The world tells us that the way to know whether two people are “right for each other” is to measure the white-hot physical attraction between the two, combined with the idea of “chemistry” on steroids—their ability to effortlessly have day-long conversations anytime about anything, punctuated by the quick, witty exchanges found mostly in edgy independent comedies. In our culture — and in many churches — “attraction,” whether purely physical or “chemistry-related,” is considered the foundational way to evaluate a potential marriage relationship.
Christians, however, are called to think differently. We’re to use Scripture as the measure of our desires. We’re to take every thought, every area of our lives captive to God’s Word. Thankfully, attraction does play a role in finding a husband or wife. Read Song of Solomon. Biblically, however, attraction as the world understands it cannot be the foundation on which a godly marriage is built.
Let’s examine two problems with the “attraction-as-foundation” approach to dating and marriage—one theological, one practical — and then look at the idea of biblical attraction.
The fundamental theological problem with the “attraction-as-foundation” approach to dating and marriage is that it grossly distorts the biblical definitions of love and marriage. What’s the big question most people agonize over with regard to finding a spouse? “How do I know if I’ve found the one?” As Michael Lawrence observes, “The unstated goal of the question is ‘How do I know if she’s the one . . . for me.’”
And that’s essentially selfish. I don’t mean that such an approach involves malice or the intent to hurt anyone. I simply mean that such an approach is self-centered. It conceives of finding a spouse from the standpoint of what will be most enjoyable for me based on my tastes and desires. What will I receive from marriage to this or that person?