On Romance novels

I was doing a bit of research about “love” in order to understand the subject I write about better. Love, in many commercial romance novels, mean: “I have never desired another woman/man more than I do you.” But love, according to Stephen R. Covey in his book “The Seven Habits,” had a different concept of what love was:

At one seminar where I was speaking on the concept of proactivity, a man came up and said, “Stephen, I like what you’re saying. But every situation is so different. Look at my marraige. I’m really worried. My wife and I just don’t have that same feelings for each other  we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her anymore and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”

“The feeling isn’t there anymore?” I asked

“That’s right,” he affirmed. “And we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”

“Love her,” I replied.

“I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”

“Love her.”

“You don’t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.”

“Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”

“But how do you love when you don’t love?”

“My friend, love is a verb. Love–the feeling–is a fruit of the verb. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”

So, the love Covey is referring to here is very different to the love projected in romance novels. His definition of it means to devote oneself to the other regardless of how you feel. Whereas, the love in romance novels, is one based mainly on feelings.

What do you guys think? What sort of love would you reflect in your writing? Do you want to be a writer who will offer readers escapism or the truth?

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10 Comments

Filed under Thoughts, Writing

10 responses to “On Romance novels

  1. How true is the excerpt you posted, June! Real love is totally different from the passion and utter rapture described in those novels you mention. You can happen to live romance in your life, if you are lucky. But it has a big undeniable fawl: it doesn’t last forever. You can make only REAL love last forever, but that is made up of self-denial, self – sacrifice, generosity, support to the other. This love aims at making the other happy and this is the only real one. Of course, you have to meet someone who loves you in the same way! Utopian? No, possible.
    Of course this is not the love I try to write about, I’m not a writer. This is what I try to live!

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    • I guess that’s why literary agents see the difference between “romance” novels and “love” stories.

      Anyway, a lot of people these days (including me. I still have much to learn) equalize love to passion. So when in a relationship (especially marriage) once that romance is gone they think that their partner probably isn’t their soulmate, that he/she is still out there somewhere, and so break up and move on.

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  2. I don’t think there is a soulmate but a MATE, the mate I’ve chosen and who has chosen me to create something new: a “we”, a “family”. We struggle every day against our little disappointments, troubles, personal moods, discussions, ambitions, regrets in order to make this “us” work. But you must want it. And mustn’t be the only one to want it. Then, last but not least, you must be lucky!

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    • That’s true, it really comes down to luck.

      I don’t believe there’s a soulmate as well. But you know, Hollywood and those romance novels get to your head. You know girls, and their concept of “The One” being out there.

      Books like Jane Eyre (*sigh* I’ve read all your posts relating either to the book or authoress), in my opinion, is one of the books that have come the closest to depicting true love. Jane’s character and Rochestor’s character complement each other. If they were real, I can imagine them leading a healthy marriage.

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  3. Hey June! I guess I’ll have to argue here. I believe in fate; the first time I really looked deep into my husbands eyes I felt an amazing connection to him. He asks me what I saw in him or why I didn’t dump him after one or two dates (as I had previously done with the other men I dated). I always tell him it was meant to be. That doesn’t mean we don’t argue and have the same trouble other married couples have. I wish it could be as simple as a romance novel. Sometimes I wish people would write sequels to them, showing what life is like after the intial romance wears off. They wouldn’t sell half as well or maybe they would due to lots of conflict 😉 BTW, you did read my book on Authonomy, it’s The Convict & the Cattleman. I found your blog through your profile page & decided to follow. I still think The Runaway Courtesan is one of the best regencies I’ve ever read.

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    • Ah! Yes, Convict&the Cattleman. I remember enjoying this book a lot! And thank you for your kind words about TRC!

      Like yourself. sometimes I wish there were sequels to romance novels, it would certainly show that a relationship between man and woman isn’t sustained solely by passion. It would be interesting for someone to pull this off….. But your right. I don’t think it’ll sell too well

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  4. Love has changed it’s meaning over the years. today to much of it is sex. When I get married it was a vow to take care of her and put her need before mine. Felling only seved to bring us together. For you Christians,in the Bible God asks a man to love his wife, and a man to love her husband. God wouldn’t ask you to do something that you had no control of. Some times God refers to love as charity. It’s a comitment. I try to bring this out in my books. It is difficult. I try to do it by showing loyalty.

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    • Thanks for the biblical reference. Yes, love is at times referred to as an act of charity. It doesn’t quite sound that romantic. I do hope a writer will portray this sort of love one day. It’ll make an interest, unique read.

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  5. drtombibey

    To me love is all about loyalty.

    Dr. B

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  6. High five and a fist bump, too! I love the Stephen Covey exerpt. Thanks for posting a link on my Nicholas Sparks blog.

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