Like the other authors here, I’m all about romance. But I’m also all about real love–the kind that lasts well past where we end up typing “The End” in our books. I’m incredibly blessed to come from parents who have been married 50 years this June and to have married a man whose parents just hit 43 years of marriage. And there’s a long line of long marriages behind both of those couples as well. One of the best things about having seen these long marriages all through my childhood is the realization that marriage isn’t always sunshine and puppies.
When my husband and I got married, we didn’t opt to have 1 Corinthians 13 read, but I still love it as a reminder for what marriage is, particularly verse 7, which says “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
My writing tends to focus in on some of those aspects of romance. Maybe it’s because I’m an odd blend of romantic and realist. Maybe it’s simply because I’ve had to watch too many times as friends discover that the Disney Princess mythology can only take them so far–and that after that fades and the bloom is off the rose, so to speak, love is hard work. And so my first three books are contemporary romances that have some incredibly flawed characters whose journey to love is fraught with a need to bear, believe, hope, and endure all manner of things.
My husband and I will have been married 19 years this August. Hands down, the hardest times in our married life were when we began trying to start a family. Infertility is never one of those things you expect to have to face. And it’s hard when you find that it’s part of your journey. It creates so much stress–stress that’s amplified by raging hormones during treatment–that it’s hard to keep your romance alive in the midst of it. And when you come out the other side, whatever form that takes, some dimensions of your relationship have changed. Because you’ve experienced first hand what it means to bear and endure all things in the face of incredible hardship.
Looking back on our journey, now that I have some time and distance from the pain, I realized this was a story worth telling. And so my latest release was born. Though not technically a romance, since the main characters are already married, there’s a good bit of romance in there. My hero and heroine struggle to keep their love and faith alive in the midst of the miscommunications and discontent that comes when infertility rears it’s head.
In the end, I’m grateful for the trials my husband and I have walked through together. It’s made us stronger as individuals and as a couple. Have you been through something in your real-life romance that was terrible at the time but you can look back on and see how it made your love stronger?
Andrea Cox says
Lovely post, Elizabeth. Congratulations, though a bit early, on your 19 years of marriage. You’re well on your way to continuing the tradition both your families started generations ago. What a neat legacy!
My own romance hasn’t begun yet (well, it started the day God created the world, but the guy isn’t in my circle of friends yet). Every trial I face seems to refine my character. Each time I break down in tears or stand firm in my faith, God holds me to the flame, letting the dross fall away, leaving behind the woman of character He’s been dutifully crafting. I’m eager to see the final product I will become, but I have a feeling there are many more hurdles to jump and brier patches to tumble into before I get there. That journey will be something in itself!
Elizabeth Maddrey says
Thanks, Andrea. I love your perspective!
Cathy Bryant says
Well said, Elizabeth. Love is hard work. Thanks for the reminder… :)
Erin Unger says
I too have parents who’ve been married a long time. They are coming up on their fortieth year anniversary. My husband and I are also celebrating out nineteenth wedding anniversary in May. It’s like you said, it’s hasn’t been wonderful and great all the time but it’s been worth the ride. We’re each other’s best friend and we do everything together. Thanks for the post Beth.