and bridegroom feature in SO MANY of Jesus’s examples and parables. It’s why we, the Church, are even called His bride.
Because it’s basic, common, something easily understood. But that’s not the only reason. It’s also because the love we feel for that special someone is such a perfect analogy for our relationship with Him.
He pursues us. We wait for Him. We can get along on our own, yes, but we are oh so much better once we put our hand in His. We’re stronger together. And once we’ve found Him, we know we always have someone to turn to. Someone to comfort us in our tears and laugh with us in our joys. Someone to work through the problems with us and whisper encouragement in our ear when we think we can’t take one more step.
As for the “before it’s time” complaint…this has long been something I take issue with. I had the blessing of meeting my future husband in middle school and dating him through high school. We went to the same college and got married after our freshman year when we were both still 18. Did I get married young because I’d read romance novels? Um…no. I got married young because God had already put in my life the man He wanted me to marry, and I recognized that and embraced it. I didn’t see the point in waiting just because today’s culture looked at me askance. I rather looked at them askance when they said things like, “Why don’t you just live together?” And now, 17.5 years later, I can still say I’m certain we made the right decision. We’ve never had a moment’s regret over marrying young. We’ve grown together and changed together and sought God more deeply together. We’ve built each other up, helped each other chase dreams, and are raising a family.
My story obviously isn’t everyone’s. No one’s story is everyone’s. But that, too, is what I love about Christian Romance novels. They give a glimpse into different stories, one of which might just strike a chord with you. One of those heroines is going to have the same insecurities that plague you. One of those heroes is going to remind you of him. And as they struggle and grow together, it’s going to remind you of the journey you’re on–and how crucial it is to keep on growing closer to each other and to God.
Whatever your romance looks like, whether you have a special someone in your life to celebrate with or not, I pray that today you feel love–the love of a Savior who loves you so much that He moved heaven and earth to meet you. A Man who gave up His kingdom for you. A Lord who stretches out his hand and says, “Come to me, my bride.”
Now that is a love story worthy of the ages…