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How Important Is Physical Attraction in Dating?

How Important Is Physical Attraction in Dating?

Imagine this: you’re a girl with a great guy friend who is kind, helpful, funny and you get along with really well. So well, in fact, that your friends suggest the two of you should date. But there’s one factor holding you back: you’re not attracted to him. It’s not that he’s unattractive by any means, he’s just not “your type.” But considering he checks off a lot of other boxes, you begin to feel guilty about not giving him a chance and you start to wonder: how important is physical attraction when it comes to dating?

First, you need to know a few bottom-line truths:

1. Attraction is important, and you should be physically attracted to someone you’re in a relationship with. (This will help in the event of marriage and sex and such.)

2. Your guilt over this is real (and I get it), but you need to know you haven’t done a single thing wrong.

3. There is no right answer to your question. In fact, I’m going to be typing out of both sides of my mouth for this entire article. Hooray!

Let’s dig in.

Physical Attraction is More Than Meets the Eye

The moment we see someone, we make a snap judgement on his or her looks.

This is not to say that we are judgmental in the Christianese sense of the word (though we might be, and we should check that at the door). Rather, our brains determine — via some impressive synapsing — if someone is procreation-worthy. It’s primal, really.

For now, though, just realize that we’re all cave-people trying to find someone to watch Netflix with. And we know in an instant if we want to be snuggled up with a person on a cave rock — or not.

Now listen, your initial negative reaction, paired with many subsequent reactions, has given you pause — and that’s OK. There is nothing wrong with you. It’s the human condition to be attracted to some and not to others.

However, to think this initial reaction is all that determines someone’s attractiveness (in your eyes) is giving your brain and its Creator too little credit.

Attraction Can Be Won or Lost

There are times — many of them, in fact — when an initial reaction is different than subsequent reactions. In other words: things change.

You know this, don’t you? Of course you do. Let’s say, by way of example, that you meet a gentleman who strikes you as dashing. I mean, he’s got it all, “A body like Arnold with a Denzel face.”

Now, let’s say this man begins talking to you and he’s just, to use the King James, a complete jerk. I mean really, he’s talking about how much he hates Mother Teresa and thinks all puppies are ugly creatures. Would you still be into this chap? Would you look at him and still be flushed at the sight of his beauty? Probably not, because his heart revealed his true appearance.

Conversely, there are times when the initial attraction isn’t strong, but getting to know the person makes him or her somehow look better. It happens all the time, and it’s the basis of zillions of rom-coms, where the underdog gets the girl.

While those movies are exaggerated, there’s a modicum of truth there. A person can become more attractive as you get to know his inner beauty. Additionally, when you deeply love someone, attraction is superseded by a mystical connection, which makes beauty impossible to judge or understate.

But I fear I’ve gotten ahead of myself…

What Do You Do?

1. Settle down.

And if you read that as stern, please don’t. I wasn’t channeling Dr. Phil as much as I was Mr. Rogers, neighbor.

I want you to feel and know that this is not a “decision” or something you have to talk yourself into or out of. In fact, the only thing you should do is sit back, pray, pursue a friendship and see what happens. I assure you, there is no rush here. If it’s right, you won’t miss it.

2. Be careful with your friend.

Because while I don’t know him, if he checks off the other boxes, he’s probably a lovely guy who may already be interested in you. So be very gentle with how close you get.

As I’ve written before, I think there’s a limit to how friendly you can be without getting into murky waters.

3. Please don’t believe the lie that you’re going to miss the only person you could ever be happy with.

The truth is, there are endless people in the world with whom you could have a wonderful relationship. There is no “the one.” However, God knows the full arc of time. He makes marriages happen, and He has this situation under control. Your job isn’t to talk yourself into anything, it’s to let God move you and show you your next steps.

In closing (and speaking of God), attraction is a beautiful and multifaceted gift that was bestowed upon us by the Creator. You deserve to be attracted to your mate. If you know him well, and you’ve given this some time and prayer, it’s OK to not date him. God’s got you, and God’s got him also. Trust that, and remove this burden from your heart.

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