Why I Don’t Read Romance Novels

Why I don't read romance novels graphic

Some of you may be wondering why I don’t review romance novels on this blog. Or why I give lower ratings to books that have even a teensy bit of romance in them. Well, in this post, I’m here to answer that question.

My #1 reason: I don’t read romance novels because I don’t want to think about the things that they promote.

Romance novels tend to make the readers dwell on things that they shouldn’t. As an unmarried young lady, I want to keep my heart pure for my future husband, and ultimately for God. (Before You Meet Prince Charming is a great book to read on this subject!) That means that I don’t want to think about romance. Even a little bit of romance (a hug, crushes, characters constantly thinking about each other, starry-eyed smiles, you get the point) in a book could make me start thinking about what boys I “like”, or planning my wedding… and by the way, I’m still a teenager, and so I’m not going to get married for a long time- what is the point of thinking about stuff like that?? It simply distracts me from the important things in life- like my relationship with God and my family.

Even if I was married, I don’t think I’d want to read romance novels. They could cause me to become discontent if my husband isn’t as handsome as the male lead in the book, or possibly cause other problems, which I’m not aware of since I’m not married and don’t read romance novels. 😉

My #2 reason for not reading romance novels: My mom doesn’t want me to.

I am immensely grateful that my mom had the wisdom to forbid me to read romance novels. When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate it so much. What’s wrong with a little romance in a mystery novel? Now I’m realizing that she was, and is, right. As detailed above, I don’t think that reading romance would encourage my walk with the Lord.

I have been able to find only a couple of books in which there is romance which I believe is appropriate and godly. London in the Dark is one of those books; the main storyline is a mystery, and the main character gets married at the end. Before the last chapter, we have no hint that Olivia (the MC) is even interested in her future husband (unless there were hints and I totally missed them, which is possible). I also enjoyed the Courtship series by Mr. and Mrs. Stephen B. Castleberry. Jeff McLean: His Courtship was very helpful in that it outlines some requirements for a wife from the Bible; it was good for evaluating my life. The Courtship of Sarah McLean, by the same authors, was also very good.

Note: Just because I do not read books with romance in them does not mean that I look down on those who do. I have some very good friends who do read romance novels. I wanted to share my reasons for not reading books like that so that others would be challenged to evaluate their reasons for doing so, not so that they would be offended or start an argument. 😉

Well, those are my reasons why I don’t read romance novels. What do you think? Do you read romance novels? If so, why do you? Do you know of any other good books with godly romance in them? Let me know in the comments!

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17 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Read Romance Novels

  1. Hannah says:

    This is a really good post Leona!!! While I do find myself reading a romance occasionally, I don’t really care for too much. Some is okay, (I’m talking of a Christian romance book) but I find myself not caring as much for the book if its filled with romance… or I find myself making myself not care (if you know what I mean 😉… so my mind doesn’t run away from me)

    Also, thanks so much for your open view of this topic! It seems so controversial in a lot of Christian settings, and while your view was more conservative, you had an open mind and didn’t tell everyone else that if they didn’t agree, they were wrong. Thanks so much about how you approached this topic!!! ❤

  2. Kaitlyn S. says:

    I appreciated this post, Leona! When I was younger, I read absolutely no romance — more because I hated the whole guy/girl interaction, and I would just skip over it. It had nothing to do with my parents not wanting me to read it, although they didn’t =) When I was a bit older (maybe 12ish) I read an article about romance that painted it ALL as bad — even the books like the Castleberry’s Courtship Series, and books in the same category as “Before you Meet Prince Charming”. Being older now, I would say that the article was legalistic in nature (and I don’t often classify something as legalistic!) and it kinda read like “if you read a book that has any type of guy/girl interaction, mentions marriage, courtship, or any type of relationship, you’re not honouring God and you’re not really a Christian.” (which is what I appreciated most about this article — you challenging, and not condemning :D)

    It’s just been about 5 years ago — maybe when I was around 17 — when I realized that not ALL books that contain romance are bad. Now, I’m not going to read a book where the whole premise is about a couple falling in love. But if a book *happens* to contain romance in the story line, and it is based on more than superficial attributes (how she looks, how he smiles, that cute cowlick he has, the way she wrinkles her nose…..) than I’ll read it. And enjoy it, I’ve found out 😀

    Pretty much, the romance in a book (and even in a movie!) has to measure up to certain standards:
    1. The relationship must be developed through hard work and not feelings. Feelings are important, but they don’t last. And if we read books that condition us to think they will……what on earth will our expectations be when we get married?!?!?
    2. The relationship must have been started because of an admiration of virtues/character traits, and not physical appearance. Because I’m not looking for a “cute” guy, by the worlds standards, but one who loves Jesus Christ and has fruit of that in his life.
    3. Physical interaction MUST be limited. I’m not adverse to a hug, or holding hands, when done in a chaste way. But excessive descriptiveness, using smell and sight and touch and sound and taste, is just asking for my mind to run away from me. And we aren’t supposed to put ourselves into temptation.
    4. The relationship MUST be between two Christians, or two unbelievers, but NEVER between a Christian and person who isn’t a believer.
    5. The relationship must be open and honest, and not hidden from the parents/authority figures, and not disapproved of by them. Even in books when the other people do come to accept the relationship, it’s still not right. We are supposed to honour our parents, not go against them. If a guy approaches my Dad, and he doesn’t have the blessing of his parents, my Dad isn’t likely to agree to any type of relationship. (Neither am I, for that matter :D) And if a guy approaches me without my parents blessing….well, he won’t have a chance!!!

