Physical Attraction | How Important Should It Be?
by Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D.
Physical Attraction tends to be a major need for both men and women during the Christian dating phase and on into marriage. God made us visual, meaning that what we see with our eyes can have a very powerful impact on our psyche. The stimulus we view can be burned into our memory for hours, days, and even years. Therefore, what we see in our visual field plays a major role in our cognitions and emotions, which is why physical attraction is so important. In the Song of Solomon, we see both the bride and groom reflecting on one another’s attractiveness. The groom says, “How beautiful your sandaled feet…Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of an artist’s hands. Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies. Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle. Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon….How beautiful you are and how pleasing…” (Song of Solomon, 7:1-6, NIV). The bride say, “His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven. His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels…..His arms are rods of gold set with topaz. His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold… His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely” (Song of Solomon, 5:11-16, NIV)
The need for attraction meshes well while dating because both partners are often trying to look their best. However, after the wedding vows, staying physically attractive tends to become less and less important for both men and women. Some may drop their exercise routine from 4 days a week down to 1-2 or none at all. Others may stop caring as much what they eat and frequent fast food joints more often. Still others may swap out their charming outfits for old ragged flannels. Most of the time, these changes are the result of new life demands, such as career, mortgage, children, etc. In addition, since they have already “won over” one another with marriage, some may feel like their physical appearance should no longer be as important. However, they are forgetting the critical point that the visually-oriented person who was once their girlfriend or boyfriend and is now their spouse still highly values physical attraction.
Therefore, men and women need to understand and validate this need by making their appearance a top priority. The first step is talking with your partner about what changes they would appreciate most in your physical appearance. What changes would help them become more attracted to you? Also, remember back to how you looked and dressed during the dating phase when you first attracted your spouse and strive to resemble that appearance again. Respecting one another’s desire to feel physically attracted and making continual steps in that direction is essential for your overall marital commitment and satisfaction.
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What do you feel is the proper view of attraction within marriage and why?