Friday, March 06, 2009

Romance Stories--Just What The Doctor Ordered

The most common description of a romance novel is the Happy Ever After. The courtship of a couple has a satisfying ending that speaks of a lifetime of romantic bliss. Whether the romantic themes in a novel inspire fantasies of real life experiences or soothe our souls, these stories have a purpose beyond the obvious.

Recently there was a CNN article titled: Unhappily Ever After: Why Bad Marriages Hurt Women's Health. The premise is that the stress of a bad marriage causes physical symptoms in women that lead to overweight in the abdomen, rise in the blood sugar, and high blood pressure. As women, we focus on the relationship and suffer deeply when it's not working.

The CNN article isn't advocating that more couples should divorce. Instead it shows that, if a relationship is hazardous (physically or mentally), then there will be physical consequences that are more likely present in the woman, than in the man.

Here's my take, as a non-medical or non-psychiatric, romance author. While exercise and counseling are advised and I wholeheartedly agree with such a remedy, I would also offer the average romance novel as a supplement.

The romance novel is like a power-packed, multi-vitamin. A woman would read a story that suggests ways to appreciate her mate and how she should be respected and not be taken for granted. She would read about sensitive heroines who trust their mates with their secrets, who aren't afraid to say what's on their minds, who share what they want in life, in bed, or in their hearts.

A woman could see a heroine who mirrors who she is or at the very least, some part of her. Maybe that heroine is who she wants to become. Immersing herself into the story, the woman can learn solutions to challenges that will test any union. She can seek that mentor, best friend, supportive extended family that provides a sounding board or good counsel.

But on the most basic level, a romance novel allows for a few hours to escape and enjoy a story that makes her sigh with satisfaction. What better way to de-stress.

Share your thoughts on the role of romance novels. A lucky winner will receive my March release - Only In Paradise. Read an excerpt on my blog.

Michelle Monkou


Helen said...

I agree I think romance stories are great for your health they let you turn of to things going on a round you give you a bit of me time and you can learn a lot about relationships from reading them.

Have Fun

Michelle Styles said...

There is a very famous comment by Alan Boon ( son of the founder of Mills & Boon) about romance novels being better than valium for stressed women. A bit of an own goal.
But romance novels do help people to destress. People feel better after reading them.

Laurie G said...

I find that reading relaxes me...especially romances. It allows me to "ESCAPE" to new places and to get involved in other people's problems. I love visiting new countries, cities, time periods...for a few dollars!!

Seeing how the heroine handles her situation may even give you some ideas on how to handle your own.

I love reading at the end of the day!!

Maureen said...

Romances are a great way for me to take a break during the day. They take you all over the world and to all kinds of amazing locations. They have positive messages of love, forgiveness and hope.

Estella said...

Romance stories take me away to a lot of different places and allow me to relax.

The Brunette Librarian said...

I couldn't agree with you more Michelle! I think romance stories let you see a similar situati give yo different eyes and in a lot of cases, can give you insight in how things can be changed, in most cases for the better. I know, in my own little piece of the world, after reading a really great romance, I feel more confident and a bit more courageous. :)

Michele L. said...

Hi Michelle,

I really enjoyed your blog post. I love reading and romantic stories are my favorites! The reason why I love romance so much is because how happy I feel after reading a love story. It is like a natural high so to speak. Just like when you have a good hearty laugh, it leaves you feeling so good and warm all over. A good way to escape from a stress filled day and believe me I have had many of those kind of days!

When I do, I reach for my romance novels, hop in bed, and read to my hearts content. I always fall asleep happy and content. Many kudos to you Michelle for providing us with many wonderful romance novels!

Michele L.

Michelle Monkou said...

Thank you for the wonderful, insightful comments on the value of the romance novel.

Way before I was a writer, I loved escaping into those stories. My imagination was so vivid that I didn't need a movie version because I lived it in technicolor.

Romance novels rock!

CONGRATS to RachieG for winning a copy of Only In Paradise.