Is it sinful to have outward preferences while looking for a spouse?

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cameronpickett

Puritan Board Freshman
Friends, I intend this question with utmost seriousness and mean in no way to be carnal. When searching for a spouse, is it sinful to have a “type” as a Christian? I care ultimately about a person’s salvation, godly virtue, and if she loves Christ, but is it wrong to refuse to seek a Christian woman because she is not my “type”? I understand beauty is vain and that God cares about the heart. Just would like some feedback from some here. Thank you!
 
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It depends on the 'type.' How superficial are you going? There are also some you just click with or have great chemistry. Suddenly Shallow Hal syndrome can become quite real (or rather the beer goggle laser surgery lol).
Wish I could help more. Nearly all the women I have been able to really click with, mostly at work, have nearly all been non-Christians (with many thinking they are being Catholic, not taking it seriously at all or unbelievers) with issues and/or were in transitioning relationships.
 
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Friends, I intend this question with utmost seriousness and mean in no way to be carnal. When searching for a spouse, is it sinful to have a “type” as a Christian? I care ultimately about a person’s salvation, godly virtue, and if she loves Christ, but is it wrong to refuse to seek a Christian woman because she is not my “type”? I understand beauty is vain and that God cares about the heart. Just would like some feedback from some here. Thank you!
You need to be attracted, it definitely has its place.
 
Of course it’s not sinful. That’s silly.

I’m being serious. Piety is very very important but it’s not the only thing that is of importance.

That said I think we’ve all become too picky. Too demanding. Too quick to dismiss someone if they don’t immediately check all the blocks we have.
 
I wouldn't avoid dates or opportunities to get to know women who don't check all of your physical boxes. That said, it would be sinful to pursue marriage with someone you're not attracted to. Richard Baxter has this to say in his Directory about the necessity of maintaining long-term marital love, which of course has a physical component:

"Remember that justice commandeth you to love one that hath, as it were, forsaken all the world for you, and is contented to be the companion of your labours and sufferings, and be an equal sharer in all conditions with you, and that must be your companion to death. It is worse than barbarous inhumanity to entice such a one into a bond of love, and society with you, and then to say, you cannot love her" (Baxter, A Christian Directory, 431).

Every blessing to you as you seek a spouse.
 
The little Chad and Emily Van Dixhoorn book on marriage I think puts it succinctly and wisely. Looks matter to the looker (i.e. you).

Practically speaking, if none of the boxes check at all and the "boxes" aren't ridiculously hyperspecific (like must be between 5'4 and 5'5 with x specific color of eyes and y shade of hair no less than shoulder length, etc... or the equivalent on personality traits/hobbies/interests/passions), then that's probably a decent sign that attraction might be limited.

But if it's more like the person's got some but not all then it's frankly a lot more realistic because there's always compromise in some direction, and checking off all of one particular set of boxes (especially on something like looks) often means boxes that should be more heavily weighted get ignored in favor of the "perfect match" but time and familiarity means the overlooked stuff becomes more prominent in conflict.

The Baxter quote is very, very wise.

What I'd also say is that if this person is a specific woman you have in mind, either you already know you don't match up well (despite both being Christians) or you don't really know her that well but some superficial boxes don't check and you're not sure about other items. If the first is the case then that's pretty self-explanatory, but if the latter is the case, then maybe you consider a few dates or spending a bit of time after church to get to know her better.
 
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No.
Also, gluttony is a sin, and it's not wrong to want a spouse that doesn't commit it or has repented of it, just like you wouldn't marry a drunk. And a good indicator of gluttony is how much someone looks.
Yes, I know it's possible to hit 200+ lbs because of rare medical conditions, but is it likely? And if someone has such medical conditions, is it really wise to marry someone who's chronically ill, either?
 
Friends, I intend this question with utmost seriousness and mean in no way to be carnal. When searching for a spouse, is it sinful to have a “type” as a Christian? I care ultimately about a person’s salvation, godly virtue, and if she loves Christ, but is it wrong to refuse to seek a Christian woman because she is not my “type”? I understand beauty is vain and that God cares about the heart. Just would like some feedback from some here. Thank you!
The one He puts you with you will be satisfied with. Pray for the woman He has for you and not look for a "type".
 
God gave you eyes for a reason and made women beautiful for a reason so you can’t pretend like neither exists. Nor is being attracted to what is beautiful “carnal.” But the inward beauty of godliness has a special radiance of the highest value. Lack of godliness makes the most beautiful person ugly.

A woman is an entire person - personality, character, appearance. Physical appearance starts to fade into the background as you get to know someone and you start to notice all the other great things that make a person beautiful and attractive.

