A friend of mine wrote in response to a recent blog about my comment on how we are to be attracted to our wives as men and how I said that the command to love could be stated as “Be sexually attracted.” This is always a great danger of a writer though. You cannot explain everything and sometimes, what you intend is not always clear as she asked me “Surely it’s more than that.”
Now this is a good friend who is quite insightful herself as I just read a blog of hers on beauty, so naturally, she knew that that wasn’t all that I meant. Of course, the Bible tells more about how a husband is to treat his wife, but I thought I’d think about the question some more and then get back with an answer.
Yet as I thought about it, I thought the first thing to answer before “What does attraction entail?” is “Why be attracted?” I’m writing this mainly with men in mind as the Proverbial writer did. Yes. I do believe his advice can apply to females to a certain extent, but I think it’s clear Solomon was writing to a young man.
Men. There are many beautiful things out there. There are sunsets and mountain ranges and works of art. We could even say that the male body has its own kind of beauty. It is not the kind that we should desire, but we do not do ourselves a service if we see ourselves as ugly. (And many of us have looked ourselves over in the mirror I’m sure.)
But yet, we can easily say all of these are beautiful, but the female body is different. Now in some cases of beauty, it is enough to stare at it and contemplate it. In my old state, I had a counselor who I visited regularly and sometimes before a session, I’d go to the prayer room and there would be a lovely mosaic sort of stained-glass painting of Jesus knocking on a door out of Revelation 3:20.
I could lie on the couch in this room and look at that painting and think about it. I’d see the light tap that Jesus was knocking. I’d see his still and solemn expression. I’d see his simple appearance with a robe and a staff. Everything about that painting spoke to me and I’d see more and more.
However, there is another kind of beauty and that is the beauty that you desire to experience. This is the female beauty. Now naturally, that entails some admiration beauty being intact. In some cases, we have to accept this. I know some men with beautiful wives and I do admire the beauty of their wives, but I know I cannot desire to experience that one particular beauty. (Of course, I have to remind myself of that sometimes.)
But then, there are those who are not married and we see that beauty and it is not enough to desire it. We want to know it. We want to experience it. We want to take that body and soul and experience as much oneness with it as we can. We want to know it on a level unlike anything else. (By the way, think about the desire for God throughout this and see how many parallels you see.)
Men. We should at this point be thankful that we are men. It is that manly side of us that allows us to desire the female beauty in such a unique way that the female cannot. (Or at least, should not.) This is not to denigrate females. Females should give thanks that they are females. We should give thanks that we are males though. Masculinity and femininity are good things, and we should each give thanks that we get to participate in one of them.
So why do we desire the female in a different way? I believe it is because the female completes the potential we have. If you take a normal adult male, he can feed himself, fend for himself, and do whatever he needs to do in life by himself. However, there is one thing he cannot do by himself. He cannot reproduce. The same applies for the female.
When in the garden, God said that Adam needed a helper. If he had meant a helper for physical labor in the garden to tend it, another male would have been a better helper. This is not as a criticism of females, but their gift is not in physical strength. They are more nurturers. However, God did not give a man, so it seems the main goal was not to work the garden.
The goal had also been to go forth and multiply. This is where the woman came in. The man has one aspect of life inside of him and he awaits a female so he can fulfill that potential. It is only by the unity of the male and female aspects that new life can come into the world.
Please note that even with modern methods, the parts are still the same. Even with in vitro fertilization, we still need sperm and eggs. Those two are there. The male then desires the female because she enables him to fulfill the one aspect of masculinity that he cannot fulfill on his own. That of giving life to the egg. The female in turn desires the male for the one aspect of femininity she can’t fulfill on her own. That of being impregnated so she can give birth and bring new life into the world.
In fact, for those who struggle with homosexuality, it could be the case that they have not learned to rejoice and accept their own sexuality. The man needs to see himself as a male and desire the feminine aspect that will allow him to reach his potential that he can’t do alone and the female should do likewise.
In this, the man and woman are both complete and maybe this is even part of the answer to how we are to treat wives as men. If we are completed by the woman, how can we become more complete? There is one woman that completes us and we do not need to go beyond her.
Of course, I do plan to expound on this further later, but I think this is an important point to start at. Before we discuss what it entails to be attracted, we must ask what being attracted means.