I Always Cry at Weddings

I don’t do many actual book reviews here, but Sara Goff’s I Always Cry At Weddings stood out in a very particular way. You have to understand that usually I read Christian Historical Romance and even fifty years ago it was discouraged by the general population to have intimate relationships before marriage. Somehow in the past few years we have gone from that 61HmFdDarxLwonderful ideal, to premarital sex being almost expected. And it appears that is what Ava, from I Always Cry at Weddings, was also led to believe. Then she watches the deep excitement and love between a newlywed couple who have saved themselves for a real honeymoon, and her whole outlook begins to change.

I Always Cry at Weddings is the first Christian novel I have read that has really addressed premarital intimacy. Not as a “I have sinned”, but “this is something I have done, wish I didn’t do, and don’t want to do again, and this is why.”  With this theme woven tactfully into a entertaining story-line, I enjoyed this book from start to finish.

I want to thank Sara for being a voice to young woman (and everyone, really) who might question whether waiting for marriage is worth it when the media and society cry out that sex is something trivial — a fun way to express yourself. I want to join my voice with hers and say, yes it is worth waiting for! Sex is a wonderful, enjoyable, and powerful thing, given by God to strengthen marriage, and create children. It is sacred, holy, and beautiful when kept between a husband and wife as an expression of devotion and love.

So worth waiting for!

I Always Cry at Weddings: Engaged to a wealthy NYC socialite’s son, Ava is ready to set the city abuzz with her glamorous wedding. At least until she realizes her relationship isn’t what it should be. Then, in a move as daring as a red satin dress, she does the unthinkable–she calls it all off and makes a promise to God that from now on, she’ll save sex for marriage.

She’s convinced the future is hers for the taking, especially when an undercover cop promises a new romance…and an unexpected friendship with the homeless guy under her stoop brightens her days.

But when her carefully balanced life teeters out of control, weddings aren’t the only thing to make her cry. Ava has to figure out what life she really wants to live…and what in the world love really means

Interested? You can find this book on Amazon, and Goodreads.

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Historical Romance for the Modern Reader

The ideal modern romance (what every girl wants) entails attraction, dozens of dates, “hanging out” until you really know them, becoming their “best friend”, etc…etc… Often the process of making sure someone is the “right one”, or your “soul-mate”, takes years.

Sometime readers shake their heads that a romance can “happen” and the happy couple are ready to bind themselves together for the rest of their lives after only a few months…or weeks…or days! It’s as unbelievable as the heroine off  Disney’s “Enchanted” being sure of her “prince charming” and “true love” after only one day…or a brief meeting.

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But what can I say? Expectations where different “back then”.

For the sake of ease, lets look at one era. Regency. Turning to our expert in the field, Jane Austen herself, what do we see? (Not counting Persuasion 😉 ) In Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte’s example probably rings pretty true. She knew almost nothing of Mr Collins, but he could provide a good life for her and seemed the logical choice. After only a few public meetings and a short interlude, she agreed to be his wife.Pride-and-Prejudice-1995-pride-and-prejudice-1995-6196003-207-208

But that wasn’t very romantic and she didn’t actually love him, so lets look at Jane instead.

Jane was truly in love with Mr. Bingley. But then, what wasn’t to love? And she’d had ample time to judge his character. Several social gatherings, and then all those days she was sick in his house (OK, that worked out better for Elisabeth than Jane). Unfortunately Bingley was compelled to leave for London and Jane didn’t see him much before he finally proposed. But that didn’t matter. She knew him to be a good man who would treat her kindly, provide well for her, and she was attracted to him.pnp-2

But let’s dig deeper here. What about Elisabeth. By far the pickiest of the sisters, so a good thing she had plenty of social gatherings to analyse Mr Darcy, a nice stay with the Bingleys to engage in the rigors of proper conversation (only she still didn’t like him), several meetings at his aunt’s (where it all fell apart), and then restoration during her short stay near Pemberley. It helped that he was wealthy and everyone (except Wickham) said such wonderful things about him. How could she not fall deeply and madly in love with him? The question remains, how much time did they really have with each other before they were decided? PnP 1

The purpose of this examination is not to induce you to change your expectations when seeking the one you plan to spend the rest of your life with (please make sure you love them, respect them, and are their best friend), but to point out that when reading a historical romance, while we will strive to make their falling in love fulfilling and realistic…they might rush into marriage a year or two quicker then you would have.

