Dear Anthony, I just met with someone I have been writing to and I just was not attracted to him though he is very nice and has great qualities. I guess I was expecting to be more attracted to him than I am. And therein lies the dilemma of the modern single person, including Catholics. Everyone wants to marry a person who has it all: On one hand, they want to believe that they are not so shallow as to need a great- looking person when it should be what is inside a person that matters most.
Ultimately, you have to be physically attracted to the person you marry. And frankly, this is actually the primary way God designed how marriages take place and babies come into the world. What I am referring to is the use of our sexual gifts. God has brilliantly designed us so that we would desire a member of the opposite sex and that desire would provide a natural movement toward intimacy that will lead to conception of babies and the bonding of the two persons engaging in those physical- union experiences.
In other words, his plan is that mankind marry and bond permanently and indissolubly in order to lawfully ACT on our sexual desires and passions. Our sexuality is very much connected to our whole person, not just the inside.
Just because a person is a strong practicing Catholic does not mean you could marry them. There is more to it than religious conviction. Just as the Sacraments and Sacramentals use externals to draw us toward an inner and hidden mystery, so it is with how two people come together toward the intimacy of close friendship, and ultimately in marriage. The person you marry will be one person who has come along in your life that becomes someone you desire to know better and have a deeper relationship with.
That movement is what should make two people contact the local pastor of their church and make wedding plans. Now the tricky part. Should you have this physical attraction immediately for you to know whether to continue seeing a person or not? The answer is no. In fact, many people do not have physical attraction kick in until the other attractive aspects of the person turn into something that makes you more attracted.
Everyone in a relationship especially the woman wants to feel like they are unique, special, one-of-a-kind. And when intimacy takes place close friendship , this is in fact what happens. And for a man and a woman, becoming close friends naturally leads to a desire for more. But again, that desire for more often times is an awakening; a realization of something you did not know before; recognition of something you did not see before.
The heart moves and speaks, and the eyes open to mystery that goes beyond mere material physical attributes. The physical attraction is now there. And it is unique to the two individuals. That is what is so hard about objective physical beauty. It can be a real curse to be objectively beautiful. I have had solid Catholic women who are very gorgeous tell me heartbreaking stories of their difficulties finding true love.
And it makes sense. What does that tell her? What does that tell the guys? Only that nature is working. But it tells nothing of the mystery of love. Attraction toward marriage is about a unique experience of two people for each other that does not desire an ending, but rather longs for what is next.
Time tests this, and a mind open to people who come in our life that God sends is imperative. In addition, the prayerful work of dismantling any distorted approach we have to physical attraction is needed for many.
Too many single people, especially men, have too dangerous of a tendency to make physical objective beauty the benchmark of their determination of another. This is a mistake! Time is the answer. You might be surprised whom you discover is really in your midst.
Your vocation to marriage may very well depend on this cautious approach to love. Anthony Buono is the founder of Avemariasingles. Visit his blog at 6stonejars.