Tall, dark, and handsome.
Beauty and physical attraction are highly important in the world’s eyes. We can see it in the movies, social media, Hollywood, and many other places in culture. If he’s devastatingly handsome … if she’s drop-dead gorgeous … they’re on the radar. Versus that plain person who didn’t really catch your eye when you walked into the room; surely they couldn’t be your one?
Sadly, the Church is often influenced by the culture, and I’m sure scores of unmarried Christian men and women have an unspoken list of who their spouse must be…
He must be:
- Dark, curly hair
- Blue eyes
- Super fit
- Strong jaw
She must be:
- Blonde, straight hair
- Long legs
- Brown eyes
And whatever else is deemed attractive by you. We might pass up all sorts of people because they aren’t measuring up to our list … they aren’t super hot. And, obviously, we deserve a super hot person. Can’t settle for anything less than amazing, right?
First of all, we need to come back down to earth. No person is perfect. (That includes you.) We don’t deserve anything, in case you’re the man or woman who is praying for an outwardly flawless, model of a spouse. We don’t even deserve marriage in the first place, much less the perfection we think we need. But God does give to His children blessings undeserved. Furthermore, He is the giver of every good gift and every perfect gift, yet He looks at the heart, not the outward appearance.
So you may need to scrap the old list.
We were made to notice and appreciate beauty, yes. But let me tell you, arrogance is not beauty. Selfishness is not attractive. A bad temper is not beauty. Laziness is not attractive. Lack of self control is not beauty. Neediness is not attractive…
When you choose a spouse based on their outward attractiveness and know nothing of their true self, you are gambling dangerously. It could be that you didn’t choose beauty after all, but a clever facade.
That person’s outward beauty will fade in your eyes even before it diminishes in reality, and you will be left with the unattractive spouse you always feared … the idea you scoffed at. A bitter, passionless marriage.
But I’ve heard it said that a woman deeply longs to be ravishingly beautiful to her man and a man likewise desires to let his woman know how he delights in her beauty … so should we really swing the opposite direction and say physical attraction isn’t important?
Just become more pious and marry that unattractive person who we don’t even really enjoy hanging around?
Are attraction and romance ungodly notions?
6 Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
Its flames are flames of fire,
A most vehement flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.
If a man would give for love
All the wealth of his house,
It would be utterly despised.
That may sound crazy to you, but sometimes I think the Church struggles with this. We act all super holy, like: love is an action! Butterflies in your stomach is just foolishness. Worldly! Silly infatuation.
But is it?
God created us to be attracted to the opposite sex. To appreciate beauty. Look how magnificently He designed the world – the trees, mountains, flowers, birds, and oceans! Look how we naturally gravitate toward the other gender with hopeful ideas of intimacy and deep companionship. God created us for love, passion, and romance. Read Song of Solomon, for one! And take note of how He instructs the husband to delight in the wife of his youth.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.
Digging even deeper, consider how marriage is to represent Christ and the Church. Isn’t the whole idea of passion, love, romance, and intimacy to point us to the depth of God’s feelings toward us? The truth that He will fill us more fully than even a fairy tale romance could? As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so God rejoices over us?
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
A man should, Biblically, delight in his bride so as to accurately point to God and His love for us.
Song of Solomon 4:9-10
9 You have ravished my heart,
My sister, my spouse;
You have ravished my heart
With one look of your eyes,
With one link of your necklace.
10 How fair is your love,
My sister, my spouse!
How much better than wine is your love,
9 But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
19 He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me.
Without attraction, passion, love, and romance, marriage would be dull and lifeless. That doesn’t accurately represent Christ and the Church. Our relationship with Jesus shouldn’t be dull and lifeless. Christ loves us! He gave it all, even His own life, to rescue us. He is the true Prince of the fairy tales. He tenderly pursues and passionately loves (Hosea 2:14-16 & Matthew 18:12-14). And we are to adore and be devoted to Him. The Christian should be in a deep love relationship with the Savior and Creator God.
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
So I don’t think a cold, pious marriage was what God had in mind when He said this earthly union reflects Christ and the Church. When a husband and wife delight in and are devoted to each other, I believe it so beautifully points to Christ.
3 I am my beloved’s,
And my beloved is mine.
4 You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate;
But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah;
For the Lord delights in you,
And your land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marries a virgin,
So shall your sons marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you.
And for a man to rejoice and delight over his bride, there has to be a level of physical attraction and in-love-ness, right?
Song of Solomon 7:6 & 10
6 How fair and how pleasant you are,
O love, with your delights!
10 I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is toward me.
So all this to say, physical attraction does have its importance to the Christian single. But is attraction based entirely on looks? I think not.
And God may have to do some work in your heart before you’re at this point … But physical attraction doesn’t wholly depend on that toned physique and symmetrically pleasing face.
As you grow in Christ, you will find that you are drawn to other people who follow Him.
- A love for the things of the Lord
- An adoration of Jesus Christ
- Similar interests, passions, and vision
- A certain personality
All these greatly enhance physical attraction … even grow it where there was none.
So yes, if you are considering dating someone, I believe you should be drawn to them. If you’ve experienced this, you know what I’m talking about. They rise above every other in your mind and your gaze is pulled to them whenever they’re around. You’re excited to be around them and you genuinely enjoy spending lots of time with them. All this without introducing much of physical touch and the like. This is a true test of whether you’re drawn to the person, or to what they are giving you sexually.
2 Like a lily among thorns,
So is my love among the daughters.
3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods,
So is my beloved among the sons.
This pull doesn’t come simply from a handsome outward appearance, but it is an attraction to the heart and soul of a person. Or, at least, it should be. Because your spouse will fade and shrivel with age, but if you love them for their heart … for them themself … you will be attracted to them still.
Genesis 2:18 & 22-24
18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
23 And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
If you are only attracted to the model-material type, it might be that you need a spiritual reset. It may be that you care solely about the external and the here and now, and nothing about the soul and the eternal. You have let the world define and teach you what beauty and love are. And they have lied to you.
Not many of us are model-material … And what even is model-material but a certain culture and era’s temporary definition of beauty?
Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder and in the connection of souls.
I, personally, happen to think that beauty oftentimes looks much, much different than fashion models.
So, no, don’t date that dull, unattractive person. They might be super cool and attractive to someone else, but your personality and heart call for something different. That’s okay. Not to say that you should dismiss someone immediately because of an unexciting first impression … be friends with all types! Firstly, because we are to deeply love our brothers and sisters in Christ. And secondly, because a genuine attraction might develop if you give them a chance.
It seems that falling in love is a sweet, mysterious thing. A mingling of two souls. The deepest earthly bond. It should lift our eyes upward. Make us in awe of its Creator. Make us marvel at how rich and complete God’s love must be that it will so fill us in heaven that we won’t even need this beauty that is earthly marriage!
In closing, if you are an unmarried person, I would encourage you to marry someone you truly are in love with and delight in, heart and soul.
Think a shared passion for Christ. A deep, true friendship. Similar vision and goals in life. A real enjoyment of each other’s personalities. Unconditional devotion. Blended passions and hobbies. And yes, even butterflies. 😉
Yes, he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved,
And this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem!
I think then your marriage will be a great blessing, joy, and help to you and your spouse. And will give you a taste, and the world a glimpse, of the depthless, unending love, passion, beauty, devotion, and joy we can experience with God now, and for sure in heaven when we are united to Christ once and for all as His Bride. ❤
17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.