Do you have certain phrases that a character says that immediately get your hackles up? For me, it often happens when a romance has been building up so beautifully and the characters have overcome so much and then finally comes the declaration I’ve been waiting for.
Only one of them says, “I’m in love with you” instead of “I love you.”
Every single time I feel let down. And don’t get me started when one says, “I’m in love with you,” and the other goes, “you love me?” Um, NO, that is not what they said.
These phrases mean completely different things. And when the distinction isn’t made in Christian fiction, the disappointment is especially keen. Why?
Well, let’s compare the two.
In love is only the beginning. It’s the butterflies and warm fuzzies and spark that can lead to lasting love, but in love is barely a sprouted seed in a wet paper towel.
I love you goes beyond the chemistry. It says I see you, I choose you. It holds the promise of that sprout growing roots below the soil and unfurling into something beautiful above it.
When I’m reading inspirational or Christian romance, I want my characters to fall in love. Absolutely. Maybe they realize they’re in love and that drives them to later prove the depth of their love. But the true climactic moment needs to be more than that. I want to see how they’ve developed those 1 Corinthians 13 qualities before choosing forever—in other words, is it patient, kind, humble, truthful, and willing to put the other person first?
Being in love is wonderful. But knowing someone loves you—all of you, even the parts you’re afraid to let them see when you’re in love—is glorious. And that’s what makes a truly climactic declaration in any romance. With that kind of love, their happy ending is only the beginning.
Have you given much consideration to the difference between the two phrases in your own reading? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
And real quick before I head out, I wanted to make sure you heard the exciting news! I’ve got a fun, lighthearted novella coming out soon as part of The 80s Rom-Com Club next month! If you love romantic comedies (especially movies from the 1980s!), you’ll love this set. You can pre-order it here.
Until next time, be blessed!