Physical beauty, physical attraction: How much weight should we give it? Is our process of choosing who to date that different from the beauty pageants of Achashvarosh? Haven’t we simply replaced his beauty-driven search with resumes, profiles, Facebook, and Jswipe?
As much as we may want to fight it, attraction is a crucial ingredient in relationships. Obviously men and woman process this topic very differently, yet I believe it’s important for all of us to approach this subject head-on for both genders so we can better understand and navigate this central component of the modern dating landscape:
1. Don’t judge a book by its cover: 2019 Edition. For better or worse, it’s extremely easy to get pictures of a prospective date. Human beings can be deep, multi-faceted, emotionally complex, unexpectedly witty, and intelligent in all sorts of ways. This unique dimensionality and color will never be captured in a photo. Be careful not to make the biggest decision of your life based on very limited and possibly misleading information.
2. Looks are important, but… Putting aesthetics too high on your list of priorities will leave you wondering why you just dated a very attractive person with absolutely nothing to talk about.
I would never suggest that looks don’t matter. What I would say is that they need to be weighed in the correct proportion. There are many wonderful traits that make up a person, and looks is just one.
3. Looks aren't everything, but… Imagine a mansion that is fabulous on the inside but the outside is covered with peeling paint, surrounded by dead weeds, and enclosed by a broken fence. This exterior would not encourage many to venture across the threshold to see the beauty that may be within. To get past the “front door,” there needs to be an incentive.
It isn’t all about looks, but dating does generally demand a baseline of attraction. An investment in this area is an investment in your future, and those that hold out may painfully find themselves single year after year before finally being willing to make such efforts down the line.
There is much men and women can do to enhance their physical beauty, from clothing and grooming changes to refreshing their wardrobe to commiting to healthier habits. There are all sorts of online and in-person resources that can help, and these can include friends and family as well. It’s best only to offer a to go on a shopping trip or offer grooming tips when input is asked for, please, but singles also shouldn’t be too proud to reach out for guidance or accept it with an open mind.
4. Confidence is attractive: Society may want to push values and looks that are not in line with who you are and who you want to be. Stay true to yourself and present your most confident self. A warm smile, an inviting, open nature, and non-judgmental confidence are extremely attractive as well.
5. Be careful what you ask for — you just might get it: Not everyone who is attractive is high-maintenance, but those who are can come with their own challenges. Their habits can be expensive, for example: the beauty treatments, the deluxe gym membership, the makeup counter, the custom suits. It’s not uncommon for highly-attractive people to be superficial and self-absorbed, and these are not easy qualities to live with and don’t bode well for the proper raising of children. In short, external beauty is not a guarantee of happiness.
6. Nobody gets everything: “The full package” only exists for those that haven’t unpacked the package. The process of achieving perfection is a life goal, and one that will always remain incomplete. Since there are going to be trade-offs, be sure not to trade in crucial and lasting value for anything superficial or fleeting.
7. Take it as a sign. Don’t take rejection based on superficial characteristics personally. Staying with someone in that situation would not be good for either of you in the short or long term. Take it as a sign that this is just not the person for you, not that your personal value is in any way diminished, and move on to someone who wants you. Beauty is subjective, and there is someone for everyone.
Marriage is a partnership where two different beings meld together to build a life, home, and future. That doesn’t mean their needs are the same, and a goal of a marriage union should be to extend outside of oneself and meet the needs of the other; to flex your relationship muscles together and strengthen the bonds that are required to build a strong home.
May your future homes be filled with both external and internal beauty, and may that route be the shortest distance to your longest relationship.
By Rachel Burnham