Friday, October 23, 2015

Not your typical love story...

I've mentioned to you that I am an avid reader. I was so skeptical of getting a kindle, but I have to say it has been one of my favorite purchases ever. I LOVE my kindle. One of the perks of a kindle is free books. I have been stocking up on free books lately and since I recently finished a children's book series, I dove into one of the free books last week.

One of my challenges to myself for this blog was to find good marriage books and I increased that challenge to good romances. So this is what I started with:

The book opens introducing us to a man who is unhappy with his life. During a trip to his hometown, the main character runs into an old love. We learn that this was "the one". Flashback to the 1970's when times were different and Shawn literally falls for the girl next door: Dawn Adele. At first what seems to be a brother/sister relationship blossoms into young love. Because of their age difference, (Shawn was 4 years older) her parents tried to keep a tight leash on the growing relationship. But choices were made, consequences happened and because of huge hurdles, Shawn and Dawn spend 31 years apart before they find each other again. 

I will say that I finished this book in one sitting. That normally only happens if a book is that good. The funny thing was it was pretty good, but not great. I found his writing style a bit lacking in detail and very matter-of-fact. However, he was a good storyteller. I had to remind myself that this was a true love story. That it really happened. I really felt for him during some rough times he experienced and hoped he could find happiness. I did find it hard to connect with Dawn. She also wrote a book and tells this story from her point of view and I think I may read it. I would like to learn what she was going through during their separation.

I would recommend this love story. While reading it I couldn't help but reflect on K and I's past and the trials we have overcome together and how far we have come. He also had strict parents since he was an only child and I was his first girlfriend. His mom had him late in life and he was her everything. At the time, I didn't see how she was trying to protect him. All I knew was that I wanted to be with him and she was a barrier. But for 6 years, I was determined to stick through the strict rules. Of course, we didn't always follow the rules.

We were also friends first before we started dating. K has always been my best friend. I can tell him anything. When his mom and dad would go to car shows (they used to own an old 1940's Ford they would enter into shows), we would stay on the phone for hours talking about nothing and everything. 

I thank God that we persevered and stayed together during the rough times while we were dating. But we didn't face consequences like Shawn and Dawn did. This book even sparked some good conversations about the past that we had never addressed before. And I can say that my mother-in-law and I now have a good relationship. She now knows that I love her son with everything I have and I take good care of him. We have overcome a lot as a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.

I would encourage you to take this trip down memory lane with Shawn. It's a very interesting read. It wasn't great, but he will wrap you into their story and you will definitely want to know the outcome. I would give it 3 stars.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Dangers of Romance Novels

I completely forgot I was supposed to review romance novels and movies from time to time. It completely slipped my mind. With reviewing marriage books already, I forgot about it. Unfortunately, I haven't read a romance novel in a while or seen a chick flick. I promise to get back to this idea, I will make it a point to review a book or movie once or twice a month. It will be fun. But...I felt the need to share my thoughts with you on the subject. Again...

I read this wonderful blog post about lies romance movies tell us, and she was so right! I had to comment right along with her. I love a good romance...they have a feel good feeling and you always root for the heroine and hero to end up together. There are always obstacles standing in their way, and most of the time they fight the odds and end up together. I have to admit, it feels good when we read how they fall together and end with a happy kiss. 

Here's the danger of romance novels and what they don't address and what they don't cover:

  1. We wish our men were like the hero: Most of the men depicted in romance novels are the same. Handsome, rich, successful, romantic, and so on and so on. As it's fun to read about these heroes, we chose the men we are with for many reasons and it is very dangerous for wives to fantasize about how they wish their husbands could be more like the character in the story. I have even seen things on pinterest or facebook with sayings like "I wish my husband was more like Mr. Darcy" (Pride and Prejudice) or "Every man should have a little "Christian" in him (referring to Christian Grey). We chose our real men for our own reasons, and appreciate who they are; not what they aren't. Because these characters aren't real.
  2. Sex does not happen like that: Making love is a sacred bond between a husband and wife. I plan to devote a series to this topic, but I have to do some more research and praying about it, because it is something that is talked about so much, but not in the right context, especially for a married couple. And I want to share with you how important sex is to a marriage. In romance novels and movies, the couple falls together and everything is perfect. No problems, she is always ready, and they both achieve happiness. HA. Here again a danger lies because we start to think we are doing something wrong or something is wrong with us or wonder why our husbands don't act like that. What they fail to show is the realness of making love. The weird sounds, the times we may not be in the mood, some problems that happen...making love isn't perfect. But, it's a beautiful experience for a couple and all of the weirdness and hiccups that aren't shown are what makes it fun. 
  3. The romance: There is so much I can say about this topic. In the novels and movies, men are depicted as romantic heroes who sweep their women off their feet and carry them off into the sunset. Sigh. Romance can be displayed in many different ways, and most of the time for real wives, it's the small things that matter. Sure, I love when K brings home a bouquet of flowers to me and he will score major points with that. But does it happen often? NO. What does happen is he works hard and takes care of me...makes me laugh and I know the safest place in the world is in his arms. That to me is romance. Look for the small things your husband does for you. That is his way of displaying romance.
  4. Feelings and being in love: This is something that the post addressed as well, and I wanted to add to it. Most romance novels and movies show that as long as you are in love and you feel a certain way, it will all work out. As she states in her blog post, what isn't shown is the commitment that goes hand in hand with love. I have read so many times that a marriage has ended because "they just didn't love each other anymore". This is just my opinion, but I think it's because of what Hollywood tries to tell us through their love stories and movies. That as long as you are in love, things will be ok. But fights happen, hard times hit, we get sick. Then when they "fall out of love" they hunt for that feeling of "newness" and being in love. The truth that isn't shown is that the butterflies and feelings of "being in love" fades. The hard work that goes along with a successful marriage is never shown in the movies. What makes true love happen is the choice to love your spouse through the fights and ugly times. True love is the commitment to stick by them when hard times hit. That my readers, is real love. Being in love with your spouse can be found when these hard times fall. Focus on why you loved them in the first place. Or here's an little things for them to show them you love them. Choose to love your spouse everyday.
  5. Sometimes uglyness is shown: I wanted to dive into this a little romance novels and movies, most of the conflict that is shown is what is keeping the couple apart and what stands in their way. But, in real relationships...fights happen. Arguements keep us from feeling connected and battles must be resolved. There are also hard times that couples go through: loss of family members, financial crisis, chronic pain, and sickness. All these things are to be fought together. Real couples fight all these battles together to find their way back to a common ground. And if you are like K and I, you pray through these rough times. God helps us through it.
My mission wasn't to burst anyone's bubble or ruffle anyone's feathers...I love fiction. I love to read a great story that will transport me into another world. But I remember that all this is just that...fiction. The same has to be remembered with romance stories and movies. We have to remember that our relationships are real and that what is depicted on screen or on the page is not. 

Until next time, have a great day!