You may not really know what your “type” is. I would advise not to trust yourself in these matters, the Lord knows who will be the best fit for you.
 
Physical attraction is important; God uses descriptions of it to illustrate Christ's delight in the church:
"Thou art fair, my love, thou art fair, thy breasts are like towers."
"...as a bride adorned for the bridegroom..."
"...then shall the king desire thy beauty..."
They wouldn't mean much as illustrations if physical attraction to beauty was sinful....
 
It's fine up to a point, but, to quote all the pop songs, when "you find that special someone," "when love finds you," your specific type usually isn't the deciding factor.
 
I agree with all here saying beauty has its place in decision making, but by golly as a culture (and in the church) we have been swept away by by unrealistic and unhealthy standards.

So, be wary of yourself in such matters.

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And to some degree, what we consider beautiful is culturally conditioned, so it’s an uphill climb to stay away from vanity.
 
Physical attraction matters but it is not immune to the trials and strains of marital difficulty. My wife is beautiful (when we were dating, not a few eyebrows were raised that I had landed so far above my league) and I've never thought otherwise. It is more readily apparent when things are going well between us and easier to forget and overlook in seasons of hardship.

I imagine that the converse could have some truth, but since we don't as a society embrace arranged marriages, I don't know anybody who married someone "ugly" and later came to see them as beautiful. The story of Jacob and Leah doesn't portend well, but maybe in other situations there was no Rachel.
 
The main error to avoid is marrying an immoral or heathen woman because she's attractive, as Solomon did, not marrying an honest Christian girl who's too attractive.
 
I imagine that the converse could have some truth, but since we don't as a society embrace arranged marriages, I don't know anybody who married someone "ugly" and later came to see them as beautiful. The story of Jacob and Leah doesn't portend well, but maybe in other situations there was no Rachel.
Right.

Mind you, though, doesn't mean that someone who you like as a person might not become more beautiful to you as you get to know them. I tend to find people frequently become more attractive to me, in a general sense, as I know them better.

Someone's looks can also be an acquired taste, as are many of the finer things in life.

Is that nose a bit too big? The chin a touch too soft? Such things can lend a face character and interest that can't be found in someone who looks ready to audition as a news anchor. Modelling agencies are aware of this, btw. It's not just something I'm pulling from nowhere as a consolation prize.

I once heard a guy say long ago, "Most women are really cute, provided they've taken care of themselves," and I tend to think that's true.

At any rate, the last thing you want to do is be in a relationship with somebody who, when they say, "Am I beautiful?" you must answer, "I... love your personality."

That won't go over well.
 
Right.

Mind you, though, doesn't mean that someone who you like as a person might not become more beautiful to you as you get to know them. I tend to find people frequently become more attractive to me, in a general sense, as I know them better.

Someone's looks can also be an acquired taste, as are many of the finer things in life.
That was more or less my point, though in today's society there's less opportunity to test the theory.
 
Attraction is an interesting thing. I think, when I was younger, I was very carnally minded about a woman not only being pretty but having a very attractive body.

Don't make the mistake of either marrying a woman because she's a knockout (but an unbeliever) or marrying someone convinced that she's the right person for you but there is no attraction. Attraction is mysterious, but you're going to be one flesh and it's important that you want to be around the woman you are marrying. I've seen some really sad relationships that don't have the latter.

That all said, the physical beauty can fade and I sometimes can't remember the immature person I was that wondered how a husband could be attracted to his middle-aged wife. I still find my wife very attractive. I'm not saying that's an "illusion". She is really attractive. My friend's wife, when my bride was walking down the aisle, asked: "How did Rich get her?!" What I'm saying is that there are other factors that make for the growth and warmth of a marriage that go beyond physical attraction in all cases, even while the attraction lasts.
 
It isn't sinful. It could be picky. Pickiness is relative to the dating pool that your heavenly Father has provided you with. In a godless age, that means a small dating pool indeed. You could search for more options, but there comes a point when looking for more options is counter-productive to getting married. At some point, you will need to appreciate someone that is an option.

Pickiness is also relative to priorities. Beauty fades and charm is deceitful but character and direction are more long lasting. What good will her beauty do when you have screaming babies and have had no sleep for days? What good will her beauty do when you are crushed under the Lord's affliction and need comfort?

Attraction is limited: even the world knows that a man can become bored of a supermodel's looks. People get used to how their spouses look.

Attraction is also not purely or even mostly a physical thing. It is related to shared values, emotional connection, and shared experiences. The most beauitful godless woman will come across as ugly to a godly man as he listens to her speak. A woman who is considered average in looks will be the most beauitful in the world as her godliness "beauitfies" her to a godly man. As you age, your wife will become more and more beautiful to you while her outward beauty fades. It is a different, deeper sort of attraction.

