As I sat reading through a romantic book one warm, summer day, I began to wonder…what is it about these stories that causes us to love them so? It could not be the plot…for a plot in itself does not serve to penetrate your soul. Though characters quickly become memorable, they could not be the single reason either – for standing alone the most they can do is amuse our mind and heart.
Perhaps it’s the setting. But then again, a setting’s purpose is to accentuate…not only to be read as a place. Similar to spices, description and detail are tools a writer can use to give their story that final pizzazz. There are many building blocks in a well-written tale that one could argue are the bottom, corner-stone of why so many people enjoy romance novels. I would wager, however, that the true reason is much deeper than that.
I believe, in every woman’s heart, there is a great desire to be adored, loved, and sought after. I think so many, if not all, of us long to be treated as a treasure – one which has an immeasurable amount of value. And it saddens me readers, truly it does, how far the world has gone to completely disintegrate this picture and the value that is a human being. The majority of movies that flood out of Hollywood and other massive, secular companies scream the components of lowly conduct and behavior…and neglect to follow up with the consequences of such actions. They muddle together the belief that women are strong and equal, by pairing it with sexual scenes and conduct. How much lower can your value go, than when you are so desperate for appreciation and affection, you are willing to be an object of use rather than what was meant to be a beautiful act? It has warped this until so many no longer question it.
Women are strong and on equal standing with men…yet, I feel sometimes in our world today there is an extremists view of this. They do not seem to believe that it is acceptable for a woman to be protected or sought after. Why has the storyline of the prince rescuing the princess commonly turned into one that is not ‘modern’ or ‘equal’. Where is the wrong in someone loving you so much that they will do anything and everything to get you back? I do not understand where the view has come from that this is weakness. It is anything but. I do not see it as the man thinking he is better, I see it as a person who is so totally in love with his girl that he will scale any walls, fight off dragons, or even take the brunt of the spear because he values her life to that degree.
This is not to say that women cannot defend themselves, but I find it purely rubbish when people take it to the extreme. If they do not have a problem with a woman rescuing a man, then please enlighten me why they have an issue with a man rescuing a woman? Quite ironic, apparently.
And I believe that the Lord has put in our hearts, a desire to be chased after and adored. He is, after all, the most profound example of action determined by love. He has said,
“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” ~ Deuteronomy 20:4
“I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
“Do not be afraid for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep water and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown!” ~ Isaiah 43:1-2
Above all, He gave his own life for us, knowing that he would be rejected and despised. If that is not love, then I don’t know what is.
I believe, we read romance novels and books then, because the imagery of someone truly, completely loving us – faults and all, so appeals to our hearts that we are desperate to have more. We feel the need to have that hope, that there really are knights in shining armor and princes in disguise. That true, committed love is still alive amidst all of the turmoil that comes with separated families, divorce, and cheating. We need to know that and so we read continually of the love between two broken souls and how they come together as man and wife.
And the truth of the matter is, there is someone who has perfect, unfailing love. The kind that doesn’t shy away when trials or hardships come (thank heaven!). I mentioned Him earlier – Jesus, and it is completely remarkable that He loves such beings as us.
~ Southern Dreamer