Why do true love stories appeal to me? I’m a romantic at heart. I like a “happily ever after” as much as the next person. It’s easy for me to empathize with the characters, to cheer for their happiness, to feel their hurts and hopes. Knowing that it all happened to real people only intensifies the reading experience.
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Real-Life Love Stories
Real-life love stories display the endless creativity of the Author of life. While some are similar, no two love stories are alike, and sometimes they begin with the strangest coincidences, the slimmest chances, the most insurmountable odds. Two strangers seated together on a plane. Attending the wrong funeral. Car breakdowns. Wrong numbers. Or sometimes the opposite is true, and next-door neighbors suddenly see each other in a different light, or the annoying tag-along kid grows up. I’m always fascinated by human drama, and that’s a key ingredient in love stories.
I believe love stories touch a place in our souls because they mirror — however imperfectly — the beautiful, redemptive love story that is the Gospel. The story of a Lover Who would risk everything to win His beloved, even His life. The broken bride who was unable to return His love but was healed and restored, fully remade by that sacred Lover. Real-life love stories offer little glimpses of the amazing, magnificent romance that will culminate at the end of time. They are a gift from God that can encourage our hearts as we put our trust in Christ to find our place in the eternal love story.
Here are some of my favorite collections of real-life love stories.
A Match Made in Heaven by Susan Wales and Ann Platz
A smorgasbord of love stories, ranging from miraculous to hilarious — I laughed, cried, and gasped my way through this one! Not just stories of ”how we met,” this book contains delightful proposals-gone-wrong, wedding bloopers, and sweet reflections from long-married couples. After all, the initial meeting is just the beginning of a good love story. The best part? A Match Made in Heaven has a sequel! Make sure you check out Volume Two as well as the original.
Real-Life Romance by Rhonda Stoppe
Sweet stories of God’s faithfulness and creativity in bringing His children together, with a few discussion questions and Bible verses to ponder at the end of each chapter. The hero of these stories is God, and I appreciate the way His love is extolled as the source of lesser, but beautiful, human love. Real-Life Romance is a great reminder that there is something even better than fairytale love and perfect, happily-ever-after stories: true love and fulfillment must be rooted in Christ’s perfect, unconditional love.
Quest for Love by Elisabeth Elliot
Any book by Elisabeth Elliot is going to contain words of wisdom, faith, and hope. This one also contains delightful love stories that showcase God’s faithfulness in bringing people together — some despite great obstacles, others in perfectly ordinary ways. I appreciate the breakdown at the end of each chapter with bullet points of what God did and what people did in the story, underscoring the importance of following God’s leading in faith while trusting Him to fulfill His purpose. Quest For Love was a favorite of mine during my single years, and still holds a special place in my heart.
Devotedly by Valerie Elliot Shepard
Imagine getting to read the letters and journals of a young couple who consciously put God ahead of their own feelings, choosing to explore what a relationship might look like as they pursued the glory of God at any cost. For Jim Elliot and Betty Howard (better known as Elisabeth Elliot — how’s that for a spoiler?), nothing was too costly to lay on the altar. But could God be drawing them together for a common purpose, a shared vision? I’ve always been challenged by the pieces of their story in Passion and Purity. Now with the publication of their correspondence in Devotedly, we can finally read the whole story.
Love Stories You Will Love by Stephen & Susie Castleberry
I’m a bit partial to this one, as it’s compiled by my parents and contains several stories from people near and dear to me. In fact, part of my own story is included. Love Stories You Will Love is the type of book to enjoy with a cup of coffee: short anecdotes that will make you smile, chuckle, and occasionally laugh out loud. I kept wanting to read pieces aloud so others could enjoy it, too.
War Bonds by Cindy Hval
A collection of World War II love stories, but with a unique twist: it tells “the rest of the story” for each of the couples interviewed. Instead of ending with the happy reunion at the end of their wartime service, these stories continue, tracing the bonds that sustained the greatest generation from eager youth to silver-haired age. Some of the veterans used colorful or salty language in their stories, so be prepared for a bit of editing if reading aloud. War Bonds is a lovely testament to the power of love, and to the truth that love is a choice and a commitment, not just a feeling.
I hope these stories warm your heart as they have mine, and that you remember you’re part of the greatest love story ever told.
In His grace,
Here at Club31Women, we recognize that not everyone has the same taste or point of view on books, music, or movies, but we offer these short reviews for your consideration. Our hope is that you will find something new and wonderful on this list of recommended resources!
~ Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women