Though, I suppose there are still great parallels between the mail-order bride…and your internet sweetheart 😉

 

 

The Fight Traditional Marriage is a Fight for the Rights of Children

Here’s a tidbit of history for everyone. Marriage used to be a union exclusively between a man and a woman…and with good reason. scan_pic0743

Nowadays everyone so busy worrying about their own rights and privileges that they forget, or perhaps they never realize, marriage is not about having rights, it’s about giving them up. Thomas Sowell, one of America’s brilliant minds put it this way:

“In the absence of the institution of marriage, the individuals could arrange their relationship whatever way they wanted to, making it temporary or permanent, and sharing their worldly belongings in whatever way they chose.

Marriage means that the government steps in, limiting or even prescribing various aspects of their relations with each other — and still more, their relationship with whatever children may result from their union.

In other words, marriage imposes legal restrictions, taking away rights that individuals might otherwise have. Yet “gay marriage” advocates depict marriage as an expansion of rights to which they are entitled.” (Here is the rest of the article)

He puts “gay marriage” in quotes because, he argues, there is no such thing as “gay marriage.” The term in itself is meaningless.

The key: It is not an expansion of rights. It is a commitment before society that you will take care of any offspring produced by the union. Hence the importance of traditional values in marriage — where it isn’t ripped apart by selfishness, nullifying the stability and other benefits of being raised by a mother and father.

Ryan Anderson, in an address to the Indiana House Judiciary Committee stated this: “Marriage is the institution that different cultures and societies across time and place developed to maximize the likelihood that that man would commit to that woman and then the two of them would take responsibility to raise that child.”

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He also stated that: “The state’s interest in marriage is not that it cares about my love life, or your love life, or anyone’s love life just for the sake of romance,” Anderson explained. “The state’s interest in marriage is ensuring that those kids have fathers who are involved in their lives.”

Click here to hear more of his amazing argument!

Last year 5 major religions banded together and wrote an amicus brief to the United States Court of Appeals for The Tenth Circuit which concluded with the following:

“Marriage, understood as the union of one man and one woman, remains a vital and foundational institution of civil society.  The government’s interests in continuing to encourage and support marriage are not merely legitimate but compelling.  No other institution joins together two persons with the natural ability to create children for the purpose of maximizing the welfare of such children.  No other institution strives to ensure that children have the opportunity of  feeling a sense of security and being raised in a stable household by the mother and father who conceived them.  Undermining the husband-wife marital institution by redefining it to include same-sex couples will, in the long term, harm vital child-welfare interests that only the husband- wife definition can secure.  The result will be more mothers and fathers concluding that the highest end of marriage is not the welfare of their children but the advancement of their own life choices.  We know, from personal experience over numerous decades of ministering to families and children, that more focus on satisfying adult needs will not benefit vulnerable children.  The societal ills caused by the deterioration of husband-wife marriage will only be aggravated if the State cannot reserve to marriage its historic and socially vital meaning.  DATED this 10th day of February, 2014” (Read more here)

I personally don’t care about other people’s love lives (except my husband’s), but I do care about society as a whole and the welfare of children. Evidence is clear that a stable home with both a mother and a father is generally the best atmosphere for a child to be raised. Marriage has never been about rights and freedoms (at least not for the adults), it is legally all about restricting those rights and freedoms. Keep your freedoms and let society keep marriage the way it was intended — to protect the children.

