I stop reading books too easily. Sometimes I don't enjoy them or the characters or plot are too annoying but often something just comes up or I get busy and abandon the book and never return to. Or I start reading something more interesting.
At the moment I'm struggling to finish a book I can only read a few pages before the heroine gets too annoying. She's pretty stupid and naive, trusts all the wrong people against evidence and is of course completely ignorant of her own feelings (and is a virgin without knowing it, despite being married for ten years). I would much rather read about the secondary couple.
I once read a book where a young (unmarried) heroine had the man, uh, press up against her (fully clothed) and presumably enjoy himself a great deal... but that was it. She thought she could be pregnant and was concerned. His incredulity was hilarious.
As for a person improving himself/herself before marriage... it's definitely an interesting concept. I think that sometimes it's more compelling if the relationship
takes a break while the improvement happens, even if that sometimes doesn't come over so well in a book.
If I remember correctly, in Francine Rivers' "Redeeming Love," the woman is a prostitute (it's a retelling of the story of Hosea from the Bible), and after struggles to leave that life behind her *during* the relationship
, she ends up leaving him for a while and getting her life together. She starts a home for former prostitutes who are trying to escape that life. Only after she's able to do it herself, is she ready to go back to the relationship
. So the change in herself has to happen separate from the relationship
I know I've seen it in other books, but that's the only one I can think of at the moment. Sometimes it's in the type of book where one of the characters meets the other in a particularly desperate circumstance. The desperate one finds herself/himself too clinging to the other, too dependent on the other for their lifestyle change. They have to separate, change themselves, and then come back. But the other person and the relationship
are still the inspiration for the lifestyle change and the hope that keeps them going during the tough transition.