I’m always afraid my heroine will be too weak because I think I am. But I am discovering that I’m not. So I don’t sky-dive or climb mountains — literally — but stepping out in faith on this writing journey is brave — and a bit of a free-fall. Is God there with a safety net? You bet He is. The Bible tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) He catches us when we fall; He guides us along a path or up the mountains in our lives — literal or figurative.
Most of us don’t see our own competence, or if we do, we minimize it. No problems identifying our own faults though, and often we use a magnifying glass, skewing them out of proportion. While we may be blinded to our strengths, the people who love us have a different vantage point, seeing a different picture. Sure, they notice our shortcomings, and sometimes that causes friction. But they also look beyond our quirks, finding the greatness in us, gently nudging us forward, encouraging us to trust ourselves and our gifts.
My husband is always the one who points out my strengths and cheers for me. I hope I do the same for him. His abilities and gifts amaze me and I feel so blessed to share my life with him. But readers needs to see that from my heart, to love him as I do.
That’s part of the dynamic in a romance — real or fictional. The other person sees the competence in the one they love, encouraging them in those areas, lifting them up, to see the same beautiful view. That’s how they “make each other better people.”
They say opposites attract and it’s true. We tend to look for qualities in others that we admire. In a romance, this is how two characters “complete” each other. A person who is cautious might need a brave soul, or a free-spirit might enjoy a reliable, steady presence. In my case, a person who is always late (me) needs a prompt individual (not me).
They do, also, need to have a lot in common — such as shared values and goals — but having differences, and strengthening them in each other, is essential. It’s part of “why” they belong together. The friction it causes can feed the”why not,” as you weave your characters’ lives together. It’s a balance.
So if you think your heroine might be less than Supergirl, try looking at her through the eyes of the hero, pulling out those qualities that made him fall in love with her. People don’t have to be perfect to be great — or to be loved. Show those endearing qualities to your reader. It blesses me when I see myself through my husband’s eyes. Touch your readers’ hearts through the hearts of your characters.
Following God’s call on her heart, Melissa Isaksen writes Christian romance. She lives in Washington State with her hero husband, and their two children.