I write Christian Romance, the Hallmark movie channel kind of story, without apology. At a writers’ conference, we had a discussion about the “unreality” of such offerings. I put forth the thesis that we have “too much” reality in life, and we want something perhaps less realistic, but more “happily ever after,” so we can dream of a better reality.
My characters face troubles, in fact I portray heroes who “go through the Valley of Baca and make it a place of singing.” Girls in crisis pregnancy, Missy Raines in Recovered and Free A man who was abused in foster care, Nick Costas in When I Am in Your Arms. An alcoholic who abandons his family and struggles to find his way home, Ian O’Malley in Recovered and Free. A woman who was sexually abused by her first husband and is ashamed she “failed,” because she through divorce, Lisa and a grieving chaplain who was widowed, Bill Robinson, in Invisible Wounds.
None of these characters had an easy life untouched by pain, but they all share the healing of love, passionate love. God created passion. He made us passionate creatures. He is passionate—passionate about the lost, the backslider, His creation. Sacred Passion, it’s His idea, and we are made in His image.
As a mentor of young women in our Mothers of Preschoolers program since 1995, I teach young women that passion in marriage is a desirable and pleasurable necessity in marriage. I believe the marital union is sacred, but the marriage bed is undefiled. Truly believing that, I keep my characters sexually pure outside of marriage and sexually passionate once the vows are exchanged.
Like fire, well-placed passion warms and delights, and ill-placed passion consumes and devours. Passion inside of marriage can be the “glue” that holds a marriage together. If we treat it as an unholy thing and throw it around, it can burn the home down.
As passionate creatures, we both desire and need physical satisfaction. It is the third most powerful human drive, after thirst and hunger. Believing God designed this need to be fulfilled in the sacred estate of matrimony, we turn to our spouse. In the sexually licentious age in which we live, we are deluding ourselves to believe that more is better, and no commitment is necessary to enjoy “good sex.” Thinking “liberation” is throwing off the shackles of “out-moded Puritanism,” and we have successfully achieved a fifty per cent divorce rate. We have left countless children shuttled between households that value sexual gratification over the security and joy of childhood. [I do not say that a man or woman should remain in abusive relationships that destroy them. I am pointing out that most divorce is scratching a momentary itch, refusing to work harder at being the adults in the home, and dishonoring our vows and covenants.]
I am not naïve to believe this. I have lived it. I married in 1962. My husband is the father of all my children, and he is as committed to them as their mother. We have chosen to maintain our household through every storm and trial. “Happily ever after” doesn’t mean without work, sweat and tears, constant self-examination and the need to ask and give forgiveness or choosing to love when tough times come, but it is doable, and the blessings of shared history, shared family, security and, yes, passion, is a worthy goal.