Did you watch the 19 Kids and Counting episode featuring Jill Duggar’s wedding? Have you read up on the details of Jessa Duggar’s wedding? Did you watch the engagement episodes?
Do you have any clue who I’m referring to?
The world—or at least those who watch TLC or read People (I don’t)—is fascinated by how two women from Arkansas chose to court and marry their now-husbands. As an admirer of all things romantic (and I do mean romantic, not lustful), I’m swept up with the Duggar weddings.
Let’s talk about the courtships (what I consider a synonym for dating) first.
Jill traveled across the world to Nepal to meet the guy she ended up marrying. Across the world, people. While their meeting was a tad awkward, it was also one of the sweetest things I’ve ever watched. The two spent time together, Jill’s dad acting as the buffer, and ultimately their friendship shifted into courtship. Derick (Jill’s now-husband) presented her with a necklace and asked to court her. She said, “Totally!”
Jessa and her special guy Ben had a simpler meeting at church, but that doesn’t lessen their story. After courting for a little while, separated by distance, Ben moved close to Jessa in order to “speed up” their courtship.
Both couples never held hands, much less kissed, before they were engaged.
Oh, and let’s consider those proposals. Derick had a song written for Jill. Ben directed a scavenger hunt for Jessa. So for anyone who thinks a couple has to be touchy to be romantic, I dare to disagree.
Jill’s wedding might’ve been labeled low-budget, but how does one have a low-budget wedding with 1,000-2,000 guests? I’m not sure, but the event was beautiful. (From my TV screen, at least.) Pickles and root beer floats, a barefoot bride, the groom’s sick mother in attendance, the first ever kiss…all romantic.
I didn’t attend Jessa’s wedding (I’m sure my invitation must’ve gotten lost), but the pictures and articles have me longing for that wedding episode. She and Ben chose not to share their first kiss in front of their guests, a choice I find refreshing and understandable. Jessa’s dress was beautiful. Like, I might have to borrow it from her one of these days.
Why does all of this matter to the romance novelist?
Because romance is not the physical. I’ve read books written by Christian authors that I couldn't finish which is unfortunate and unnecessary. Romance isn't lips and muscles. It isn’t an attempt to get as close to crossing that line as possible without doing so.
A guy choosing to wait to hold his girlfriend’s hand until they’re engaged is romantic. A girl flying across the ocean to meet a guy she could potentially fall in love with is romantic.
Tension can spring from so much more than physical contact.
I love love stories. There’s something about them that hooks me. Makes my heart squeal.
But only if the book is about more than how attractive the hero thinks the heroine is. Because if the relationship is based on that, I doubt the couple will survive long after the “I Do”.
What do you think? If you haven’t already, do you want to watch the Duggar weddings?