For perspective, I’d like to start with what the role of physical attraction in dating is not – which is, all in all. Two of my former youth visited church yesterday. I’ve known the younger one since she was in fourth grade. They are now respectively 15 and 18. After seeing them shoulder in shoulder, I did a little probing. So, how did this happen? The older responded something to the effect of: “Well, Tony, you see it’s how these things usually happen, we were attracted to each other.”
My spirit sighed. I then broke the unwritten youth leader rule that you should never act like an old person. I told them they were too young to be dating. I am certain there was wise counsel somewhere within, wanting to escape. I muttered with little reasoning that it wasn’t going to last, and added no more.
What I should have said, is that a relationship built solely on physical attraction is like a house built on the sand. We get this in Florida. I should have gone into Matthew 7 and explained that just as our faith must be built on a firm foundation, so also must our relationships if we expect them to last. And had I been especially filled with the Spirit, I might have gone into Matthew 19, explaining how marriage is so serious an undertaking, that the average person ought not to consider it.
I’ve been away from podcasts for a while, but I did come across this one from Ask Away and listened to it on Saturday. What I found thought-provoking, and challenging, is when Vince suggested that we as Christians, although at a lesser intensity, might be on the same trajectory as the world in the area of physical attraction. The question was posed as to whether we would even be open to considering dating someone who we did not find attractive enough. What a piercing question.
I’m not sure I can give the pious answer and say that physical attraction is not a factor, or even that it shouldn’t be a factor. I think the right question is, as has been asked here, how important is it?
When I was in college, my friends and I rated girls on the ten scale. Nobody ever got a ten, which I think demonstrates that such pursuits will always leave one wanting. What was also telling is that the ones who got nines were not merely physically attractive. In fact, a beautiful woman only has dating value when she is more than a physical form.
As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout,
So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.
The physical form itself is as a blank canvas. The light of the eyes, the splendor of countenance, steadfastness of character, and possession of the peace that surpasses all understanding radiate from those who would be filled with Christ. Beauty and goodness do indeed go hand in hand. And what else is lasting? Humility and integrity are paramount. Sound doctrine. And an inclination to walk toward eternity. Love.
Vince has it right – marriage is not about receiving, but giving. Obsession with the physical is both selfish and short sighted. At the same time, physical appearance is part of this whole package we call “attraction,” and it would seem to me dishonest to deny its reality. Can we transcend this paradigm? Should we?
It’s hard not to consider it when Jo describes how Jesus offered Himself to us; that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Does not Ephesians 5:32 liken a man and his wife to Christ and the Church? Let us not forget God in these matters. Since the Father chooses the bride for the Son (Genesis 24), can we not rest in knowing that our Father will draw one to another by some certain means of attraction?
It is but for us to abide in Christ, all other things He will add to us, and no good thing will He withhold. Thank you Vince and Jo for helping the believer think.