Attraction is also a matter of taste. There are many different kinds of beauty and many beautiful women with their own beauty given by the Lord: can you train your taste to appreciate more? We are limited with what we can do to train our taste, but the more broadly that you can appreciate the wider your options will be.


Attraction is needed but be realistic in what you seek and prioritize according to the things that matter most.
 
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Attraction is also not purely or even mostly a physical thing. It is related to shared values, emotional connection, and shared experiences. The most beauitful godless woman will come across as ugly to a godly man as he listens to her speak...
Or if he sees her eating asparagus (that was PG Wodehouse's remedy for recovering from fear or intimidation of others, as I recall: catch them eating asparagus).

Isn't there an old bit of earthy wisdom still clanging around about how you'll be happiest if you marry an ugly woman who can cook? And the "billionaire's wife" meme (won't post here b/c a bit rude, but worth looking up).

Those kinds of things do periodically percolate for a reason, I suspect, and it's not just sour grapes.
 
Isn't there an old bit of earthy wisdom still clanging around about how you'll be happiest if you marry an ugly woman who can cook? And the "billionaire's wife" meme (won't post here b/c a bit rude, but worth looking up)
Would you elaborate for those of us loath to witness what Google might bring up?
 
Would you elaborate for those of us loath to witness what Google might bring up?
Good point.

It's in the thumbnail. Probably wouldn't bother too many, but I didn't want to do a full pic for anyone it might offend, to look like I was endorsing.

It is kind of humorous though, and seems to get at... something.
 
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Good point.

It's in the thumbnail. Probably wouldn't bother too many, but I didn't want to do a full pic for anyone it might offend, to look like I was endorsing.

It is kind of humorous though, and seems to get at... something.
Any Christian should find that meme offensive. It’s degrading and sensual.
 
Good point.

It's in the thumbnail. Probably wouldn't bother too many, but I didn't want to do a full pic for anyone it might offend, to look like I was endorsing.

It is kind of humorous though, and seems to get at... something.
I’m not sure about that, but I will say that back in the Army there was a very readily available stereotype about the typical wife of a junior enlisted soldier versus the typical wife of a company grade officer versus the typical wife of an NCO… It was fascinating to see how those stereotypes played out so frequently.

In our quest to not be judgey, we forget that stereotypes usually become stereotypes for a reason.
 
Any Christian should find that meme offensive. It’s degrading and sensual.
I apologize. I don't personally find it offensive, but I respect your concerns and removed it.

SolaScriptura (above) does a pretty good job verbalizing what the meme was trying to get at in its crude way, I think.

One note of afterthought, and a bit of pushback, as an older man to a younger man: Is it possible, in light of your response here and your original post, that you found this so problematic precisely because you are a bit too attuned to physical appearances?

Just something to think about.
 
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One of the problems in terms of looks, particularly respecting the appearance of women, is that not very long ago, many men and women in their lives would ordinarily not go much beyond neighboring estates upon which they worked or more than a day or two journey (20-25 miles a day, or so) beyond their village.

Consequently, to men, most of the women that they saw looked fine. It was only in the latter 19th century, with the rise of photography in the popular press (newspapers and magazines), that one began to see girls much beyond their own places. And even then, those girls looked pretty natural, even in advertisements. It was only in the 20th c., and chiefly after the Second World War, that girls began to look unnaturally attractive in advertisements. For recent decades, this false image has been projected everywhere about us in our society (great work goes into making the models look as they do in the photos, to the consternation of many females who don't "match up").

As far as looks are concerned, all that has to be taken into account, especially with the prominent transgression of the last two to three decades of so many men pursued online with the ease that it is.

It's natural that we have types we prefer (for personality, gifts, etc., as well as looks). It's also not the case that we are unaffected by the lies of our culture that loom so large and are everywhere seen. Unless men are unusually thoughtful and holy in their thinking, it is hard for them as visual creatures to be unaffected by our society, even if they seek eye purity, because it's everywhere one looks. One must tell oneself that this is not how anyone looks on a daily basis in real life and that this is a device of the devil to sow discontentment and confusion even among Christian men and women.

So, yes, attraction is natural and consists of various things, including looks. All of the above historical realities need to be taken into account in this whole equation, however.

Peace,
Alan
 
Is it possible, in light of your response here and your original post, that you found this so problematic precisely because you are a bit too attuned to physical appearances?
I appreciate you taking it down. My response to the meme was honestly unrelated to this post. I believe the meme’s content itself was not Christ honoring. It classified different people in a coarse manner. Also, the meme showed a woman’s cleavage, which is unacceptable for a Christian’s eyes to view, even if it is just a meme.
 
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