What if you only read the same style of books, over and over and over. Would your life be changed by those books? I say, yes, it would.
Married life is not like a romance novel.
It is actually very different than the reality that is portrayed in the books.
Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful woman. She met the man of her dreams and fell in love. Trials and difficulties arose, but love triumphed everything. God heard their prayers and all problems were magically solved. The book closes with a beautiful wedding or a promise that their love would endure for the rest of time.
While the above paragraph may be a bit too satirical for some people, the truth of the story still remains. Happily ever love appears to be pretty easy to get in a book.
But the reality of that…is often quite different.Your marriage reality is far different than what you read about in Christian books Click To Tweet
You probably don’t resemble that gorgeous, drop-dead, perfectly manicured face on the front of the book.
Maybe you do. If so, congratulations!
But to the rest of the world, who has bad hair days, break-outs on their skin, and other (very normal) “flaws”. It is so hard for you to live up to that expectation of unrealistic beauty. Maybe you have stretch marks, small chested, and thin brown hair. It’s alright! Not every woman in the world has thick luscious locks of hair, perfect skin, and other “hallmarks” of so-called beauty.
However, I know that God says that I have been created in the image of God.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:27
I love how in Song of Solomon, he looks at the Shunammite woman and proclaims how beautiful she is…even though in the previous chapter she was complaining that she wasn’t pretty. But in Solomon’s eyes, she was!
You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7
Please don’t think that I am advocating that a woman never needs to comb her hair or attempt to look nice heaven forbid. But I am saying this.
When I start comparing my looks to the perfect model with immaculate make-up and professionally styled appearance, I will never match up or equal that.
However, I can curl my hair. I can put on some make-up, wear some stylish clothes, buy some nice jewelry, and if I don’t know how to do sometime I go look at someone who does a great job.
One of my favorites (and no, this is not a paid advertisement, I just sincerely like her a lot!) is Kate from The Small Things Blog. I love her simple and practical approach to styling, and easy to understand tips. If you ever need to know how to do the latest trends in make-up design or what products to purchase at the local Walgreens or CVS, she knows what works best at the lowest price.
Your husband will never match up to THAT guy.
When I was a teenager, my favorite book was Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke. Before I turned 18, I had read that book 15+ times. I loved it. The main story is about Marty, whose husband has just died, and she had to marry a widower named Clark because she had no money and no place to go.
Without realizing it, my view of a future husband became shaped by Clark. Thankfully, Clark had many good attributes. He was kind, hard worker, a good neighbor, and took really good care of Marty.
However, Clark was super quiet. Shy at times. So Marty became the more prominent figure in the marriage. In my marriage, for a long time, I thought the same way.
Because my husband tends to be quiet at times, I try (and fail quite often) to take charge.
Just because my husband can be quiet, it doesn’t mean that he is passive. He simply has a different personality, and I had trouble with my lofty level of expectations. Since the book was so ingrained in my head, without knowing it, I tried to live my marriage like Marty.
Stephen, my husband as written about here, is not a fictional character; he’s a real human being who desires to serve the Lord and be a good husband to me.
I would have had an easier time with my newlywed years if I had not been so in tune with fictional romance.
God’s role in your marriage is vital
When baking the perfect loaf of bread, all ingredients are important. One cannot leave out half the flour and expect the mixture of yeast and oil to make a good loaf.
The same goes with a godly marriage, if you leave God out of half of it or just sprinkle Him in where you want Him, it will not work. The Bible talks about this same principle from the vineyard perspective.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5
God is reminding us, that to bear good fruit (like a good marriage) we have to have a strong connection to Him!
Life is more about living than falling in love.
Love is a choice. A conscious decision. It is so easy to be “in love” when the sun is shining in your marriage and all is right with your world. But what happens when there are dark and stormy clouds? Miscarriages. Death of grandparents. Loss of jobs & steady income. Co-workers & bosses who give unrealistic expectations. Arguments and misunderstandings between you and your husband?
Where is your sun now?
As I have written before HERE, life is for the living. Not looking back with wistful thinking of the better days, nor having unrealistic expectations (that you found in a book of how your life should go), but taking each day with every issue and living life to the glory of God.
Marriage is directed by God, not an earthly author who always finds a happy ending
Have you ever stepped back and realize who is control of the book that you are reading? Of course. It’s the author. The person who sat down and wrote the book.
Now take the same question and apply it to your marriage.
Who is writing your story?
Are you writing it after the outline that God has given us in scripture? Or, are you writing it and following your favorite series of books?Who is writing your story? Are you writing it after God's word, or are your writing it just like your favorite series of books? Click To Tweet
Also, think seriously…when is the real happily ever after? The happily ever after is not on this earth. Christians are promised the goodness of the Lord now. They are promised that God will be their refuge, their rock, their strength, and their protector. But nowhere in scripture, is the happy ending here.
The ending is promised in heaven. John 14. Christ is preparing a place for us. Revelation – a new heaven and new earth. This is where our happily ever after is!
So before you pick up a quick easy read, or encourage your daughter to read a Christian romance, be careful. Just because there isn’t extreme violence, promiscuous sexual activity, or bad language….doesn’t make that style of books be the only genre that you read. Expand your horizons to Non-fiction. Go out and learn something new. Perhaps a new language, like German or French. Read a biography.
Remember, you are what you eat. And you will become what you read. If you eat (or read) only a Christian romance diet of these books, your perception will be altered.
What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments and let me know if you have seen your actions changed by the fictional books you have read.