I just finished re-reading the Twilight series. I didn't anticipate that I would be doing it so soon, but they just have a magnetic draw to them that I can't resist.
Romance has been a lot on my mind lately- for various reasons. More so, I think, then when I first read the series. So re-reading the books (particularily New Moon and Eclipse) was a bit more of an emotional experience this time.
I'm still not an Edward Cullen fan-girl. But I got closer this time. I found myself being unhappy with how perfect the romance is, because I know so many girls are going to be dissatisfied by it.
And then, it hit me.
Edward Cullen is far from perfect. But the way he unconditionally loves and protects Bella is very much a mirror of the love that Christ has for us. Even the way he sings her to sleep...the very night I hit upon this realization I found myself stumbling across a Psalm about God watching over us while we slumber and singing over us.
Bella's love for Jacob actually builds up this viewpoint. Jacob is her human love. Edward is her very soul. Jacob can never fill the hole that Bella feels when Edward leaves her (as a human love can never replace the need we have for Christ- of course, it is us who fall away from Christ, rather than Christ leaving us), but he can give her much needed emotional support. And we do need human support to keep us grounded. It can never replace Christ, but Christ gave us human love because he knew that it was not good for us to be alone physically (though he is always with us spiritually, just as Edward's warning voice never left Bella).
Taking that one step further...why does Jacob love Bella? If we carry this through to Breaking Dawn (spoiler alert) we know that Jacob's love for Bella is only fulfilled when she is united to Edward. It is their daughter, the product of their union, that is Jacob's true love. Just as, sometimes, we fall in love with people because we see Christ shinning out of them. And really, all good qualities are reflections of our Creator and God, in whose image we are made, rather than anything we manufacture ourselves.
I'm not saying that Edward himself is a Christ-figure. He's not. But what I'm proposing is that Edward and Bella's relationship is healthiest when viewed through the lens of the eternal romance of Christ and the Church. Which is indeed the relationship that all human romances are supposed to reflect.