The Draw of Beauty

What role does beauty serve? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last week I didn’t blog due to the Thanksgiving holiday. We had someone who was super generous to us who paid for Allie and I go to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. We stayed there from Tuesday night to Thursday morning. We went on a boat ride in the hotel there and also went to the ICE program which had the movie A Christmas Story done in ice sculptures followed by a beautiful nativity scene done in ice.

The boat ride involved going through the hotel where there were several waterfalls and exotic plants. Our guide told us about so many of them and we were able to easily ride down the river that is inside the hotel. All of this leaves me thinking about the role of beauty.

We could say that all of this beauty is a draw to the customers and that would be something because there is no functional role to all of this other than that. Having a river in the hotel with exotic plants and waterfalls doesn’t improve the function of the hotel. It could possibly be said it creates more expense and leaves some other needs for the hotel that have to be maintained.

Yet this expense is probably worth it because it draws so many people in. We have this idea that it’s a waste to focus on making things beautiful. Think of the responses often given to the building of a magnificent cathedral, the one Bill Maher gives in Religulous. Couldn’t this have been given to the poor? What’s the point of all the grandeur and beauty?

The purpose is to draw us into the beauty of God. It is to leave us with awe. This is something I think we have missed in many of our churches today. I get that not everyone is going to come to a church that’s designed like a cathedral. I do think though that if we are presenting God, we need to make Him as beautiful as possible with what we have.

Consider also how this works with the opposite sex. Aside from men who are gay, we normally don’t say, “That is one good-looking guy. I want to get to know him better.” It is what we say with women. How many guys have wanted to get to know a girl and it has been started solely by her appearance? This is something that women know, but I don’t think they fully utilize to their advantages.

If you’re a single woman wanting to marry, let your beauty be a draw, because it will be, but don’t share all of that beauty until a wedding night. If a man is not willing to pursue you to that point, then he does not really want you for you. He wants your body mainly and he’s not willing to go the distance to prove he loves you.

For married women, you have a great power to enthrall and motivate your husbands. Even after decades of being married, many men are still enthralled by the beauty of their wives. I have been married nine years and the beauty of my own wife is still brand new. As someone with Aspergers, for years, people tried to get me to change my diet and I refused to budge. Allie did it and she didn’t even have to try. Why? Beauty. She is a motivation.

Let’s face it. If guys weren’t attracted to women, we really wouldn’t bother. We have to change so much of who we are and spend so much money and give so much of ourselves over and over. The relationship a man has with his wife is radically different from any relationship he has with a male friend. Why do we do it? Beauty. We want that beauty.

Our society knows this well. This is why we have a make-up industry. Beauty sells to people. Now I’m personally not a big fan of make-up, although there was a time recently Allie’s eyes were quite stunning with some, but some guys are. I also remember one time Allie wanted to get a dress that was on sale at Wal-Mart. I waited outside of the dressing room while she tried it on. When she came out, my jaw just dropped immediately. This was my wife? Seriously? She looked like she walked right out of a fashion magazine and it was incredible.

Maybe all this beauty doesn’t help the woman in any other way, but it does help her draw a man who will love her for her. Doubtless, it doesn’t really start that way, but it does change over time. Most of our loves start with selfish reasons. We want the other person for ourselves for some reason. In time, the habits we do to get that person end up changing us. Through the use of these habits, I now say easily I love Allie more than I did on our wedding day. Love has been a practice. It has been a choice.

Some people deny objective beauty. This is a ridiculous position. It means a stick figure drawn by a small child is more beautiful than the Mona Lisa. It means a pile of dung is beautiful just like a bouquet of flowers is. It means that nothing in this universe is truly beautiful. It is just an idea we have created and imposed on the universe. If such is the way we think, then be consistent and say nothing is truly beautiful, but I suspect many of us don’t want to do that.

I regularly give thanks for beauty. Being a married man, I particularly give thanks for the beauty of my wife and think that when God made women, He knew what He was doing and did it good. Beauty serves to draw us in and may it draw us into the beauty of God.

In Christ,
Nick Peters