If you ask a group of men if they’d marry Halle Berry, most would say, without hesitation, “Yes.” If you ask group of women if they’d marry Denzel Washington, most would say, without hesitation, “Yes!” But would the answer be so positive and quick if we were asked whether we’d marry someone who we’re not attracted to? Our gut reaction may be we’d prefer to marry someone who we’re attracted to. However, if presented with the situation, it’s possible we would find various factors that would override, justify, or prevent us from choosing relationship over attraction.
First, let’s consider factors that may override our need to be physically attracted to the person we’re considering marrying.
- Organic growth- When two people develop a close friendship that grows into a loving relationship, physical attraction may be overridden by the love and friendship that has grown through time.
- Compatibility – If two people find they’re totally compatible, sharing the same passion, enjoying the same activities, and possessing similar goals and dreams, their common interests may allow them to build a bond that overrides the need for physical attraction.
- Security – When we find a person who, through dating and spending time, we truly believe would take care of us, be concerned about our happiness, and go out of their way to see that our needs are met, then physical attraction may be a non-issue. Just knowing a person cares for and loves us enough to want to satisfy all our needs may be enough.
There are many other factors that can override the need for us to be physically attracted to the partner we’ve chosen to marry. However, these are the most common.
Next, let’s consider factors that many of us use to justify marrying someone when we’re not physically attracted to them.
- Finances – Many people marry to improve or secure their financial situation, ignoring physical attraction, completely. This is probably the most common reason people marry those to whom they’re not attracted.
- Fame – The bright lights, popularity and notoriety of dating someone who’s famous (or infamous) is enough of a lure for many people to marry those to whom they’re not attracted. We’ve all seen or heard of women wanting to marry serial killers who are in prison for life, such as Charles Manson, and even accused killers like O.J. Simpson. Clearly, it’s the fame or infamy of these men that garnered the interest of various women, despite the horrific crimes they’re accused of committing.
- Class – There are several social classes within our society, the highest of which is the powerful “Blue bloods” who only exist in the highest levels of High society (the Rockefellers, the Kennedys, the Hiltons, etc). If you’re not born into one of these families, the only way to get into the upper echelons of society is to marry in. Being a part high society could mean acceptance into powerful social circles, entry into the best Country Clubs, and prestige, respect, and power for life. For many men and women, these perks far outweigh the need to be physically attracted to their spouse. While it is very much related to money, it is more about the assumed prestige and notoriety as opposed to having the money in hand.
- Emotional Security – Many people elect to marry someone who’s not physically attractive because it provides an additional level of emotional security in the relationship. They may feel that a less attractive spouse would be more loyal, more trustworthy, and not as likely to face temptation from other men or women. In this case, having a spouse who’s not attractive may prevent a person’s insecurities from negatively affecting the relationship.
People chose to marry spouses who they’re not attracted to for many other reasons, but these touch on the most common.
Finally, we must consider factors that prevent us from marrying people who, despite many signs of compatibility, the possibility of complete bliss in marriage, and maybe even physical attraction, we would still rule out marriage because we aren’t attracted to something about them. Some of these factors are:
- Career choice – Many of us always envisioned ourselves marrying someone in a corporate professional (white-collar), not someone in a service profession (blue-collar). Based on this fact, alone, many choose not to pursue relationships.
- Education – The level of education, for many, is the determining factor that can either make or break the possibility of a relationship leading to marriage. Some men and women set a standard based on degree-level achieved, and will not compromise, refusing to seriously consider anyone without the appropriate degrees.
- Finances – Financial stability and security are paramount for many people. Those who see it as a top priority may refuse to marry potential mates who have poor credit ratings, overwhelming debt, no Retirement plan, or lack financial responsibility. For many, the fear of financial struggle or incompatibility in this area is enough to lead to the demise of a relationship that, by all other accounts, could have been successful.
Clearly, the question of whether or not to marry a person you’re not attracted to has many layers and many shades. While it seems like a simple black or white answer, either “Yes” or “No”, there are many shades of gray that may color your decision. From a therapeutic standpoint, it’s best to look beyond merely physical attraction when considering marriage, and instead make your decision based on love, compatibility, depth of the emotional bond, and your partner’s ability and willingness to satisfy your other needs. If you so do, the chance of having a solid, long-lasting, stable marriage is much more possible.
Sophia Avery, MA and Donavan Sterling West are a dynamic Relationship Counseling team! If you’d like further information, discussion or a Relationship Counseling session, please call us at visit our website at www.ChristianTalkTherapy.com AND become a fan of the Avery-West Counseling team! Visit our page on FaceBook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Philadelphia-PA/Avery-West-Counseling-Team/273651777811