Total Truth Thursday 01 | Marriage: Why I Don't Read Romance Novels

Mar 6, 2014

Welcome to our very first Total Truth Thursday! Kirstin and I are so excited to be starting this link-up and hope that it will be successful in creating a safe environment for us to share our opinions, beliefs, and thoughts- however strong, against-the-grain, mainstream, or out there they are! If this is the first time you’re hearing about Total Truth Thursdays, head back to this post and catch up on what it’s all about! 

Before we dive in and link up, there are a few things that you need to know: 

1 // You can find the list of topics for each week HERE 
2 // Kindness is key.Whether you follow the topics for each week or come up with something on your own, please remember that others may or may not agree with you, and you may or may not agree with them! Disagreements are natural, passionate opinions are welcomed, and constructive feedback is fine. However, we won’t put up with rudeness, ugliness, or name-calling. Just be nice! 
3 // To link-up, please follow Hey Kelsea Rae & These Moments Called Life on Bloglovin’ or GFC and copy and paste the button code to your post somewhere! We are so excited to get started! 

Today’s topic is MARRIAGE!
Want my total truth? Marriage is hard. 

Oh wait, that’s the general consensus? I thought I might have it easy today.

 I had a hard time deciding what to share today, because my marriage doesn’t just involve me but Michael, as well. I’m pretty much an open book with most people when it comes to our marriage, but there are certain boundaries that I put up out of respect for Michael. So, with that in mind, I decided on the subject and title of this post.

 If I had enough room, it would be titled “Why I stopped reading romance novels and watching chick flicks, why I refuse to read 50 Shades of Grey, and why I think Nicholas Sparks is sabotaging relationships everywhere!”.  

 I’ll preface this by saying that I am a complete romantic. Some people have one of the love languages….mine are all five! I just love LOVE. Growing up, I had this picture in my head of the ideal man.  Many of my expectations and ideas about this ideal man I truly believe are realistic and good. But you know when I realized that I needed to take the word “ideal” out of the equation? When I got married. Before you go calling me a terrible wife, let me explain. I grew up reading Nicholas Sparks. My favorite movie is Pearl Harbor. I read Christian romance after Christian romance, stories that painted the picture of this man who was pretty much perfect. He apologized at the right time, knew exactly the right moment to grab his wife and kiss her, touched her in all the right ways, and said and did all the right things. 

And you know what happened when I got married? I committed my love to a human being. One who makes mistakes, one who doesn’t always know what to say or do, and one who doesn’t even know which love language he is! And I realized, I had been feeding myself this entire world, this entire man, that wasn’t reality, who didn’t exist. I mean, yes- there are guys out there who know how to romance well, and are great at communicating, and know when to buy flowers. But even then- he’s human.  

As a newlywed, I didn’t realize this right away, and every single time I’d crack open one of those books, or watch Ryan Gosling on The Notebook, a deep dissatisfaction stirred up inside of me. This might not happen to you. But for me, I found that it altered my view of my husband and added to the list of unrealistic expectations I was subconsciously placing on him. It wasn’t fair to Michael that I was holding him to these ideas that he could never live up to. Nobody can live up to perfect!   

For many of those same reasons, I also have not, and will not, read Fifty Shades of Grey or any book like it.  I don’t see reading such a sexually explicit and descriptive book any differently than watching porn. One, my husband is supposed to be the only object of my affection, sexual attention and appetite. When I allow something other than my husband to do this, I’m creating an opportunity for emotional and physical distance.  Also, in the same way that chick flicks give me unrealistic expectations and change my standard, I believe sexual novels, and even suggestive movies, do the same. When my body and mind are conditioned to respond to these perfectly plotted situations and dialogue, they will eventually not be as satisfied by something less perfect.  It will take more and more to get the same level of initial satisfaction.  My husband should be my standard, no matter what, and especially in the bedroom. 

 I didn’t wake up one day and decide all this, and I definitely am not laying it down as law. I guess you could say I phased out slowly. I remember times I would watch the Notebook over and over again, or swoon over Ben Affleck (my husband calls him butt-chin Ben, ha!). I remember a time when I enjoyed immersing myself in the wonderful world of Nicholas Sparks. But eventually, it began to affect me. I started to not enjoy them as much because I was constantly reminded that my reality was not that perfect reality. They began to steal my real life joy.  I found myself wanting to watch an action movie over the chick flick in which the bodies were perfect and smooth, the sex was amazing 100% of the time, and nobody had to deal with the realities of daily life.  I want my relationship standards to be set by us and our faith, not culture.  

