- Dr. Gil Stieglitz
What Attracts Your Spouse to You?
Marriage Secret #4:
"I want my spouse to attract me and to keep attracting me...
even as we get older."
Let's talk for a moment about a completely misunderstood secret to relationships -- the need for attraction.
Every spouse wants to be attracted to their spouse and wants their spouse to be attracted to them. Unfortunately, most of us don't realize what really makes attraction work at the deepest levels. If we are only looking at the physical appearance of the person, then we have the wrong idea of attraction. It goes way beyond the physical. I can prove that physical attraction is not the real key to what attracted you to your spouse. How? By asking you if you would have been attracted to your husband or wife if, even though they were handsome or beautiful in appearance, they berated you every time you saw them, or they demeaned you whenever you spoke. What about if they constantly disagreed with you and called you "stupid" or bad names? If they treated you that way during the dating phase, then their physical attractiveness would not have been enough to get you to say, "yes" to marriage. Do you agree?
If a person is a complaining, whiny, ogre who demeans and ridicules you then it doesn't matter how physically attractive they may be, they do not attract you to them. In order to make a marriage work at the best level we need to be drawn to the person and find ourselves enjoying their company and disappointed when we do not get to spend time with them.
What was it then that made your spouse attractive to you? What made you attractive to your spouse? Even if the initial reason was physical, there was always the hope, the hint that this relationship could go deeper than skin deep. Maybe this relationship held promise that it could become a soul-mate relationship in which this other person could understand and love the real you. This is fundamentally what everyone wants.
Attraction can be broken down in to two types: short-term attractiveness and long-term attractiveness. Short-term attractiveness will not make a marriage work. Everyone likes pretty things, but that is not the secret of a great, long-lasting relationship. I can be temporarily attracted to a new car, but I know I cannot make the payments or pay for the insurance on that car, so the attraction doesn't work in the real world. I can be intrigued by the look of a new house, but I cannot afford the price or the maintenance on that attractive house, so reality tempers my attraction. I can be initially attracted to another person, but I cannot make the payments on that relationship or recover from the damage that pursuing that other person would do to my present relationships. The secret is what attracts and keeps attracting your spouse long-term.
It is interesting that just like in all of the other secrets, we find that one spouse understands the definition of attractiveness differently than the other. Each person is drawn to a particular kind of person based on what they need out of a relationship. Usually one spouse finds security the most attractive aspect about a person. They ask themselves, "Will this person allow me to have mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, financial, and relational security?" If the answer is "yes," then they are attracted to that person. On the other hand, one spouse will see a growing, beautiful soul as an extremely attractive feature. The more attractive the person's soul, the more attractive they are. If a person is kind, comforting, adaptable, and respectful, then the person is attractive to them.
Think about all the ways that your spouse is a positive benefit in your life and why your spouse is attracted to you. If there is a lack of attraction in your relationship right now, examine yourself first to see if you are supplying mental, emotional, physical, relational, or financial security to your spouse. Or if there is something in your soul that has become unattractive, such as disrespect, rigidity, complaining, nagging, or unkindness. It is always better to examine yourself first, like Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:3-5,
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
And of course, it is always wise to consider how you look physically. Are there things you could do to be more attractive outwardly, such as working to eat healthier, exercising regular, grooming your hair, wearing clothes that are neat and clean? If you're not sure what changes to make in this area, your spouse is a good place to start. Ask them, "What changes would you like to see in my appearance?" Be open to what they say and start there. Remember, though, if you only focus on becoming outwardly attractive but don't also work on the qualities mentioned above, that's not what you want either. The Lord wants us to continue working on ourselves to make us better people for our spouse and others (Phil. 1:9-11).
(Taken from an excerpt from Dr. Gil's new book, Marriage Secrets, coming out soon.)
I look forward to interacting with you during your spiritual journey. Please email me at email@example.com to let me know how God is working in and through your life. Your greatest life is just ahead. In His service,
Dr. Gil Stieglitz
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