Unrequited love? I could write a book on it. In fact, a year ago, I did! My husband was my first boyfriend, and I met him when I was a couple of months shy of thirty. By that time, I’d had a long sad string of unreturned crushes. I’ve fancied boys who barely knew I existed. You know those women who have nice guys lining up to ask them out? That wasn’t me. I only seemed to attract people with whom I had zero chemistry, while the guys I liked would chase after other girls.
At the same time, I’ve had very close platonic friendships with boys and young men who liked me a lot, but not “in that way”.
That’s one reason Eden, the main character in Hidden in Her Heart, resonates with me. Eden is hiding a lot. She’s hiding her feelings for her best friend, hiding her past, and hiding her vulnerabilities. She’s experienced a friendship with a young man whom God placed in her life exactly when she needed someone. But when she realised her feelings for him ran deeper than friendship, he was looking at another woman.
I totally got Eden’s pain when the man she loved didn’t see her the same way. But it didn’t mean she was worthless. Although I wrote a happily-ever-after ending for Eden, I know that marriage won’t happen for everyone, and a lot of crushes will end in heartbreak. Many wonderful Christian men and women will never marry.
But despite that, I still see tremendous value in writing romance. It’s a wonderful medium for showing the personal growth that has to happen for people to deal with their weaknesses, heal, and walk into the plans God has for them.
Back when I felt like I was on the shelf, overlooked and undervalued, I knew I had to be okay with being on my own, content to accept the fact that marriage might be something that never happened for me. I learned that I didn’t need the seal of endorsement of a romantic relationship to tell me I’m special. Romantic love is a wonderful gift, but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all, especially since we have our identity in Christ, and he is our primary and only unfailing source of love, comfort, and blessing.
I hope that message comes across in Hidden in Her Heart.