Starting in middle school I always had what I’ll call a target girl. This was the girl that I thought was “THE ONE“. She was basically the girl that I thought was the most attractive and if I could somehow get her, then everything in my world would be right. This became a pattern for a long time. This idea that a particular girl who was “hot” was the answer to my love life.
What’s really interesting is that these girls I liked weren’t necessarily more attractive than many other girls. Grab an old yearbook and find pictures of the girl that you were obsessed with. Compare her to a bunch of other girls in the book. My bet is she’ll be attractive but not way more attractive than others. It’s crazy. There were girls I could have pursued, who maybe would have gone out with me, who are just as attractive.
Our society has a standard of beauty. This is not actually real of course. We all know the photos of women we see in magazines are doctored etc. Yet we are constantly comparing. I remember one time sitting at Sonic (taking a break from cruising North Oak) with a friend of mine and a cute server came out. My friend said, “She’s cute but I don’t like her calves.” Really?! But as a teenager, inundated with a constant stream of the cultural standard it’s not a surprising statement.
The problem is that we think if we could get the perfect looking woman then we would be validated as a man.
This isn’t just the idea that we would always be attracted to this person (which is a lie) but also it’s an ego thing. We want everyone to look at our girl and think that we have arrived because we have her. We are looking for the perfect beauty and comparing everything against it. This imaginary beauty becomes our standard.
My pastor has shared from the pulpit many times (borrowing from Driscoll) that when you are married, your wife is to be your standard of beauty. I think that is an incredibly right and profound truth. When you are married she is THE ONE.
But here is what we don’t talk about. As a single person, what the heck is my standard of beauty supposed to be? Answer from the pulpit, “Cricket, cricket, cricket.”
I know of no guy who married someone that he wasn’t attracted to physically. To pretend otherwise is a joke. Now back in the day of arranged marriages you got married and that became your standard (biblically, although obviously not always in practice). But here in the now, you choose who to pursue and physical attraction is a part of it.
So what should be our standard of beauty?
For starters, hot does not always equal beauty. If you’ve dated at all you know this is true. Beauty is more than physical. It has to do with who a person is. We’ve all met the hot girl who got less attractive as we got to know her. We’ve also had women who as we talked with them and saw them in action, we saw them as more beautiful. This is one of the reasons that we HAVE to move from looking at women to talking to them. Being physically attracted is just a starting point to a deeper attraction.
Our standard has to be more than is she the hottest person in the room because there will always be another hot person. Always! You have to get beyond this.
At the same time I would say that you need to be physically attracted or you are not going to pursue. I think you have to have what I’m going to call physical chemistry. For lack of a better way of saying it, you need to want to have sex with this person. Now the good and bad news about this is that as guys we can see having sex with a lot of people, so it’s not a stand alone criteria for marriage. But realizing this can free us up to pursue someone instead of waiting for an imaginary woman.
You also need to get over what anyone else thinks about how attractive she is. This is so stupid. I can’t think of one guy I respect more or less because of how “hot” his wife is. What matters is are you attracted to her. And no woman no matter how “perfect” is going to validate you – only God can do that.
We have to stop comparing women to the world’s standard and allow ourselves to become and stay attracted to someone.
So here’s my question to you – What is your standard of beauty?