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What Marriage Used to Mean

scan_pic0743I have seen a growing trend among the people around me, and throughout the world, to question whether or not marriage is worth it anymore, since most of the benefits of being legally and lawfully joined in matrimony can be made available to any couple. Isn’t it just a piece of paper?

Others fight for that piece of paper and legal designation, and by so doing seek to change the fundamental precepts that marriage was founded on — aka “redefining marriage”.

With my “old fashioned” view on marriage, I find it hard to understand, or condone either of these.

This is what marriage used to mean … and what it still means to me:100_0121

First we will look at government’s stake in, and society’s purpose for marriage through most of human history.

As Thomas Sowell, one of America’s brilliant minds put it: “In the absence of the institution of marriage, the individuals could arrange their relationship whatever way they wanted to, making it temporary or permanent, and sharing their worldly belongings in whatever way they chose. Marriage means that the government steps in, limiting or even prescribing various aspects of their relations with each other — and still more, their relationship with whatever children may result from their union. In other words, marriage imposes legal restrictions, taking away rights that individuals might otherwise have.”

With this understanding it makes sense why some couples like the “just a piece of paper” argument. I mean, who wants the Government to have any say in their personal relationships? Though, on the other side of the coin, Sowell continues: ” ‘gay marriage’ advocates depict marriage as an expansion of rights to which they are entitled.” Which isn’t the case. (Read more here!)

The main focus of society’s past interest in marriage was because of the children that usually result from the union of a man and a woman. It happens.  Deal with it.  But society needed to make sure that those children were taken care of. Ryan Anderson, in an address to the Indiana House Judiciary Committee stated this: “Marriage is the institution that IMG_1109different cultures and societies across time and place developed to maximize the likelihood that that man would commit to that woman and then the two of them would take responsibility to raise that child.”

He stated further: “The state’s interest in marriage is not that it cares about my love life, or your love life, or anyone’s love life just for the sake of romance. The state’s interest in marriage is ensuring that those kids have fathers who are involved in their lives.”

 

Completely logical and good, but for most people, especially Christians, marriage means much more.

  • Abstinence before. Old fashioned, right? I don’t think so. And with all the STDs and emotional pain going around, I’m surprised more people don’t agree that waiting until the wedding night is the best policy. How nice would it be to share yourself with the love of your life and not wonder if they are comparing you to someone else? To not worry about extra procedures for your newborn baby because of common STDs you might carry. This is a shout out to teens. No, you don’t have to go there. Yes, the wait is worth it!

 

  • Complete fidelity after: In the “good old days” infidelity was sometimes the only excuse for divorce.  Taking it a step further, Christ said, ” That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (KJV Matt. 5:28). In marriage we owe our spouse fidelity not only in the physical sense, but mentally and emotionally as well. No pornography, which encompasses anything that turns you on besides your spouse–so watch those steamy romance novels and movies.

 

  • Your spouse’s help meet: Marriage is about supporting your spouse no matter what life sends your way. Remember the traditional wedding vows? “To love and honor, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, till death do us part.” The more I hear modern “vows”, the more I think they are a cop-out. A couple decides they want to write their own vows and more often then not, they end up being a declaration of love … not devotion. That sort of declaration belongs at the proposal. A marriage is about standing at that person’s side and helping them, supporting them, encouraging them, pushing them in a wheelchair, spoon-feeding them after a horrific car accident, and so much more!

 

  • Becoming one: With your spouse you should be able to share something physically (goes without saying), mentally and emotionally at a deeper level than with anyone else. For the most part this isn’t something you are going to experience in the first year of marriage, but when you look at a happy couple interact who has been together for over 60 years through good times and bad, you start to get a glimpse of what is possible when you work toward that mutual goal. When you have faced the worst and best of life at each-others side. When you can read their emotions, understand their fears, strive for the same dreams … fulfill each-other.

I am so grateful to the ones who taught me and my husband by word and deed what a real marriage was and should be!

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