Choosing Attraction

couple looking at star
Attraction is important. I'd even say it's critical moving into marriage. But we can take an active role in nurturing it.

My friend Sam started listening to The Boundless Show about a year ago. He and I have had many conversations about dating and marriage, and I like to think he considers me a sort of “older sister.” Granted, an older sister who looks outrageously young and is incredibly witty and fun, while, at the same time, wise and discerning, but you get the point.

Sam wants to be married, and over the past year he and I have discussed a few women whom he thought had potential. One is a girl his parents suggested may be a good match (yay for involved parents!). She lives in another state and he knew very little about her, but agreed to meet her. They met on one of his trips home, and as you would expect, the fairy tale began immediately.

Nope.

Oh, he thought she was nice. He soon saw she was a quality girl. She loved the Lord. But he wasn’t really attracted to her. He didn’t think they “clicked.” And he certainly knew of other girls who better fit his preconceived notion of what he was looking for in a girlfriend and eventual wife.

He came back to Colorado unmoved. But out of personal conviction, his parents’ prompting (yay for persistent parents!), some biblical counsel and a few well-timed conversations, Sam agreed to pray about pursuing this girl. They met again, and then again, and there was still no spark. Figuring he’d given it a fair shot (and I told him that yes, he’d given it a fair shot), he was prepared to part ways with this girl and move on. But in the course of ending what had never really begun, they had their first real conversation. They put a few things on the table, including some honest assessments and understood frustrations. A few minutes became a few hours, and by the end of the conversation, the fledgling relationship was back on. Something real was there, they just weren’t sure what it was.

Sam came back to Colorado again and began a long-distance courtship that was difficult. Distance made communication exhausting. The attraction issue was still at the back of Sam’s mind. A bunch of “what-ifs” plagued him.

But then Sam did something that boggled my mind — Sam chose to go all in. Sam chose to focus on this girl and shut down his other options…even the ones that didn’t exist. And Sam chose attraction. He turned his heart toward this girl and began envisioning their future together. He began studying her for her, not for who she was compared to every other girl he’d known.

Candice once told me of a girl she knows who did the same thing: she agreed to open herself up to an honest friendship with a guy, propping her heart open just a little bit to relax around him and not operate out of fear — and it was just what she needed to see a small spark of attraction grow. They are now dating.

Attraction is important. I’d even say it’s critical moving into marriage. But we can take an active role in nurturing it. We can look at someone and say, “Wow, I enjoy her company. I admire her. I can be myself around her” — and we can use that as a foundation to consider something more. No hard and fast rules, no shame or coercion — just a fair shot. A fair shot that eliminates for the time being all of our unrealistic visions and expectations (“Paralyzed by ‘What-Ifs?’“) in favor of something better that God may have for us.

Sam told me the other day he’ll probably be engaged by the end of the summer. I couldn’t be happier. I met this girl for the first time last week, and what I know of her I already love. And I love my friend Sam, because he was courageous with his heart. He didn’t hang back passively. He didn’t make excuses. He didn’t hold out hope for something “better.” He looked at what was before him and considered it good. And in the process, it became something great.

Copyright 2010 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Lisa Anderson

Lisa Anderson is the director of Boundless and young adults at Focus on the Family and hosts The Boundless Show, a national radio program and podcast. She loves connecting with single young adults and strategizing how to better equip them for life, relationships and a faith that goes the distance; she does not love managing budgets or signing contracts, but realizes that’s part of her job, too. Lisa can often be heard at conferences and on radio and TV, getting worked up about dating, relationships, faith and hip-hop. She grew up in San Jose, California, is a graduate of Trinity International University in Chicago, and spent a good chunk of her life in media relations before joining Boundless. She runs to counterbalance her love of pastries and chicken tikka masala, and often quotes her mom, who’s known to say outrageous things. She’s the author of The Dating Manifesto: A Drama-Free Plan for Pursuing Marriage with Purpose (David C. Cook). Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaCAnderson.

 

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