Romance Novels and the Christian

May 14, 2008 at 11:28 am 8 comments

In my closet I have boxes full of “Christian” romance novels, which I started collecting in my teen years. I have every book of a particular author intending to pass them on to my daughter when she turned 13. I spent hours filling my mind with stories of love and romance often finishing a book in one day. I then would re-read my favorite parts over and over. As I look back, I remember my favorite parts were usually describing some romantic gesture or “innocent” affection between the lovers.

I was raised in a good, separated, Christian home. My mom was very careful in what I was allowed to read, usually reading/skimming books before passing them on to me. But in this one area I feel she might not have realized how reading this type of material can shape your thinking and views on what a godly relationship should look like, as well as inflame feelings in a young girl that should lie dormant until the Lord brings her man on to the scene. One verse that comes to mind is Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” Sounds as if we should spend a great deal of time and effort guarding our heart, doesn’t it?

I am certain some of you are thinking that I am making WAY too big of a deal out of this. I mean, aren’t these books full of Christian values, morals, purity!? Doesn’t it give us a good picture of what godly relationships should look like, what it’s like to fall in love, how to know when it’s not right…or that it’s just good clean entertainment? Maybe you’re right…maybe you can read these books and get something totally different out of them…maybe you are such a strong Christian that your views and expectations are unruffled as you read…Maybe, but it was not true for me. 

I personally know ladies that have been dissatisfied with their relationship with their husband because he was not “romantic” often inflamed by her unrealistic expectation of how he “should” be. Is it right to read (or even watch) things that will only contribute to this problem? How would you feel if your husband looked at an picture book full of naked ladies and therefore becoming bitter with you because you did not measure up? Is it a secret that women like romance and men like the physical relationship? I do not think so. When will Christians admit that there is little difference in romance (outside of your marriage) for women and images for men?

Dr. Julianna Slattery, psychologist and author of Finding the Hero in Your Husband, said that “For many women, these novels really do promote dissatisfaction with their relationships. There is a neurochemical element with men and porn, but an emotional element with women and these novels. I have met women that are addicted to these novels.”

Now she is talking about the romance novels that are not “Christian” but I would like to argue that they are one in the same without the graphic descriptions and some religion throwed in. I always tend to be leary of those things that are of the world that are cleaned up and polished for Christians. Mark those things and avoid them.

The same principle could apply to a many number of things. Having a little girl, I watch out for movies she watches and books that she reads that encourage thoughts about love, romance and all the fluttery feelings that go along with that. Praise the Lord she wants to fall in love, get married and all the blessed emotions that come with marriage but it is not time for it yet. The desire she has/will have is natural and of the Lord so I need to do nothing to encourage more of those feelings as she has no outlet. I can think of a great many a movie that are generally thought of as clean that have little girls full of thoughts of marriage, love, kissing etc. For some reason it is considered cute in a little girl but if a little boy were to watch another movie and come away with the same desires it all of a sudden isn’t cute?! Hmmmm…something to think about.

Another point to bring out about these things is they can also foster desires for undue attention. The beauty, glamor and attention the heroine receives is certainly opposite from what the Bible says in I Titus 2:9 “…that women adorn themselves…with shamefacedness…” Have you ever compared this verse while your daughter was playing dress up and dancing, doing ballet or twirling for attention? This same verse also says “…not with gold, pearls, or costly array” Are we teaching a double standard to our young girls when it’s o.k. to live out their fantasies via books and movies and pretend play but tell them they are not to carry on like that in real life? I think so.

So how do I sum this all up???

It is sad to think that we could miss seeing the “Hero in our husband” because he didn’t romance you like Prince Charming in the book you read last night. No poor husband could measure up nor could we. I encourage you to embrace the husband you have, be all that you know *he* wants you to be and appreciate the *romance* HE can offer. Even if it is remembering to put the toliet lid down! We could all escape via our thoughts and find another situation better than ours if we tried hard enough. On the flip side, couldn’t dear husband find a better wife than you?

I’ll close with this Scripture:

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee or forsake thee.”

Note: I realize this is not a popular teaching, but I felt I needed to be true to what the Lord has been laying on my heart and at the encouragment of my husband decided to post. I am surprised at how very little there is written on this topic as I feel these things should be obvious to us Christian women. I am afraid society has done a fantastic job in programming us to think as the world does on a great many subjects. I pray we consider these things, talk to our husband and break with society and truly be a people that has purified themselves unto Jesus to become a peculiar people.

 

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Entry filed under: faith, family, HomeKeeping.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. FourHisGlory  |  May 15, 2008 at 06:26 am

    Wonderful post!

    Reply
  • 2. kate1611  |  May 15, 2008 at 09:40 pm

    I totally agree!!! Unfortunately I did not see this myself soon enough. 🙂 The verse that comes to mind for me is Phil. 4:8 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. To me, that says to stay in the Word..
    Something that I believe all young people should be encouraged to do is to read through Proverbs at least twice a year. With these words hidden in their hearts, they will have the wisdom to make right choices and have that wisdom readily available to their young minds and hearts.
    Great article! Hope it helps a lot of people not make the same mistakes I did.
    🙂

    Reply
  • 3. Amanda  |  May 19, 2009 at 04:04 am

    Thanks for this, I am just about to teach this to my youth group girls, encouraging to hear someone else say what i too was thinking.

    Reply
  • 4. Tryingtodoright  |  October 7, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Thank you this is just what God wanted me to hear, I wish I would have read this years ago.

    Reply
  • 5. Mr Man  |  November 20, 2009 at 01:46 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I am a 19 year old guy in a christian college and have been recently trying to understand women’s view on romance quite extensively and thoroughly. This is the first time I’ve read anything with this view, that I was wondering if existed. I agree with you. I don’t have all my beliefs down, so I can’t necessarily say I believe the same things, but what you say makes a lot of sense, and it is filled with wisdom and righteousness of heart, as least as I see your message. Because this type of view is unfortunately so rare in this culture, and because I think you’re heart is right, I would greatly encourage you to continue writing similar articles. I see you doing good work my analyzing many different topics and posting your thoughts, and perhaps other related resources online. Thanks again. -Mr. Man

    Reply
  • 6. Mel  |  February 8, 2010 at 05:05 am

    This is a fantastic article. I have realized that I am a Christian woman who is addicted to romance. I didn’t even know that such a thing were possible and if it were that it was wrong. After all there are Christian romantic novels. I have only just started to research up on it and found stories of Christian women that ended up having affairs. It has also made me realize that one of my friends and female members of my family may also be addicts. How will be ever be satisfied with what we have and what is reality?
    I have sat through a couple of somber sermons aimed at men on the dangers of pornography – but what about the dangers of women and romance?

    Reply
  • 7. Kim  |  January 9, 2011 at 03:15 pm

    I appreciate this article as I was praying today that God would help me in my struggle and break the chains that romance novels have placed on my thoughts and mind.

    Reply
  • 8. Tiffany Dixon  |  February 3, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Thank you for posting this article. Romance is an area of weakness that I have been struggling with every since those Twilight books came out. Romance for women is like pornography for men and it can be an addiction. There were times I felt like I was in spiritual bondage and couldn’t break away the chains. I am proud to say that I have stopped reading those books and have spent my reading time on things that are making me a stronger woman of God, a better wife and mother. It is not okay to compare our husbands to the characters in these stories. This is just another trick from the enemy. We need to put the love of Jesus first and turn our minds back on Christ.

    Reply

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