The Romance Writers of America report that Americans spend over $1 billion annually buying romance novels. This represents a 34% share of the US fiction market and most (84%) of the buyers are female.Every romance novel has 2 basic elements – a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.
- The love story centers around people falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. There may be other subplots, but the focus of the novel is the love story.
- The ending finds the struggle is successfully resolved with emotional justice and unconditional love.
Several years ago, my brother-in-law and I were watching a chick flick with our wives. We stopped the movie at mid-point for a bathroom break and my sister-in-law asked me how I thought the movie would turn out. I knew: The lovable heroine would eventually discover the tall, rich, handsome guy she was dating was a secret scoundrel and she’d marry the ordinary looking fellow who truly loved her all along – the one she initially rejected. As I see it, this is the foundational plot line of every romance novel and chick flick. My sister-in-law was surprised that my movie prediction was spot on.
Why are romance novels and chick flicks so popular? What is the secret of their appeal?I think they symbolically tell the story of the romance between God and mankind. We’ve all been seduced by the good looking suitor with the smooth tongue and the promise of oh-so-much. But waiting in the wings is the One who truly loves us. The Gentleman Who won’t force Himself into our lives.
The romance novel reader can see the dangers of dating the scoundrel. The reader knows why he isn’t THE ONE. The reader turns the page with suspense, hoping the heroine will come to her senses. But “love” has blinded the heroine’s eyes to the truth, just as the “god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” preventing them from seeing the truth. (2 Cor. 4:4)
Our lives are romance novels. The first element of the romance novel is about people, love and struggles. Don’t we all struggle with that? Don’t we all have challenges loving God, being loved by God, loving others, conflicts with friends/family? One of the main focuses of our lives is seeking that second element of the romance novel – the emotional justice, the unconditional love, the optimistic ending.
One of the many blessings of RLI is the opening of blind eyes. We see the deceptions we’ve come to believe and we can understand the root cause of our pain. But RLI does so much more than just identify the problem. Recognizing is just step one. Repenting and renouncing gets us to that unconditional love ending that we’re all seeking.