Catholic Dating: What does physical attraction matter in a decision to date someone?
Many people make the mistake of thinking that they should pursue a relationship with someone because they feel such strong feelings of attraction. We are all attracted to what is beautiful, but that does not mean that we should pursue each beautiful person we see. For example, even in marriage there may be times when you experience feelings of attraction toward people other than your spouse. Needless to say, such attractions are not a sign that you should leave your husband or wife.
Being attracted to another person is wonderful, and I would not recommend that a couple get married if they are not attracted to each other. This is the natural way that God has made us. However, if a woman marries a man only because of an intense physical attraction, or a man refuses to get married because he cannot find a Christian Barbie doll, then there is a problem. We are not to expect flawless perfection in the other. If we do, then the flaw is not in the others but in us. We may need to readjust our priorities so that love does not pass us by. As one man said, ‘‘God help the man who will not marry until he finds a perfect woman, and God help him still more if he finds her.’’
The book of Proverbs says: ‘‘Like a golden ring in a swine’s snout is a beautiful woman with a rebellious disposition. . . . Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised’’ (Prov. 11:22, 31:30, NAB). These verses do not mean that physical attraction is bad but that other factors, such as the person’s personality and spirituality, are more important. When the beauty fades—and the external beauty will fade—then who are you left with? Ask yourself this question now instead of later. Look at a same-sex grandparent of the person you would like to marry. Now add all the internal qualities that your potential spouse has. Can you say that you would still want to spend your life with him or her? You should. An easier way to test your attraction is to pretend you are blind. Now ask yourself how attractive the other becomes.
A relationship stands on whatever foundation you choose. If a couple build their relationship on the foundation of pleasure, the relationship will last as long as the pleasure is sufficient. If it is based only upon looks, then when the looks fade, so will the relationship. Since judgment is easily clouded by physical beauty and the infatuation it inspires, make sure you have role models who can provide you with guidance.