I go to a party. A woman is there. It’s obvious to most men there that this woman is beautiful. Throughout the night, I observe this woman getting constant attention from men. The next day I hear stories of how a man she never knew before messaged her on Facebook, or asked for her phone number.
This is the type of situation I have observed over, and over, and over again.
The only thing I can conclude? Beauty is the focus.
I am certainly not immune to this focus. There have been times when beauty is the one thing that triggers me to take action. For example, I’ll see a picture of someone I consider to be beautiful, and want to contact that person only because of my desire to be with someone beautiful. Or when I think about a woman, beauty will be the first and primary thing that comes to mind.
Beauty may draw an initial physical attraction towards someone. But this type of attraction is often based off emotional experiences that slowly fade away over time. As a result, it is not ultimately what holds a relationship and eventual marriage together.
There are several factors more essential than physical attraction:
Spiritual outlook – One’s view on God will drive many decisions the person makes. If two people have very different spiritual outlooks in a marriage, it will be very difficult for them to come to an agreement on important decisions in life.
Moral character – If someone has poor moral character, that person could easily drag a spouse in a bad moral direction. Moral boundaries that were once clear now become confused. The spouse could be negatively affected for a long time after being led in this immoral direction.
Enjoying time with someone – In any relationship, there will likely be times that the couple will enjoy being together, and other times where they won’t. However, if the couple consistently does not enjoy spending time together (especially in the early stages of a relationship), the relationship will become a miserable experience over time.
There can probably be more added to the list, but at the very least the importance to connect with someone on these three factors in a relationship is greater than the importance of being physically attracted to someone.
As a Christian, I’ve started to think about what my response to this idea of physical attraction should be. I obviously can’t avoid the fact that I’m attracted to certain people because of their outward beauty. But I wonder if that beauty could point me to the creator of that beauty – God – instead of driving me towards obsession over the person.
Beauty could also drive me to focus on other things about a person that have greater importance – things like the person’s relationship with God, the person’s moral character, or the joy that flows out of the person’s life.
I’m not sure what this shift in focus would look like practically, but it’s a concept I want to start to consider. Instead of a focus, beauty could be a pointer – a pointer to something much greater.