How would you complete the phrase above? Are you married to the small-town version of a famous movie actress, engaged to the intellectual equivalent of a Dickens or an Einstein, or dating someone funnier and wittier than a top-notch comedian? Is the love of your life gorgeous, funny, charismatic, intelligent, devout and exceptionally gifted? I mean all at once? Probably not.
What, you ask? How dare Sybil suggest such a thing? She doesn’t know anything about me or my significant other. My spouse/fiancé(e) is the crème de la crème—a pinnacle of society, an incomparable otherworldly treasure, a picture-perfect model Christian. Surely Sybil must be desperately unhappy in her own relationship. Everyone knows that misery loves company.
You’re right—I mean about the fact that I probably don’t know you. My relationship, on the other hand, is fine. As it happens, my husband is a pretty nice guy. He’s warm, he’s patient, he’s loving, and he’s sincere. But, he is also imperfect. (If you’re reading this, honey, don’t get concerned. I’m not preparing to air any of your dirty laundry… yet. :-)). For the sake of argument, I’m prepared to admit that I, too, may harbor a meager flaw, an errant weakness, a sheer trifle of a defect. (It’s a good thing my long-suffering spouse doesn’t maintain a blog. I’d hate to read what he’d post in response to that last statement.) Who am I fooling? I have more shortcomings than a twenty-page college English paper typed the night before it’s due. (And, yes, I’ve done that, too. :-D)
So, what brought this post about? Be patient, my friend. I’m getting to that. I read an article the other day, you see, about what men find attractive in women. Before you jump to any wild, outlandish conclusions, please be assured that I’m not looking for a new relationship. I was simply performing research, and I discovered that most men value the quirky, idiosyncratic things about individual women over fleeting beauty and transitory accomplishment. As an aspiring author, I’m merely searching for what sometimes proves an elusive component in romantic fiction—the element of authenticity.
When any writer fails to convince his or her reader that the man and woman whose story lies at the heart of a romance novel are “real”—that they are neither cookie-cutter perfect nor improbably flawed—the scribe sacrifices the opportunity to envelope the reader in an enriching, transcendent journey into the unknown. When a Christian author disappoints in that respect, he or she may also forfeit the chance to bring a non-believer or a backslider one step closer to the throne of grace. Consequently, it is imperative that the author seek and achieve a level of accuracy—a depth of realism, in fact—that solidifies the writer’s reputation as both a consummate storyteller and an effective minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
By the way… I knew my husband was “the one” when he preached a watershed message entitled “We Are All Ministers.” How about you?