Fantasy - Fiction - Historical Fiction - Young Adult

Realistic and Respectful Romance

romanceThe man, the woman, or the look that says so much between the two: romance shouldn’t have to just reside in grocery store romance novels or anything from Nicholas Sparks.

A growing trend in Christian fiction today is romantic fiction, a genre that thrives on endearing, appropriate romance and that has made household names of authors Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury and Dee Henderson.

Yet a challenge that is always in the background of Christian romance is conveying realistic romance without tittering on giving too much detail. It’s drawing the line between sweet kisses shared on a moonlit doorstep, to full coverage of the activities in the bedroom.

What authors need to remember when it comes to Christian romance is that the romance is not just shared between a man and a woman, but with God as well. This warrants being more aware of how a romantic relationship—even fictional—is depicted in one’s novel that honors God and stands firm on the belief that the body is His holy temple.

First off, when writing your romance novel, try to leave out graphic descriptions of the bedroom in your story. There is nothing wrong with hinting that a married couple, for example, went into the bedroom, but to then discuss personal aspects of the physical love shared between the couple could become a little uncomfortable for readers.

To balance this scale of romantic decency, it is also important to not make the main romantic relationship in your story so overbearingly loving and sweet to where it will be more of an irritant to readers versus a genuine model of a believable courtship. Dial down the pet names, dopey love looks and drawn-out paragraphs of proclaimed love for significant others. Remember that readers can’t visualize this relationship occurring in real life if it plays upon every woman’s ultimate fantasy of the perfect boyfriend/husband.

Instead of focusing on just the physical side of a romantic relationship, use examples from the talks, the feelings, and the moments you had with your spouse, the “they’re the one” moments, which will develop the characters’ relationship. If you are single, let the romance embody what you hope your potential spouse will be like and how you will face issues that come up in the relationship; such as determining safe boundaries while dating, handling fights or how to overcome obstacles that are meant to hinder your budding romance.

Readers will enjoy witnessing the first kiss, lingering gaze, or innuendos leading the story’s featured couple toward the honeymoon night, but they will also enjoy seeing the true-to-life situations the couple will face that characterize the real romance shared in a marriage ordained by God.


Blair Townley joined the Xulon Press family as a Staff Editor in May 2013, helping first-time authors prepare their treasured manuscripts for publication. Prior to Xulon Press, she previously worked as a staff writer/editor for several Central Florida-based magazines over the past decade. What Blair enjoys most about writing and editing is getting to help others share their stories, helping others see themselves as the unique individuals God created them to be.

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