Valentine’s Day is almost here. Big whoop! Sorry to burst your love bubble. I’ll be the first to admit that this is not my favorite holiday. Gasp! Blasphemy!!! The romance writer is Anti-Valentine’s Day? Not exactly. From where I sit I see a lot of expectation that doesn’t usually live up to the hype. A lot of broken hearts. A lot of unrealistic romantic ideals that crash and burn. And I’m not just saying that for me personally. I am loved by a wonderful, kind, God-fearing, gorgeous, more-delicious-than-chocolate man and have been for about a decade… and yet I still have a rather tempestuous relationship with Valentine’s Day.
This year is particularly disturbing because… well… when we’re hoping to see flowers and sweet things for your sweet thang, heartfelt words and shiny gifts, affection and fidelity, we are seeing something much darker. The polar opposite. In fact, the dark shadow that is polluting everywhere from local schools to your pharmacy, your nail salon to your movie theatre is a certain blockbuster sized shadow of abuse and manipulation masquerading as a love story. And this is anything but harmless entertainment.
Now, this is not a post about 50 Shades, though Lord knows there are a heck of a lot more than 50 things I have to say on the subject. Don’t get me started.
It’d be easy to say, with the disillusioning of our society and the rise of things like BDSM and “Rape Culture” that romance in its traditional definition is a thing of the past. But let me tell you why real romance never goes out of style. It’s because innately we are all looking for connection and quite simply…
Romance bonds us.
Poor choice of words? Oops! My bad. I’m not talking bound and gagged and beaten. Yeah, doesn’t sound very romantic, huh? I digress.
Where was I? Oh yes, the bonds of Love. ;)
When we read romance we remember or we dream of that bond that might start as fascination, friendship, yearning, and then becomes something more. We are brought back to those beautiful, blissful, terrifying moments of falling. We identify with the characters. We sympathize with their journey. Their plight. We step outside ourselves and form a kinship with another. We bond. (THIS RIGHT HERE IS WHY WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL WHAT WE READ!)
And fiction aside, real-life romance bonds us to our other half. It’s what separates friends from lovers. I don’t long to be bonded to myself. I long to spend the years of my marriage finding ways to be bonded more intricately with my husband. YES, we’re already married, so he’s basically already won me over. He put a ring on it. Done deal. But folks, romance doesn’t end there. And if it has YOU AND YOUR HONEY need to work on learning each other all over again. It’s not too late. Start now. Start with romance.
Romance isn’t just for women, people. It’s like glue with muscles that keep strengthening the bonds, drawing them ever closer, holding them tight when storms threaten to tear them apart. Romance nurtures all these interconnected threads in a relationship. Romantic words, actions, and intimacies expose the inner workings of our hearts. They bolster and show value. And when we’ve stripped away all pretense, showing our barest need, when we’ve become our most vulnerable selves, it’s that shared romantic connection that helps establish and re-establish trust. Simply put, romance keeps us in tune with each other.
THIS is what I LOVE about writing romance. It reminds me that I don’t just want to be on the receiving end, but that it is my duty and my privilege as a wife to GIVE romance to my husband. I get to be the closest friend AND the lover. I get to give support and be supported. I can be schmaltzy and encouraging, and even wild and kinky if I wanted to. (A bunch of you just slammed on the brakes right there---Deep breaths. This post is rated PG-13.)
ROMANCE ISN’T DEAD because it’s not between you and everyone else in that theater. Not between you and your friends. Or even your family. It’s not between you and anyone or anything else but your spouse. ROMANCE IS PERSONAL. God designed it to bond TWO people in the most intimate of ways. Physically, spiritually, emotionally. And because we will always desire real connection even more than trendy books or trendy sex, I think it’s safe to say romance will survive this blip.
So… since the greatest, most timeless love story ever written is about the ONE who loves you so much he gave his life, the ONE who chases after your heart and romances you unceasingly, on this bleakest of Valentine’s Days—one that would probably make Saint Valentine roll over in his grave—I, Amy Leigh Simpson, declare ROMANCE LIVES!
Go forth, write, live. Get your romance on! Valentine’s Day and every day. <3
Let's tell some stories... Do you remember your most romantic Valentine's Day? What made it so special?
Amy Leigh Simpson is the completely exhausted stay-at-home mama to the two wild-child, tow-headed toddler boys, one pretty little princess baby, and the incredibly blessed wife of her hunky hubby.
She writes Romantic Suspense chalked full of grace that is equally inspiring, nail-biting, and hilarious. And a little saucy! Okay fine, a lot saucy. :) She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and now uses her Sports Medicine degree to patch up daily boo-boos. Her greatest ambitions are to create stories that inspire hope, raise up her children to be mighty warriors for Christ, invent an all-dessert diet that works, and make up for years of sleep deprivation.
She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc.