Wed by the Word, p.6: Is Physical Attraction Important in a Marriage?

I’m excited and honored to welcome back Pastor Bruce Goldsmith, of Laurel Hill Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Va., to guest post on Classic Bride blog today as he continues to share valuable insight on creating a Godly marriage. Our hope is that this series will help couples in forming a beautiful and strong foundation for their marriage built on God’s love – you can read all the posts in this series here. And I’ll turn it over to Pastor Bruce now:

Not long ago, I had a young man ask me an interesting question. It was a question that I had never been asked or even thought about. The question was, “How important is it to be physically attracted to the girl I’m thinking about marrying?” My first reaction was duh, which was followed by the faint sound of crickets chirping, if you know what I mean? But, as I thought about it, I said “It’s very important.” But he could tell by the way I said it that there was coming a “but” along with that statement. And he was right.

Physical attraction is greatly important, but it is not the most important subject in any relationship. Personally, I have never had a counseling situation where there was a problem between two people because of a lack of physical attractiveness, but Dr. William Harley, in his book “His Needs, Her Needs,” chapter eight,  talks about counseling sessions he has had with couples who struggled with each other over their physical attractiveness, specifically the importance of physical attractiveness to the male. His book is a great read for a lot of subjects in marriage. I highly recommend it. But I have never had to work with people on that subject, until this young man posed his question.

So, let me say, it is a serious subject and one not to be taken lightly. The truth is, we are visual people. God made us to enjoy the beauty of life. And the beautiful people of life get our attention. In fact, it is usually the first thing a person notices about a potential spouse. The human flesh or the nonspiritual side of us, the part that thinks and reacts to life in a way that is distant from God, greatly enjoys physical attractiveness. And people are enamored with developing their bodies to make sure they “look good.” But I don’t want to minimize or just make physical attraction a non-issue, it is something that should be paid attention to, if for nothing else, for the sake of the one who has to look at us the rest of our lives.

But here comes the “but” in my response to this young man. Physical attraction is a very fleeting thing. I told him, as much as I have enjoyed the beauty of my wife over the years, and she is truly beautiful, and that she has enjoyed the handsomeness in me, (cough, cough), we both realize we are changing in our physical appearance. For example, the other night, as she and I sat together at dinner, just the two of us, with no children that are young anymore at home, I looked up at her and noticed that she had eyes that were much larger than I was used to seeing. Then it dawned on me, she wears reading glasses now, making her eyes look a little different than when she is not wearing them. Her larger eyes were a result of her changing physical body. That same night, as I looked at her, I realized, I also had glasses on, making the view of her from my angle slightly out of actual proportion. In other words, I have changed physically, as well.

The point is, we all change in a lot of ways as time goes by. I’ll just spit it out. We just don’t look as good as we once did or at least thought we did.

It is important to understand that the joy of my relationship with my wife is because she loves God. It’s as simple as that. In other words, my attraction to my wife is not so much physical, even though I am attracted to her physically, it is much deeper than that. My attraction for my wife is because of her heart. Her inner self. Her inner core. The part of her that God has redeemed. I see what she is made of. I see what she is capable of. I see what she cares about. I see what she thinks about, because it comes out in her actions. I see a woman who loves me, despite my awesome physique, (cough, cough). And because of these simple, but profound things, my wife is so attractive to me, both spiritually and physically. I still long to be with her, every day. I miss her when she is not home. I can’t wait to go places with her, to talk to her, listen to her, think with her, wish and hope with her. And now that we are on the back side of life, I long to be with her in eternity. God says that there will be no marriage in heaven, (Matthew 22:30), like it is on earth, and that saddens me, because I have grown to love the person my wife is. But, I also rejoice in the fact that we will share eternity together. And, she doesn’t know this yet, but even though we won’t technically be married in heaven, I still plan to chase her all around heaven, for eternity. She will never be rid of me!

Beauty and physical attraction are critical, but it’s not the most important part of a relationship. Heaven forbid that something should happen to the person you are thinking about marrying. But what if it is part of God’s sovereign plan for their body to be changed in some way. Ask yourself, would I still marry this person? When, as the years go by, my future spouse changes in the way he or she looks, will I still want to be with them. Unfortunately, many marriages have ended due to these kinds of scenarios.

The most critical part of a relationship, that becomes the most attracting force, is a person who loves God with all their heart, mind and soul (Matthew 22:36-37). A person who loves others as they love themselves. A person who will love you just because you are you. A person who adores you, just because they love you and want to be with you. A person who accepts you as you are, but is willing to speak truth into your life, so you become everything you hope to be. A person who will walk with you through all the difficulties of life. A person who will stand with you when no one else will. These are some of the things that make a beautiful person, even if their body is not the most attractive.

So, ask yourself, what is most important in my relationship with my future spouse? Am I marrying this person for how they look on the outside or how they are on the inside? Some of the most unattractive people, on the outside, are the most beautiful people on the inside. And the opposite is also true, some of the most beautiful people on the outside are the stinkiest on the inside, making the saying true, “beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes to the bone.” Think about what God’s Word says, Proverbs 31:30 (NASB) 30  Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

Learn more about Pastor Bruce and Laurel Hill Baptist Church by visiting the website where you can listen to weekly sermonsread the pastor’s blog and more.

Photography and styling by Sarah Darcy.