The beating heart of romance undergirds every word of Song of Songs, illustrating the beauty of God’s plan for love and marriage. I believe this book of the Bible holds a message the hurting world needs to hear.Christians shine Jesus’ light in darkness. We feed the hungry, house the homeless, and tend the sick. Yet, when it comes to the world’s twisted view of romance, we too often cover our eyes and slink away, offended by debauchery but too embarrassed to proclaim God’s truth about romantic love.In the verse above, however, the beloved seems unembarrassed to proclaim her truth: she belongs to her lover. She knows he desires only her.As a writer of Christian romance, a popular genre among Christians and non-Christians alike, I long to represent male-female relationships with the authenticity of the Song of Songs woman. In order to portray romantic love accurately, my characters need to feel a balance of belonging and desire.Christian romance writers depict belonging with excellence. Our characters belong to each other and in a new or deepened relationship with Jesus by novel’s end. However, human belonging without desire equals friendship. Christian romance is more than friendship, as demonstrated in Song of Songs.Desire is an important part of the romantic equation. Portraying desire on our pages is difficult. An overemphasis on desire risks offending God, our readers, and our own sensibilities. However, a lack of desire dilutes the above verse to “I sorta like him, and he thinks I’m pretty nice.” I don’t think nice represents the longing of Song of Songs, a strong desire that, before marriage, knows when to draw closer and when to pull away.If we seek God’s help and write with prayer, we can find the balance between belonging and desire in our fiction, sharing God’s plan for romance. We can write the exhilarating journey to the altar. We can depict that romantic love between a godly husband and wife is unparalleled among humans in its beauty and power.Do you hear the voice of the Song of Songs maiden echoing through thousands of years as she proclaims her truth? Let’s share her message. The world needs her healing words desperately.
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Gwen Stewart is a novelist and music teacher wholoves Jesus, her family, and words written and sung.