Hello y’all! I’m starting off this post with some thoughts that have been running around my head as Valentine’s Day approaches, and following that I’m sharing a few of my favorite non-romance-focused literary relationships! I am completely open to continuing this dialogue if you have something to add, so feel free to comment your response or let me know what books or literary relationships you would have on a similar list!
Goodreads has dubbed this week as “Romance Week”! Which sounds fun at first, until you look around and realize that nearly everyone is doing this everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely important to invest in your relationships, especially romantic ones, and there is nothing wrong with celebrating them. These are an important part of many people’s lives. But do we all really need to hear about it and party it up for an entire week?
My biggest concern with Valentine’s Day is that it gives people a prime opportunity to worship their relationship, the idea of love, or a dream life they have created in their mind and are desperately trying to bring to reality at the expense of true identity and without a clear understanding of what love really is. While it is good to take a meaningful look at how you demonstrate affection to your loved ones and make sure they know how much they mean to you, human relationships should never be a thing of worship. It is not healthy or right to do so.
News flash: your significant other is not a god or goddess. I’ve seen this kind of language used a lot recently, and it bothers me. Not because I don’t like hearing about how wonderful your relationship is (although I admit that sometimes I don’t want to); it bothers me because I fear our society is making a habit of putting fallible people up on a pedestal and expecting them to be perfect. Or, worse yet, celebrating their failures or struggles with sin as something good. People will always fail. It is literally in our nature. Everyone, at some point, will give in to sin and fail those they love. Ignoring this fact is not healthy, even for a day. Yes, you may have found a person who seems to be perfect for you, but they are not perfect. On the other hand, dwelling on the things someone struggles with is also unhealthy, regardless of whether this is done in a critical or accepting manner.
Love is love, and sin is sin. The only one who will ever be perfect, able to meet all of anyone’s needs, and love you deeply is God. True love requires complete holiness, grace, justice, and other characteristics which we as people may imitate to the best of our ability but will never possess entirely. The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins, but this should not lead to an acceptance of unrepentant sinful behavior.
This Valentine’s Day, I urge you to take a good hard look at what you are really celebrating and its priority in your life. Support, encourage, and love your family and friends, and don’t forget where your ultimate devotion belongs.
I’ve gathered here Five Awesome Non-Romantic Fictional Relationships. Since historical romance tends to be my favorite genre, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it actually took me a short while to put this together! If you’re looking for something to read this season which demonstrates strong platonic relationships, this might give you a good starting point to work from. Note that most of these books do also feature romance, but not at the exclusion of other relationships.
My Top Five Platonic Relationships in Literature
- Anne and Diana in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – This pair of best friends has been one of my favorites since the first time I read this book! Despite the way most people view Anne and her background, Diana befriends her and remains loyal despite the adventures Anne gets them both into and pressure from others.
- Katie Parker and Mrs. Scott in In Between by Jenny B. Jones – Katie and her foster mom definitely have their ups and downs. Jones does a wonderful job demonstrating a realistic, difficult relationship in this story, and how the gospel works to make each person stronger.
- Brittany and Mac in Miss Someday by RJ Ryker – Brittany is an orphaned college student with a rough past and a dream to be a professional musician; Mac is the owner of a cafe with regular open mic nights. He does his best to look out for Brittany, but doesn’t do anything for her. She is a strong character who does whatever she can to get what she wants and needs. Their inter-generational friendship is well developed and rich. You can find my review of this book here.
- Sky and Kareem in Saving Sky by Diane Stanley – While there are other aspects of this book that I do not particularly like, the friendship between Sky and Kareem is refreshing. The children have vastly different backgrounds and lives, yet when Kareem’s family is in danger, Sky and her parents go out of their way to protect and help him. Sky’s willingness to get to know him and help him is both brave and heartwarming.
- Josey and Della Lee in The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen – It’s been several years since I read this quirky magical realism tale, but this friendship made an impression on me. Della Lee is something of a fairy godmother to Josey, but she’s also hiding in Josey’s closet. Their conversations are funny, deep, and encouraging.
What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day? Is there a platonic relationship that sticks out to you from literature? I would love to hear any and all (constructive) feedback, so leave me a comment with what you think!
Until the next chapter,
Image by Sharon McCutcheon via Unsplash.