How to Write Romances that Glorify God – guest post by Kellyn Roth

I’ve always been a huge fan of romance novels, but it’s only in these past year that I’ve begun sharing the romances I write with the world (the first being At Her Fingertips and the second the novel I’m releasing this week, Beyond Her Calling).

Like I said, I’m a big reader of romances, and my favorite subgenre is Christian historical romance.

Why is this? Well, the “historical” part is obvious—I love history, I write historical fiction, and of course I want to immerse myself in it.

But Christian? Is that because I’m a snobby person who only wants to read Christian books with strong Christian content about strong Christian people?

Well, no. And truth is, even if that was what I wanted, a lot of Christian historical romances don’t really fit the bill. They run on the cheesy side, and the Christian content can be barely existent or even not there at all.

The label is sometimes the only thing that makes them Christian.

And I’m okay with that for the most part.

I know, I know: if you’re a Christian who writes, you obviously want to glorify God through your writing! And that can be by including fifty Bible verses, mini sermons, and strong Christian characters.

But I don’t think that’s the only way you can glorify God through your romances.

There’s actually an element missing in many Christian romances—and that is, well, a Christian romance.

By that I mean that the characters’ relationship is focused on God as well as the characters themselves and how well they get along. Not on physical attraction or feelings that may or may not last out the next fifty years.

Here are a few elements that I felt portray this personal relationship between the characters themselves and between the characters and God.

First, check out what God says on the matter.

The Bible contains chapter upon chapter about what love truly is as well as what it’s not. In your romance, you want to show the hero and heroine showing true love towards each other based on Biblical principles.

A couple of my favorite verses are:

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
~Ephesians 5:25

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
~1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
~John 15:13

Second, don’t focus all on the physical—but don’t feel like you must ignore it.

Of course, it’s not really going to glorify God to write a steamy scene between two individuals. We all know that.

But neither is it all right for the only thing keeping the couple together be his chiseled abs and her big blue eyes. Let them actually learn to love each other.

After all, they have to spend the rest of their life together, they presumably won’t always feel/look so fabulous, and what is a husband but a best friend? So let them be best friends.

But what about kissing? Or attraction? Or all that good (realistic!) stuff.

Well, in my opinion, there’s not a thing wrong with writing two characters who are (naturally) attracted to each other.

Now, everyone must develop their own standards for what they’re okay with in their novel. There is no right or wrong up to a certain point. Come to your own conclusions through prayer, Bible-reading, and consultation with trusted folks.

I know people who don’t want their characters to kiss before they’re married. Others are fine with writing out kissing and even will go into detail.

One good rule of thumb I read was “if I’m not comfortable sitting in a room where a couple is displaying physical affection [or if I wouldn’t do this in front of someone else with my boyfriend/husband or girlfriend/wife], I won’t show it in my novel.”

However, even that is going to vary because some people are more sensitive about PDA (public displays of affection) than others.

My personal rule is that I don’t want to go any further than a couple kisses. When I write kisses, I personally prefer to focus on the emotions rather than physical sensation, and I don’t like them to go on for paragraphs. In my opinion, that’s boring and unnecessary. You can get the idea across in just a few words.

I have nothing against premarital kissing myself—it’s just not how I was raised, and I don’t see anything Biblical myself to say otherwise. 😉

Another huge variance to this whole dilemma is the characters themselves.

In At Her Fingertips, it wouldn’t make a lick of sense for Alice, who is quite the conservative Victorian lass and frequently states her distaste for physical touch, to throw herself into her sweetheart’s arms—and neither is her sweetheart the kinda guy to ask it of her!

In Beyond Her Calling, though, Ivy and Jordy share a few kisses because that is simply what these characters would do. Both are impulsive and emotional, and neither much care for societal conventions.

But what matters in this whole debate is not what is appropriate—there is some leeway to be had, though obviously writing sex scenes is out of the question—but rather what you are personally comfortable with and feel is right to write!

Third, ask married folks for their advice!

If you’ve never fallen in love or gotten married, it’s a good idea to ask someone who has!

And I’d say ask for several different stories! Don’t just stick with one person. Maybe even ask a couple folks to look over your novel. It can’t hurt!

People are generally quite friendly, and a lot of people like talking about their own “love stories.” Don’t be afraid to ask!

Now, these are just my personal beliefs, and I understand that everyone may not agree with them. You have to create your own standards—as well as consider your audience, etc.

Thanks for reading my post, and thanks for hosting me on this blog!


Kellyn Roth


  1. What a lovely article! I also sometimes write Christian romance, though in the contemporary genre right now. I don’t have a problem writing a sweet kiss, but I wouldn’t write a sex scene, as I don’t care to read them and find them inappropriate for the Christian genre. I recently read Beyond Her Calling, as part of Kell’s blog tour, and I thought the kisses Ivy and Jordy shared were sweet, charming, and just right. Thanks for keeping it real and sweet, Kellyn!


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