Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby C_Brown » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:34 pm

When I was dating DW, she had a friend who was a model. She always had perfect skin/hair/makeup, dressed sharp, a real looker, and she was a really nice Christian girl too. I liked her as a friend (and she did a very thoughtful favor for the two of us one time that I'll never forget) but I didn't feel one ounce of attraction to her. I think my wife is incredibly beautiful, in a very natural girl-next-door way that beats the pants off any model. But how a person looks is really just a small part of it to me. It is their personality, intelligence, their spirit that either clicks with me or doesn't, and if those things click, all I ask for is good hygiene and a confident smile. The rest is bonus.
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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby mamame » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:55 am

not LS but those things are only physical characteristics - attraction and chemistry is much more than that for me.


HisWarrior wrote:Landschooner, I am curious how you feel about if your spouse does become physically unattractive:

Gains a lot of weight
Gets disfigured in a fire or accident
Doesn't age well
Sickness takes over outwardly

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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby poetess » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:23 am

Mamame, the "non-physical" can change too. What if a spouse gets Alzheimer's or some other illness that changes his personality, or his body odor changes enough that the "chemical" attractions aren't there?

Again, I think the physical attractiveness and the easy connection are nice--my connection with my husband is deeper than I ever thought possible with a fellow human being--but it's a bonus, and basing a marriage on it is a very American idea . . . and as a high divorce rate is also a modern American idea, I don't have a lot of sympathy with the idea that our methods are "the best."

When "attractions" (whether physical or otherwise) is seen as anywhere near the top of the list of reasons to marry, it's easy to justify straying when the attraction with one's spouse wanes and someone more attractive comes along.

It seems to me that it's better to find a good match in some objective ways (definitely including what they believe, common priorities, etc.) whom you respect and like and make a decision to love and commit for life.
Marriage--what a wonderful image of Christ's love for His bride!

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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby mamame » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:58 am

I dont see anyone here saying marriage should be based solely on physical attraction - but that it should be part of the package.

SoS sounds like 2 people who physically attracted to each other. I don't think that's a uniquely American idea.

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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby beautyfromashes » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:29 am

I went off to college with the intention of finding a husband. I met my now husband during one of my first classes. I remember analyzing him for my "potential husband list", and coming up with "Nice guy, pretty eyes, but a little odd, and so-so in the looks department." We did however, end up becoming really good friends.

Fast forward a year, we were now in the awkward "more than friends, but not quite officially a couple" stage. I saw him across a parking lot on campus and was very surprised when my first thought was "He is so HOT!" 10 years, and 50 pounds later, I still think he's hot. No, he doesn't have the ripped body he did when we started dating, but there's now a lot of history there.

The point of my story is that physical attraction may not be there immediately, but I think it's important that it show up. I would even say it needs to happen before the wedding.
Deep intimacy always requires work, acceptance, and forgiveness. Lots of it. ~~ Linda Dillow

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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby bestillandknow » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:04 pm

Love the replies; keep it coming.
Looking forward to the post that got sucked into the black hole, LS. :)
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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby jokerman » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:13 pm

mamame wrote:I dont see anyone here saying marriage should be based solely on physical attraction - but that it should be part of the package.

SoS sounds like 2 people who physically attracted to each other. I don't think that's a uniquely American idea.


Agreed.

And discussions of good-looking people didn't get invented by People magazine, either. The Biblical evidence tells us that David, Joseph, Esther and a few other people were physically stunning. It's odd when people treat this type of talk as shallow or non-important, when even the Bible goes there. God made certain people very tall, very strong, very rich, very wise, very eloquent, very fortunate, and very handsome, for His own reasons.

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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby mamame » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:30 pm

After 20+ years I am still very physically attracted to my DH. With less hair and muscles and more belly. I still think he's hot.

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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby poetess » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:52 pm

Jokerman, it's not shallow, not non-important, but secondary and not essential. I think my husband is quite handsome, and he tells me I'm beautiful. But if I hadn't found him handsome or hadn't had any "physical draw" to him, I would still have married him. (Physically he does have some limitations, actually.) We basically were "set up" by a third party, and were mostly already in love before we ever met in person, so I'm not saying that hypothetically. If I were in contact with a person who was an ideal match for me (in terms of integrity, connections in our belief, common interests, ability to understand each other, etc.) but I didn't find immediate physical resonance, so what? To turn down a good man for that (rather than to say it's a nice "part" of the package, to say it's an "essential" part of the package) does seem shallow. And remember--I'd been single till past 40. Turning him down might have meant turning down my one and only chance to marry--for something that superficial? No.

