Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Physicality of Love

I wrote this post and submitted it to another website in response to a reader's question:
"Will I be attracted to the guy I marry? I know I'll love his personality, and that he'll be right for me, but I hope I'll be attracted to him physically."
Although it wasn't chosen for the other site, I poured a little bit of my heart into it, and didn't want it to go unseen!  Thanks for reading :)

Attraction can be an unpredictable thing.  It comes from a primal, animalistic instinct within us, over which we have no control.  When we spot another human being we’re physically attracted to, we know it (and feel it) immediately.  In fact, we know it so immediately that sometimes it clouds our judgment, and the authority that comes with being good-looking allows someone admittance into parts of ourselves - most damagingly, our hearts - because we have been too distracted by outer appearances to examine what lies underneath.  The same concept also works in reverse; if that initial, immediate attraction is missing, we often wrongly assume it always will be.

So when it comes to the guy you’re going to marry...will that type of attraction be there?  In addition to his heart, his mind, and his soul that you adore, will you also find him simply irresistible?

If we’re talking purely about physical appearance here - his eye, hair, and skin color, his build, his height, his style - the truthful answer is:  No, I don’t think you can
guarantee or even expect that you’ll be initially attracted to him, by appearance only.  While there is definitely the possibility that the first time you ever see him, you’ll swoon and immediately start imagining what it will be like to kiss him, there’s also the chance that you won’t.  And that would be okay.

Physical attraction is a subjective and wavering thing.  People age, gain weight, change their haircuts, adopt new clothing styles.  While I certainly don’t seek to downplay the importance of loving to look at the man you are with, you should also be careful not to put too much stock in something so fleeting (Proverbs 31:30 comes to mind).  Someone you are extremely attracted to at age 20 may dramatically change weight and start to lose his hair by age 30.  But, if that man is your husband, your beloved, does that mean you will no longer find yourself aroused by his presence?  No.  In fact, it will be the complete opposite.

The first time I met the man who became my husband, he was an awkward 20-year-old college boy (to be fair, I was pretty awkward myself).  He had brown spiky hair, braces, and was wearing a pink polo shirt.  Since at that time I was still displaying a poster of Nick Carter on my wall as my ideal man, I wasn’t initially bowled over by my future husband’s looks - he simply wasn't my "type" (by the way, have you ever noticed how the majority of the time, the one who is your "type" is not the one you end up with?).  But one night, as we sat on a friend’s porch talking until 3 AM, I lost my breath at the way he leaned back on his elbows, how his eyes gazed off into the dark, and the fire I felt when his leg once accidentally touched mine.  Here we are, seven years later, and now I can't imagine a more handsome man on the planet, but I have been so far gone on him since that fateful night due to so much more than mere appearances.

Your attraction to your future husband will be based on a million other (still very physical) things besides, and in addition to, appearance:  The roguish cowlicks in his hair that you get to help tame.  The way you lock eyes over a shared inside joke across a room.  The stories that go with each scar on his legs, and the way he tells those stories, in a voice reserved only for you.  Every time you feel the strength in his hand as he leads you through a crowd, you'll want to ravish him right then and there.  
Yeah, you’ll be attracted to him.

Appearances aside, it’s this physicality of love that you’ll be attracted to.  As you get to know someone more intimately, you will find yourself yearning more and more for those touches, those looks, those smiles, and it will matter less and less if his eyes are blue or brown, or if he’s taller than six feet, like you had imagined he would be.  The way your fingers intertwine with his when you hold hands, how your head fits into the crook of his neck, the feeling of protection that surrounds you when his arm is over your shoulders - you’ll think of nothing else.

This is the kind of attraction that will last throughout 20, 40, or 60 years of marriage, and won’t ever fade away (or so my grandparents have shown me).  That animalistic, instinctual attraction?  That’s simply lust, and it’s of this earth.  Trust that in your future husband, God will fulfill all the yearnings of your heart.  He will provide you with a man who you believe in wholeheartedly, love unabashedly, and desire with your whole self.  And it will be more than you ever imagined it could be.

*one of our engagement photos, by John Lew Photography


  1. beautiful words, valerie. and i couldn't agree more.

  2. Beautifully written! Good stuff!

  3. this makes me want to jump on my husband when he gets home tonight.

  4. I just wanna post this somewhere in my room or something. As beautiful as ever.

  5. bravo! I LOVE THIS. Very well written and informative :) Being single, I always fear one day when I'm married, I'll be like "what did I do? This is the wrong guy!" or something completely insane like that. I agree as you get to know and love someone, their looks are just an added bonus!