    I also find it interesting that we are told in Scripture to stand fast, and fight against temptation. There are several verses about fighting sin, fighting against our sin nature…..but Paul tells Timothy to flee youthful lust. Shouldn’t we also do the same? If something is going to cause me to be discontent with something I don’t have in my life right now (a relationship with a guy) why would I want to continually put myself in a place to doubt the Lord’s plan for my life?

    I have found few *clean* romances. More as I’ve grown older, and there are more mature themes woven throughout the book. It seems a lot of books for younger girls have a lot of crushes and “does he like me?” moments, whereas the older books have a bit less — but more sin and tempting situations. My favourite books so far have been the Castleberry’s, and “London in the Dark” was good as well. Rebekah A. Morris has several that have sweet reltionships, but no questionable situations, and “Kiera” by Kate Willis was a sweet story about true love — there was a marriage in the beginning, but other than a kiss at the very end of the book, that was it. (And the kiss wasn’t offensive at all, and between a husband/wife.) The first book in Jesseca Wheaton’s “A Question of War” series was really good, the second one had a bit more romance, and while it was good, the first one was still my favourite. The third one I can’t say, ’cause it’s not out yet. In all of these, the book was about something else, with a side trail of romance. I could think of a few more, but I have a feeling this comment is long enough!

    Anyways…..there’s my (very long) two cents worth 😀

    • Liberty says:

      Kaitlyn, that is like reading another great post, a reply to Leona’s! I find your journey both interesting and encouraging and the five points relating to qualifiers I TOTALLY agree with. Thanks for saying what I had a hard time describing below. 🙂

  3. bellesmoma16 says:

    This is an excellent post. I am not able to read secular romance novels. I’ve never liked them. They actually creep me out. Sorry to those who do enjoy them … I mean no offense. I find them unrealistic and … [edited] But, I do love Christian romances. After thinking about the difference, for me it’s because most every Christian romance I’ve ever read focuses on having the right relationship with God first before you can have a romantic relationship with a human. And, the Christian romances I’ve read focus on love … the selfless kind. I’m thinking of books by Laura Frantz, Roseanna White, Courtney Walsh, and Becky Wade to name just a few.

    I’m a high school teacher so I’m surrounded by teenagers all day. It’s exceptionally refreshing to read about a teen like you sticking to her God and her morals. I applaud you. Your parents did right by you!

  4. tracytraynor says:

    Lovely post Leona. 🙂

    If you would like something I think you’re Mum would approve of, I hope you will read Grace in Mombasa when it’s released on the 1st Dec this year. There is a tiny touch of romance in the book but unfortunately, Grace’s fiancee dies during WW2 before they can get married.

    This book is inspired by a woman I met in Mombasa, called Moira Smith, who dedicated the second half of her life to helping people who came into the Coast General Hospital in Mombasa.
    I found her life inspiring and so I have made a fictional account of it. 50% of all sales are going to the Barnabus Mombasa Outreach, to, in some way, carry on the good work that Moira started.
    I have just finished it and it is currently with the editor, I can’t wait for a fellow Christian to read it and to hear what they think.

    Anyway, just a thought…
    Wishing you all the best

  5. Liberty says:

    This is a thought provoking piece about something that is semi-controversial in my mind. I’ve always gone back on forth on the topic and in general just try to avoid romance novels so I don’t have to debate whether it’s okay or not.

    Still, there are some stories that have a little romance in them that are clean, innocent romances that I find delightful. Romances that just flow and blend naturally and beautifully with the bigger story AND have characters who are morally upright are uplifting and delightful, in my opinion.

    Thanks for opening this important discussion!


    • Leona Ruth says:

      Yes, I suppose there are some romances out there which are godly and pure, but I have not been able to find many. Are you thinking of any in particular? I’m always looking for good books! 🙂

      • Liberty says:

        You know, that’s a great question, and I thought about it for a good long while but I couldn’t remember the actual titles of any. I never was a big fiction reader and I don’t hardly read anything at all now, so it’s hard trying to think of good books I read when I was a preteen. 🙂

        I’ll let you know whether I can think of any.

        In the meantime, I have a question . . . as I’m fairly new to Great Books for God’s Girls, I haven’t had a chance to find out your opinion of The Lord of the Rings—books, not movies, of course. 🙂 The movies are another matter entirely.

        Have you done a review of LotR, have you read them, and if you haven’t reviewed them here, is there a particular reason why?


        • Leona Ruth says:

          I actually haven’t read or watched the Lord of the Rings. I don’t know much about them, either! They are fantasy, right? I’m not usually into fantasy. 😉 I did see on your profile that you really like it; why?

          • Liberty says:

            I love LotR because it’s a tale that resonates; it’s a great story even though it’s fantasy for those engaged in the very real battle for good and evil. As a conservative constitutionalist activist fighting to restore limited government and national sovereignty, and as a Christian trying to spread the gospel and further Christ’s kingdom, I find it a great encouragement. There are so many epic quotes that really make you think. 🙂 If you want to find out a little more about it, I wrote all about it here. https://libertyforeverblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/tolkiens-timeless-trilogy/

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