I also think that the physical may be more important to men, more "basic" to a woman's appeal, at least in many cases.

Scripture commands women to respect their husbands--and he was (and is) a man I could respect, heartily. Scripture commands a man to love his wife, and he loved me and loved me well. Under those circumstances, I just cannot imagine the physical not "following" someday, and I wouldn't have turned down a good man just because it wasn't there immediately, anymore than I will start refusing him or choose to divorce him if at some point in the future I cease to find him physically attractive. I would have married him, and chosen to respect and love him, even if the chemistry had not been there. "Chemistry" may or may not be there in arranged marriages, either, and its lack takes nothing from the legitimacy of marriage. Its presence is icing on the cake, not the cake itself and definitely not the meal.
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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby bestillandknow » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:14 pm

Sharing your story has made your posts make more sense, Poetess.

I actually think we're all pretty much agreed here, in general. It's more of an issue of definitions of words or phrases.

Poetess, I would hope that at 40 years you would have matured enough to have a broader view of these things. My original question has more to do with what kind of counsel would be wisdom for younger people who are seeking a mate. I think that in the early 20s in particular, it is very difficult to view life in balance with wisdom, hence the need for input from others. Along those lines, I'm looking over my own experience and believe it would have been wisdom if someone older and more experienced would have pointed out to me the lack of physical attraction my FH had for me while we were engaged, and the importance of it.

Let me say again: physical attraction, imo, has nothing to do with physical perfection.
I also believe that if two people are wholly committed to the Lord and have considered all the aspects of the relationship (and things are looking good), attraction will naturally follow. My concern is that if it doesn't follow at any point before the wedding, that the couple seriously reconsider their engagement.

ETA: In the OP, I mentioned a discussion between me and an irl friend. She sparked it based on another of her irl friend's confessions that she was never truly attracted physically to her husband, and that's why after a couple months of marriage she just quit wanting to have sex. My friend and I were discussing the merit of such a claim, and since both she and I have experienced quite a bit of refusal in our marriages, whether it would relate across the board like that more often than we would have considered.
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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby SeekingChange » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:28 pm

Following this discussion made me think of how people's looks change. I'm thinking more of men... there are just some men who definitely get finer with age (purely physically speaking.) :wink:

I think of Patrick Dempsey... I remember him in a movie "Can't Buy Me Love" when he was young, and I remember thinking he was quite nerdy looking. If a lady would have said "no" to him because of his nerdiness, look at what they would be missing out on today! 8)
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby Mrs. Tomorrow » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:42 pm

poetess wrote:We basically were "set up" by a third party... And were mostly already in love before we even met...


IMO, this indicates that you were predisposed to have some sort of chemistry upon first contact with each other, so I think that kind of negates your point.

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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby poetess » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:58 pm

"IMO, this indicates that you were predisposed to have some sort of chemistry upon first contact with each other, so I think that kind of negates your point."

I'm not sure it does, actually--it shows that even people who have not met in person, who have not seen each other or heard each other's voices, can be a great match, with "chemistry" a natural outflowing of their decision that they are a good match and they want to move forward into relationship. Our relationship was far more akin to arranged marriages with some time to get to know each other and "agree" that being set up was the right match for us.

My biggest concern here is that people will find "lack of chemistry" an excuse not to work on the marriage. The reality is, it doesn't matter whether a wife is "attracted" to her husband when it comes to how Scripture says a wife should respond to her husband. If she chooses to respond to him with honor and respect--assuming here that he is at least a minimally honorable man--she is probably going to find herself feeling more affectionate too. We women are wired that way. Likewise, if the man who doesn't feel "attracted" to his wife still chooses to do acts of love for her, and to treat her as the most valuable woman in the world, his acts of love will strengthen the marriage (assuming that she is a basically good-willed, generous wife), and they will grow closer together.

In the days before "romance" was determined to be a strong foundation for marriage, that is how it worked. Parents or a young man decided that this particular woman, with these particular traits, would make a good wife. They married, and in the daily encounters with each other, and rearing a family together, love grew strong and deep. If they didn't "feel" in love, they still did the work of love, were still fully committed to the marriage, and still generally provided each other companionship and help. Obviously there were dismal failures along the way--but my hunch is there were far fewer of them, in any category of "failure" one might choose to research (divorce, adultery, abuse, whatever). Commitment provides bedrock strength to a marriage; romance doesn't. Romance makes the marriage you already have, assuming it is a strong marriage, sweeter. If the marriage isn't strong, the romance probably won't be, either.
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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby bestillandknow » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:01 pm

You have many good points, Poetess, and I don't disagree with them persay,

But I venture to point out (as has been the entire point of my OP)-- that the lack of "chemistry" or physical attraction during engagement is a warning sign that should be heeded.

