Pastor Jim provides advice for Christian singles about the place of chemistry in relationships.
Is attraction an important ingredient in dating?
Attraction is an important ingredient in dating. Many are guided by whether or not they ‘feel’ an attraction toward a person of the opposite gender. The physical attraction toward another person is often capsulated under the term ‘chemistry.’ I suggest that this is one of the most misunderstood areas connected with potential relationships.
“Character and behavioral traits are much more important foundational elements for determining the potential of a good relationship”
Many men and women are told after a few dates that, while there may have been chemistry initially, there is no longer a chemistry felt for them. Because there is no chemistry the person has decided to drop the relationship and pursue another direction. It can be a very devastating time in the life of a single adult.
“Spend time in prayer seeking God’s guidance about the relationship.”
I strongly believe that too much focus is being placed on chemistry, or physical attraction. Allow me to share some points that I believe need to be understood when considering chemistry.
Fews points about chemistry:
- Many marriages in the Old Testament were arranged. Jacob is one of those who had ‘chemistry’ toward Rachel, only to find that he had married Leah.
- A fact of life is that we have been conditioned by society to look for the physical attributes of others first. This is like having dessert before you eat your veggies.
- It is a well-established fact in both secular and Christian counseling that sexual satisfaction grows with a relationship.
- People that had ‘chemistry’ initially and lose it after a few dates never had chemistry in the beginning. They had a fantasy and were attracted to what they wanted the connection to become, versus what it really was. Such approaches are self-serving and damaging to others. If you find yourself being guided in this manner get a reality check and learn how to look for the essential ingredients first.
- I find it absolutely fascinating to find that many previously married men and women are often consumed to not ‘repeat’ the sexual incompatibility of their previous marriage. What is interesting is that BOTH of them move into a new marriage and enjoy sex like they never have before. My observation is that it was not sexual incompatibility in the previous marriage that was the difficulty. It was one or both of them not addressing the underlying relationship issues that need to be fed and present BEFORE good sex can take place. Conversely, those who so highly demand sexual compatibility in a new marriage are often the ones to marry again and not have it. They think that a good sexual relationship in dating is a good indicator of sex after marriage. It is NOT! If the man or women does not take the time to discover their part in contributing to the lack of sexual satisfaction in the previous marriage, the odds are huge that they will repeat the same cycle. Good intentions have little to do with reality. Recall the old saying ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’ God does know best on this one when He says to wait until marriage for sex.
- If the chemistry is the RESULT of building a strong foundation for the relationship in the other areas, it is a great thing. If chemistry is measured prior to building the foundation and growing the relationship, it is leading with FEELINGS and nothing more. If you choose to lead with your feelings, you will have great difficulty in finding the ‘right’ person and will be in a vicious cycle of searching and searching… and…
- Instead of leading with chemistry, I encourage you to look for all those traits and qualities you desire in a mate. Character and behavioral traits are much more important foundational elements for determining the potential of a good relationship.
- I am not saying that one should ignore physical attraction. I am saying that it needs to be only one of many considerations, made with proper timing.
- Take the time to get to really know another person. Spend time in prayer seeking God’s guidance about the relationship. Invite the input of trusted and wise friends and family. If you see that the relationship is not moving in an affirming direction in a reasonable time, discuss it openly with the other person. Pray about it and affirm each other as individuals. Do not force a relationship, but do give it time to surface any potential.
- Telling another person that you do not find chemistry in the relationship and want to move on is really an immature way to handle a very vulnerable situation. I believe it would be better to bathe it in prayer and openly be considerate of one another.
- If someone comes to you after a period of relating and tells you that they have been seeking God’s guidance in your relationship and do not have a peace about pursuing it, tell them to pray with you about it. Honor their position and take it up with God. Share your heart with God and tell him that you value the potential of the relationship, but trust Him to provide for you in the future.
Do you want to continue to receive the same results that you have experienced in the past? You will, if you continue to approach life in the same way. Ask God’s Spirit to give you wisdom and discernment in your relationships and all areas of your life. He hungers to lead you down a more fulfilling path to joy and peace.