“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” – 1 Peter 3:3-7.
In the Bible there are several stories of love at first sight. One of them is Jacob and Rachel. The complete story is in Genesis 29: “…but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.” If you know the entire story, Jacob is tricked and works another 7 years to be given the hand of Rachel. That is a pretty strong attraction.
Attraction is physical, just like God designed it to be. The first instance of physical attraction in Scripture comes in Genesis 2:18-25, when the Lord brings Eve to Adam, and Adam exults in Eve. David “had beautiful eyes and was handsome” (1 Samuel 16:12). The couple in Song of Songs, for example, clearly takes delight in the physical makeup of the other, and this delight helps keep their marriage strong. These texts — and many others — reminds us that the Bible does not shy away from the subject.
Most of us think of attraction in romantic terms. If asked to define attraction, we would think of a cinematic moment, an instance when two eyes inexplicably met and there is instant chemistry. Suddenly two hearts are beating as one and in the next scene the couple is walking hand in hand along a beach at sunset.
Attraction is part of God’s design for marriage. We see a person of the opposite sex and find them attractive, a discovery that usually helps with any lingering fear or shyness. Attraction goes well beyond the physical, however. We are mistaken when we think that attraction amounts only to physical desire. Believers have other reasons to find the opposite sex attractive. Attraction can be intellectual, grounded in an appreciation of intelligence. It can be character-driven, rooted in the serving and loving heart of a person. It can be less easy to pin down, but connected to sense of humor, background, recreational interest, music, politics, or many other things.
But the most important is spiritual attraction. A man or woman who loves the risen Christ and serves Him faithfully day by day is also a powerful attraction. You might well feel attracted to a believer for other reasons, but spiritual attraction is for many Christians, the greatest draw to their spouse. Beauty, can be appealing, but can’t match a heart sold out for Jesus. There is no more powerful unifying force in the world.
- How do you define attraction? What makes a person attractive to you? Do you have realistic expectations?
- Have your views on attraction been impacted by our culture?
- Do you think social media is impacting our views on attraction?
- What is God’s role in attraction in your mind?