What about you? Do you find it hard to watch these perfectly played out chick-flicks and then come back to reality?  

Alright, it’s your turn! Grab the button below and link up your Total Truth! Also, use the hashtag #totaltruththursdays to share on Instagram and Twitter!


  1. Ugh, The Notebook killed it for everyone. Haha.

  2. Well, I don't plan on reading 50 Shades, and the only Sparks books I've read is The Notebook, which I thought was terribly written and horribly cheesy. Blame the editor :) But I do think the movies and TV shows messed me up pretty bad when it came to realistic expectations about how romance and sex were going to be, so I completely agree with you. It's easier now that we've been married a few years and I can know what is realistic and what isn't, but I went into it with an incorrect idea, which caused some friction in the early times of our relationship and marriage. Our first Valentine's Day together didn't go so well because of some ideas I had about what was "supposed" be, and that's why now we barely celebrate it! I don't hate V-day or anything, and I don't care what other people do or don' do, but it's easier and better for us if we just get each other cards and go get some frozen yogurt without all the expectations of a romance novel kind of day. (I know I went off about Valentine's Day, but I don't feel like it was completely off topic...) Thanks for hosting!

  3. I loved reading your perspective on this! I totally agree with you on the false expectations part as well, it's easy to fall subject to thinking that is how life is supposed to be when it's nothing like that in reality! Loved this!

  4. So good!!! I've never picked up 50 Shades of Grey for that exact reason. loving this series already!!
    thank you! :)

  5. This was so interesting. I don't read those books either and to be honest I hated Pearl Harbor the first time I watched it. I mean, every dramatic possible situation that could of happened, happened. It took foreeeeever!

    I think for me the biggest thing coming into marriage was everyone said "The first year will be soooo hard! Watch out" but thankfully it hasn't been. I sure was scared though.

  6. LOVE! I have been guilty of the feeling that my relationship is "lack luster" due to that incredibly talented Nicholas Sparks. Also, we need to submit our realistic ideas to him asap! ;)

  7. I completely agree! I have boundries when it comes to what I read and watch for exactly the same reason. (Though, when it comes to 50 Shades of Grey, I REALLY want to read it just to find out what all the hullabaloo is about - I won't because I know it would be bad for my marriage, but I kinda want to) ;-)

    I'm going to go right now and write down the rest of the linkup topics so I don't forget again!

  8. I like a good chick flick here and there, but honestly, I'd much rather have my marriage to my husband than anything I've seen out there. Because it's all fiction! They don't exist. We do and we're flawed, but we work hard to be good together. I'm very proud of my marriage and super happy with the guy I picked. :)

  9. Totally agree- I expect the same from my husband when it comes to aversion of things that make his expectations differ as well! Love.

  10. While I came to realize what real men were like eventually, I definitely developed the ideal man from reading Christian teen romance novels... (Todd Spencer, anyone??) I was fortunate enough to find a man who compliments me quite nicely and is willing to work out differences. He's definitely not the perfect, no fault, human being that the novels painted, but he loves me in the best way he knows how (even if his love language is different than mine!). In the end, all relationships are messy which is why I've come to realize that communication skills are so key...I have yet to grow these skills!

  11. this is so true! thank you for sharing this :) i have guarded what i watch/listen to/read, etc. very closely & some of my friends think it's a little crazy, but i definitely don't want anything affecting my marriage & it's so nice to see others that take that kinda thing seriously! :)

  12. I read a romance novel once in a while--but I've found that REAL life romance stories are infinitely more amazing. Because what would seem contrived or fake in a paperback inspirational romance suddenly becomes powerful when you know it's real. And the real life stories where people are flawed are amazingly interesting. Even the WAY-less-than-perfect real life stories: the 23 year old guy who got his 15 year old girlfriend pregnant, almost got charges pressed against him by her siblings, but was given the opportunity to man up and take care of his family, but didn't marry her till 15 years later--today, after 30 years of times so rough I can't even imagine, they're still together, and they're my parents-in-law, with 3 sons who are all awesome. Real love rocks, even when it doesn't.