I’ve read a lot of inspirational romances and read descriptions of countless others, and one trend stands out to me, especially in Loved Inspired romances: widowed heroines who had lousy marriages before their husbands died.
All those stories make me wonder if there’s a reason for such a theme. Yeah, it’s cool that she meets the man of her dreams the second time around, but why did her first marriage have to be one of little love, possibly abuse, and likely an irresponsible husband? What’s wrong with her having a very happy first marriage with a man she was madly in love with and his death being a devastating event rather than a relief?
Now, I have read a few second-time-around romances where the first marriage was a happy one and devastated the surviving spouse. One book that comes to mind is Chance’s Return by Lucy Naylor Kubash. The heroine had a happy marriage and was terribly upset by the sudden loss of her husband. Another book is Learning to Let Go by Elizabeth Pina. The hero in that one is a widower who was madly in love with his wife and was devastated when she died.
To me, stories like Chance’s Return and Learning to Let Go provide great internal conflict for the hero and heroine. Think about it. If you were madly in love with your spouse and he or she died, it would be terribly difficult to believe you could ever love again or that you should love again. Would it be unfaithful to your first love to remarry? Could you ever love another the way your loved your first spouse? Can the new love live with knowing how much the dead spouse meant to the widow or widower?
There are so many possibilities for inspirational romances that go outside the “unhappily married, relieved to be widowed” kind of themes. I like seeing the internal struggle of one who loved and was loved attempt to heal from the loss of the spouse and accept that he or she can love again, and love just as strongly.
What do you think? Do you prefer the standard unhappy first marriage or would you like to see more happy first marriages in the “love the second time around” stories?