Last week we wrote about the danger that TV nudity brings into our homes. That led to a discussion in our office about the other side of that coin … the dangers of so-called “romance” novels.
This is a challenging topic because it is not as “black and white” as nudity … there are many shades of gray that fall under the moniker of “romance” novel. Anything from “soft porn” with explicit sex scenes to volumes of Christian romance highlighting breathless kissing. So what is good to read? We’ve identified at least three types of dangerous fiction:
1. Erotic novels should always be avoided!
These tales are written to be sexually stimulating … and are categorized as “soft porn.” Many women find themselves more aroused by reading this material than they would be watching porn. So how is the woman who devours novel after novel different from a man who consistently watches porn? Erotica will ultimately undermine your physical intimacy … so avoid this fiction!
2. Romance novels that fuel marital dissatisfaction
If your marriage is not in a good place … and you’re reading romance to escape from your feelings of marital dissatisfaction … you’re not helping your marriage … you’re undermining it even more. Any stories that stir up, or create more, displeasure with your spouse, or your marriage, are dangerous.
3. Tales that paint an unbiblical and unrealistic view of love
Stories that portray an unrealistic, or unbiblical view of what love is supposed to be are toxic to your marriage. The characters of these stories experience love as an overwhelming emotional force that completely consumes them.
God’s design for marital love contains: eros, that same kind of romantic, passionate physical love, but it also includes phileo, the deep friendship love; and agape the unconditional, unbreakable love. The idea that a superficial, feeling based, love is strong enough to make a marriage last is truly a fairy tale where the two will not live happily ever after.
Paul, in Philippians 4:8 admonishes us to “Fill our minds with … whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.