Is Physical Attraction Necessary for Marriage?

I recently received an email from someone who asked this question. After I wrote him back he said my words were encouraging to him and that I should share them with others. So here you go:

Hey Brother,

As you might expect, a godly woman who loves the Lord would be the first quality I would encourage you to look for in a wife. I would encourage you to read 1 Peter 3:3-4 and see that God’s word encourages women to pursue “the imperishable beauty.” Physical attraction is not essential for a marriage to work. Will you love this woman if she has a terrible accident and disfigures her body or face? Or is your love conditional on your physical attraction? Do you want to be with her till you die (till death do us part) or are you going to be interested in a younger more physically attracted woman when you wife gets old, wrinkly, saggy skin, etc…? These questions may seem obvious but that is my point. If you think about it long enough you realize how shallow a marriage would be if physical attraction was the most important thing for you to look for.

So is it important at all?

Well, it would not be ideal for two people to marry if they find one another physically repulsive. But other than that extreme I think you might be surprised how attractive a woman would be to you if she had a radiant inner beauty and if she was committed entirely to you. One of the most attractive things about my wife is that she is 100% committed to me and nobody else. I find that very attractive and it has nothing to do with her physical beauty. I am coming on 7 years of marriage and have been with my wife over 10 years if you count our dating/courtship relationship and these truths continue to become more true with every passing year.

Another thing that comes to mind is that I fully believe that I could have married someone else and it would have been just as good as my current marriage. I do not mean I sit around and think about what it would be like to be married to another woman. I simply mean that there is no such thing as finding “the one.”

Does God have a wife for you? Of course. Do you know who she is? Nope. When will you know? When you ask a woman to marry you, she says yes, and then you both say I do. Then you will know that she is “the one.” Knowing God is sovereign and good should help you rest at night. He is in control and his grace will always be sufficient for you when you are married or single. However, knowing that you need to make choices should encourage you to find a godly woman and commit yourself totally to her.

At the end of the day marriage is more about staying committed and keeping your promise, than it is about staying in love, being physically attracted, compatible, etc… Let’s throw out another scenario. Let’s say you find a godly woman, you are attracted to her, and everything is wonderful. You get married and after two years into the marriage you wake up one day and realize this woman is completely different then the woman you thought you married. Over time her true character was revealed and she was not as godly as she appeared to be. She doesn’t even want to go to church anymore! What are you to do? Get a divorce? Covet after other godly women? Or stay committed to your covenant? I think we all know that the answer is that you are to be a servant to her. You are to be patient with her. You are to pray for her and wash her in the word. You are to treat her like Christ has treated you and extend to her an amazing amount of grace that she does not deserve.

Brother, I hope that the above scenario never happens to you, but I hope it does help you get a better picture of what your calling as a husband would be if the Lord leads you to a wife. Its a wonderful calling, but it requires dying to yourself and putting to death the worldly pictures of marriage we have in our head.

I hope I answered your question and provided some good thoughts for you to dwell on




Filed under Marriage, Sexuality

2 responses to “Is Physical Attraction Necessary for Marriage?

  1. Deanna Giles

    I would also add, that if you are not attracted physically, it is probably the wrong person. The sexual side of a godly marriage is very important in keeping us holy before the Lord.

  2. Jonn

    A key role of marriage, in the biblical view, is to combat sexual temptation. One can even argue, based on Paul’s writings, that if you do not need a sexual partner in order to resist the temptation of promiscuity, you should not get married. A major component of sexual temptation is the desire to engage in sexual acts with someone you find sexually attractive. If you do not seek a partner who will help you avoid that temptation, you ignore the biblical command to flee temptation.
    Physical attraction is complicated, especially for women. If someone has all these wonderful qualities, they will tend to influence how you perceive them so that you DO find them attractive. If, despite those qualities, you do not, you have to ask yourself why.
    The point about remaining in a marriage despite a disfiguring accident is irrelevant to the argument. As your own discussion of the proper response to a change in a spouse’s religious committment shows, the qualities that one should seek out in a prospective spouse and the qualities that would justify a decision to abandon one’s current spouse are very different.

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