From what you've posted, you obviously did not lack physical attraction during your engagement. Please correct me if I am wrong.

ETA: What you wrote is the ideal, and at one point in my life I would have vehemently defended everything you said and preached it as well, because there is truth in it for sure. What I have learned the (very) hard way is that life doesn't flow by ideals. If this is how your marriage has grown, then I am very, very glad for you! But I know for a fact that it certainly is not always that way. Even if one spouse is loving and working toward mutual oneness. Even if a wife is obedient to the word of God, respectful of her husband, and all of the package. Some people are just so broken that they can't function in a healthy way. My dh is one of those people. If I had considered why I was always the one initiating anything physical during our engagement, I may have been able to avoid much heartache for both of us, and even for our children.
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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby landschooner » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:17 pm

landschooner wrote:So I spent like 10 minutes thumb tapping on tapatalk, in response but after pressing "send" it disappeared. Tapatalk does this from time to time but works regularly enough that I begin to trust it.......then whack ha ha! Killed you post! Ill try to hop online tonight and re post. : ).

LS

[tangent]Hey I connected my phone to my laptop, opened up the tapatalk folder, opened the drafts.db file in notepad, and found most of my text. That was nice! Not that what I wrote was stunning. Just thought I'd share in case you guys lose your posts in tapatalk. you may be able to recover some of it. On a PC or laptop, I've used HxD HexEditor (freeware) to open and search RAM that hasn't been wiped out yet, and I often can find some or all of a post I lost by an inadvertent backspace or browser crash etc.[/tangent]

question was:
HisWarrior wrote:Landschooner, I am curious how you feel about if your spouse does become physically unattractive:

Gains a lot of weight
Gets disfigured in a fire or accident
Doesn't age well
Sickness takes over outwardly


My answer: Well, for example, if she is horribly burned. Aside from everything else , that part of the attraction would be gone and it would be a great loss. Its just the truth. It would be a great loss. Our marriage would survive and our sex life would continue, but that wonderful visual beauty of my wife wouldn't be there. I'm not saying thats ALL there is. I'm saying its important.

My Dad passed away last year. He had progressively worse dementia, eventually having to live in a board and care before he died. My mom visited every day for over 9 months. Their love was unchanged, but their relationship was severely diminished. They had suffered great loss. At that juncture, love and committment sustained them, but I would NEVER recommend someone marry another with the onset of dementia. Not as severe, but I would NEVER recommend someone marry another they didn't find physically attractive. If GOD allows something to happen later, then with love and commitment, you make it work, but imho, its very unwise to CHOOSE that.

People change in other ways too. I know a woman who married a missionary who then became an atheist. We've read about others whose spouses were loving and devoted but then became cold and distant. We don't know the future but we need to make the best choices we can.

We are not spiritual beings only and marriage is for now. We are eternal creatures. Created sentient in Gods image, but he chose to seat us in mammalian bodies. We are not to eschew all things physical in life. Finding a wife is a good thing but we are NOT married in heaven, so what is the point? Physical HAS to be part of the point. Its not all of it, but its a big part, so make the best choices you can. During casual dating, amongst equally good christian guys, pick the one that makes your knees get wobbly, and don't date the guy that doesn't do that for you. I'd have been horrified to learn my wife wasn't attracted to me physically when we dated. I'd rather have stayed single.

I get the point that attraction can grow. I think that's more true with women than with men(more true, not always true).........It sounds like its kind of a corollary to women getting sexually turned on when they see their husband being a good father or something like that. Many times here on TMB, I've read women say this. "Its SO sexy when he is teaching our son how to play catch" or whatever. I get that that can be true, as in "I believe" but I don't relate to this AT ALL. I LIKE it when I see my wife being a good mom, but it ISN'T sexy. Her body is sexy to me. And when she acts sexual, that is sexy to me, but WHO SHE IS and how well she comports herself in life and her devotion to God....has nothing to do with sexy. Those things can be good, and were even deal breakers before marriage, but sexy? Sexually attractive? No. ....Anyway, if physical attraction grows, then you are physically attracted and that's good. If that doesn't happen, I would tell you not to get married.

