Writing Relationships: Couples
Everyone loves a cute couple. But how do we portray them correctly in our novels? Welcome to part three of the writing relationships series. Click these links to see part one and part two if you missed them. Today's subject is couples, so let's dive in.
And a quick note: I'm using couples in this post to refer to anyone in a relationship. Whether that's dating, engaged, or married. Just thought I'd clear that up first.
Why it's Important to Show Good Relationships
Couples in our world have many problems these days. Divorce, infidelity, sex before marriage, and more. And many of these things show up in our books and movies as well. Even worse than that, they're shown as something that's perfectly normal and all right to do. Getting a divorce is a freeing decision. Having sex with whoever you want is just fine. This is both sad and wrong.
What's sad is that even Christians aren't above these things. The divorce rate between Christians and non-Christians is really close. Lots of Christian teenagers say they don't believe in sex before marriage, but over half of them will do it anyway.
That's why we need to put good relationships between couples in our novels. To shine the light of God out into the world. Give our teenagers good examples to follow and safe books to read rather than the trash that's out there now.
With that in mind, let's move on to how we can write good relationships between various types of couples.
I don't know about you, but I don't think dating is taken seriously enough these days. People drift from one person to another without really having intentions of finding someone to marry. That's why many Christians prefer to say they're courting, since it implies more serious intentions.
When you have a dating couple in your novel, make it be respectful. They should have boundaries with each other. Make them considerate to each other and not willing to drop out of the relationship for stupid reasons.
If your couple gets engaged, also take that seriously. Engagement is when you're committing to marrying someone. People shouldn't just break it off because something isn't working for them. If they want to back out so soon, maybe they shouldn't have gotten engaged.
• Nancy and Ned from Nancy Drew. Since these books are older, Nancy and Ned have a fairly good relationship. He's always there when she needs him and willing to put up with her crime solving. Nancy makes time to be with Ned as well. (Yeah, I know this is a weird example, but it was really difficult to find a good dating or married couple in books.)
• Troy and Gabriella from High School Musical. While Troy and Gabrielle aren't the best couple, they always manage to work out their problems and stick together in the end.
The way we show marriage in our novels should also improve. I already discussed some of this in my post on family, like having kind, loving parents. Here I'll talk more about the relationship side of married couples.
We should try to show the Godly ideals of marriage in any book, whether it be realistic or fantasy. Couples should be true to each other and not willing to just throw their marriage away. They should listen to each other and the wife should be willing to submit to the husband.
That last one is something I think we need to see more of as well. Today, things are all about strong, independent women. Feminists are on the rise. I'm all for women being strong and capable and having equal rights as men. But I also believe that a woman should show deference to her husband.
I know not everyone has had great parents. But that doesn't mean the couples in our books can represent what we wish things were like. There is a place for bad marriages, but it should be used with caution.
• The March sisters and their husbands from Little Women. Again, this is an older book, so it has better relationships. The girls and their husbands may be different, but they work out their problems together. (But am I the only one who always shipped Jo and Laurie?)
• Bob and Helen Parr from The Incredibles. They have always been one of my favorite movie parents. Despite the bumps in their relationship, they stick together for better or worse.
Like I've said before, bad relationships can be used in a novel. We just have to do so with care. I suggest instead that we write healthy ones that give an example to the rest of the world. Being a couple is not something to be taken lightly, but instead a serious thing. Always remember to follow what you think God would like.
Let's talk! What do you think about writing couples? Do you have anything to add? Tell me in the comments.