I don't think I understand what I'm supposed to be attracted to in a girl. Outside of physical attraction, what can a girl provide me that I can't find in my male friends?
I'm 26 years old, and I had a girlfriend in high school for two years, but I think that was mostly due to teenage hormones. Since then, I haven't really found any girls too interesting. With the girls I'm friends with, I enjoy their company, but outside of physical attraction, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be attracted to.
I used to struggle with pornography, but that was about five years ago, so I assume that issue is no longer relevant. Still, I think I'm not understanding something that everybody else seems to understand.
Thanks for your honest question. It seems like there are a couple of things to talk about here. The first is your lack of desire to pursue marriage generally, and the second is what kind of woman you should pursue. Let me offer some thoughts on both that I hope will be helpful for you.
You didn't say so in your question, but I will assume for purposes of my response that you consider yourself to be a believer. Assuming that's true, I will also assume that you are seeking to live your life in a way that glorifies God and aligns with Scripture. Assuming that's true, I need to challenge you a little bit on your approach to relationships generally. As I read your question, it seems shot through with a "what's in it for me?" approach. What can marriage to a woman "provide" you that your friendships with men don't already provide you? As a follower of Jesus, how much time do you spend thinking about what you as a godly man could provide to a woman?
The Bible repeatedly encourages us to live our lives in robust, caring relationships with other believers, seeking to edify and build others up in the faith. "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (John 5:13). "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24). "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3). These are just a few examples. Perhaps one of the things you don't understand that more mature believers do is that deep, deliberate, mutually giving relationships with other believers, while demanding on the soul and schedule, reflect the Gospel, glorify God and are one of His great gifts to us in a fallen world.
As to marriage more specifically, I'm not suggesting you should pursue something you're indifferent to as much as I'm suggesting you explore in your own heart and mind why you are so indifferent to it. As I've written previously, Scripture seems not just to encourage, but to assume that part of growth into biblical manhood is to seek marriage. In the Bible, marriage and family are considered a natural stage of progression toward manhood. The command in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply is a general command and part of the creation order. When Paul extols singleness in 1 Corinthians 7 (which is an often-misused passage in this area of life), it is singleness for the purpose of enhanced ministry (discipleship, teaching, missionary work). If you haven't already done so, you might consider joining a good church, getting really involved there, and seeking out an accountability and discipleship relationship with an older brother in the Lord. You might be surprised at how it will change your perspective.
OK, enough of that. What should you be attracted to when you do pursue marriage? As a believer in Jesus, you should value what God values, and that means pursuing a godly woman. You mentioned physical attraction, but that should actually be relatively low on your list of priorities. In fact, 1 Peter 3:3-4 admonishes godly women to "not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." I'm certainly glad to hear you are no longer viewing pornography, but you might think about whether the objectifying nature of porn has had a lasting effect on how you view women.
More specifically, you should look to pursue a woman who embodies — or at least aspires to — the characteristics the Bible extols as those of godly womanhood and of a godly wife. In addition to 1 Peter 3, you can check out Ephesians 5, Titus 2 and Proverbs 31, among other passages, for a good discussion of many of those characteristics.
That's not to say that physical attraction, "chemistry" and common interests play no role in choosing a potential spouse — of course they do. But too often in our sexualized, romance-driven, self-focused society, those things play too large a role, often determining whether someone is pursued at all or the relationship moves forward to marriage. The Bible instructs us to pursue godliness ourselves and to value what God values. That principle applies no less in who we seek to marry than in any other area of our lives.
I hope you don't feel too beaten up after reading this, my friend. If it helps, I had very similar things said to me, and they did me a world of good. I certainly will pray for the Lord to give you wisdom as you continue to think through these things.
Copyright 2014 Scott Croft. All rights reserved.