LS
(Caveat: My discussion about physical attraction is not a discussion of personal worth. That we find in Christ. In a marriage though, I'm looking for a wife and a large part of that role is to be my sexual partner. I looked for someone to fill that role in my life. If she wasn't attractive to me, I would never have married her.)

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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby bestillandknow » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:08 pm

::clap ::clap ::clap

Wow this was a joy to read. Worth the wait. :)
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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby mamame » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:56 pm

There were men who were a good match for me in theory. Most people would say they were more physically handsome. I never considered DH as anything more than a good friend that I enjoyed hanging out with. But he kissed me out of the blue one night and it took my breath away.

Our love has many facets. there are times when I've found him hard to respect. Times he was hard to love. Times he was hard to even like.
But he could always make my knees weak with one of those kisses.

As our relationship has matured he's easier to love and respect, but I'm thankful that we had that little bit of glue to hold us.

adding everything together makes him sexier to me.

I don't think his physical attributes are what makes up that chemistry because I didn't find him physically attractive before the kiss. I don't know what happened that night but it changed my world.

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Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby padsnd » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:15 pm

poetess wrote:In the days before "romance" was determined to be a strong foundation for marriage, that is how it worked. Parents or a young man decided that this particular woman, with these particular traits, would make a good wife. They married, and in the daily encounters with each other, and rearing a family together, love grew strong and deep. If they didn't "feel" in love, they still did the work of love, were still fully committed to the marriage, and still generally provided each other companionship and help. Obviously there were dismal failures along the way--but my hunch is there were far fewer of them, in any category of "failure" one might choose to research (divorce, adultery, abuse, whatever). Commitment provides bedrock strength to a marriage; romance doesn't. Romance makes the marriage you already have, assuming it is a strong marriage, sweeter. If the marriage isn't strong, the romance probably won't be, either.


You've stated this opinion many times. Consider that the evidence to support this is not inherently applicable. In these golden days that you describe:

* Some stayed married with no interest on working on the love aspect and made it just a business arrangement because financially it was not practical to divorce.
* Some did not divorce because of the social stigma which has now nearly been removed.
* Much abuse (physical, sexual, and otherwise) went unreported and/or not dealt with.

These are just a few or the situations that skew the results when we assume that a lower divorce rate or lower abuse rate meant that people worked on their marriages more. Some of those who were in that situation, simply decided to stay together and be miserable. It is even possible that the results are so skewed by these other factors that less marriages were actually ones where the two worked to love each other. Additionally, the fact that less ministry, books, etc. dealt with the topic of marriage and loving each other further complicates this topic and makes it even more likely that the numbers could actually be reversed of what the indicators most cite suggest.
padsnd

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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby Kilarin » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:54 pm

padsnd wrote:Consider that the evidence to support this is not inherently applicable.

I've worked with and been friends with several people from India who have arranged marriages. And after a lot of discussion with them, I've come to the conclusion that their system has some advantages, and some disadvantages, and OUR system has some advantages and disadvantages.

I prefer our modern system, but their system isn't necessarily wrong, and I don't think it's better, it's just different.

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Re: Basic physical attraction-- how important is it?

Postby rediron » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:31 pm

Hi Folks;
I like some of the things that have been said here, especially by mamame and LS. I would like to throw in two cents. Once you have said "I do", you are married. Red hot physical attraction is great, but love is on purpose.
I do not know about the rest of y'all, but I am a fairly healthy man, with a fairly healthy sexuality. My wife is the only outlet that I have for that as a Christian. If I have chosen to marry a particular lady, (and I have), the reasons for the marriage are somewhat immaterial once its done. Just as in an arranged marriage, your married, are you going to put out the effort, and love your spouse, and enjoy their love of you, or are you going to pout and be grumpy because you are not on fire for them at first sight.
I believe, and I suspect that I could back this up if I researched it, that we wire ourselves and our spouses as we come together physically (no pun intended). As one spouse pleasures the other sexually, and vice versa, the "chemistry" can grow, if you encourage it, and nurture it. Which would you rather have, a spouse who was an Adonis or a beauty queen, or someone who lovingly turned you inside out in the bedroom. I think I'd take the latter.
If my wife were less than visually pleasing (she is very visually pleasing to me), here is the question: Are you going to love her and make love to her, or not?
As for myself, I would dive in with gusto, and I suspect that however she looked when we started, she would look great when we finished. I always say "good sex makes rose colored glasses about three inches thick".
Later
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