If I were to ask this question of people on the street, I imagine I would get a variety of answers.  “Dark hair, light hair, blue eyes, brown eyes”…the list would go on and on.  I was thinking about my husband this morning and this topic popped into my head.  I found myself running to the computer as the thoughts whirled around my brain.  I hope I can recapture them now.
     I was thinking about comments from single people we know.  I was thinking about the search for a mate that so many are looking for.  I was thinking of the ones I have met who are unhappy with their choices, feeling there is something more.  I was thinking of those who are still searching, not sure of where to look, or what qualities are the most important.  The personality and physical characteristics are endless and we each have our own specific preferences, but what really is it that captures your heart?
     I have seen people who are beautiful on the outside turn out have rotten personalities on the inside.  I have seen people who do not possess traditionally beautiful physical characteristics and yet they are very beautiful on the inside.  We cannot rely on physical attraction alone to be our guide.  
     There is no “perfect” mate because there are no perfect people.  So how should we choose?  For myself, at a young age, I had decided I NEVER wanted to marry.  I had seen enough bad examples of how men treat women to know that was not the life I wanted.  However, this young lady’s heart yearned for love.  True and lasting love.  So, in my conversations with the Lord I would say, “I do not want to marry but if I ever did…these would be the characteristics I would want in a husband” and I proceeded to make a list.  I put that list aside and continued my pursuit of learning about this God who created and loved me with a love deeper than anything I had ever known.  I discovered a verse…actually it was a camp song (I found out it was a verse in the Bible later)…that I desired to make my life’s “theme.”  
     “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.  Hallelu…Hallelujah.” Those were the words of the song I loved and would sing many times over.  The verse is found in the book of Matthew (6:33).
When I met Robert, I was blown away by the fact that he already had nearly every quality on my “list” I had made long before.  I guess it wasn’t all that long, I was still so young.  We were both fifteen when we met.  
     There were many things that attracted me to Robert but the characteristic that was the most attractive to me was his love for the Lord.  I knew that was the foundation that would be key to a strong and loving life together.   I was not mistaken.  The years have been a mixed bag of tough times and sweet times.  I am not mistaken in believing that if we did not both have a strong desire to honor God the storms we faced would have severed our relationship.  The Lord is our anchor and He held us fast.  I am so very thankful for that foundation.  
     We have built a good life together, with the Lord’s ever-present help.  I find myself longing for others to see the good man that I know he is.  I long for him to be rewarded for his devotion to his Lord and his family.  I know the Lord will reward him for his faithfulness when we get to Heaven.  His future reward is comforting to me because I know that our world does not reward the “good guys” nearly as much as it should.  More often than not, they try to tear them apart to find the flaw that must be there.  The flaw that will make them feel better about themselves.  Of course there are flaws, we all have them, but what about the good?  What about the honor?  Devotion?  Loyalty?  What about those?  Even now there is a man who has fame and favor in our society who is being attacked for his devotion to the Lord.  Many say his career will be ruined by the film he has made to honor the One who gave His life for all of us.  I admire that this man has chosen to do what he knows is the right thing even if it comes with such a high price tag.  He has found a greater treasure.  The price Christ paid for our sins far exceeds all we could ever lose by following Him.  By Mr. Gibson’s own words, he had it all…money, fame, etc (dreams that so many of us are still chasing) and he found out that none of it brought satisfaction.  The writer of Ecclesiastes (King Solomon?) is also one who “had it all” and discovered it was all “meaningless.”  There is a part of our being that can only be satisfied with Truth.  We can chase after our dreams and they may or may not come true, but, in the end, it will all mean nothing if we do not also have a relationship with the One who embodies truth.  Lies swirl around us daily in this world and if we do not have Truth as our anchor, we will easily be swept away.  Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” (John 14:6)  Truth is not always valued in our society.  We cannot expect to be rewarded for clinging to the truth.  In fact, we are told the opposite is true.  In the book of John (15:18-16:4), Jesus himself tells us that his followers will be hated because he was hated.  
     We have the freedom to choose the paths we take through this life.  We should listen to those who have “been there” because they hold wisdom that only comes from experience.  Who better to tell us where the traps are than someone who has already walked that path?  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12   We need to trust the One who has conquered death and holds life for us.
     So, what about the original question, “What makes a man attractive?”  My own answer would be this:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…all fruits of the Spirit, the same Holy Spirit who is one with God, the father, and Jesus, the son.  Here are some other ways I see to describe these qualities…devoted to those he loves, happy personality, confidant but not arrogant (because he recognizes the Lord as the source of true strength), patient with others around him and patient enough to wait on the Lord’s guidance, compassionate, possesses a desire to do good works, loyal to family and friends, gentle (especially with those in his care), willing to set appropriate boundaries to keep himself from being tempted beyond what he can handle.  These characteristics may seem impossible to find in anyone. Every man out there may not have all these qualities…some may not have any!  Those that do may be stronger in some areas and weaker in other areas of these traits.  I know there are men who have many of them…I know because I found one!  : )  This “fruit” may not be evident in everyone but look for the seeds.  I see fruit and seeds in my husband and I trust that the Lord will grow them into something wonderful as we walk together with Him. We are both “works in progress” and it will be interesting to see how the Lord grows us.  I am so thankful that God knew what I needed better than I did.  I am very thankful for all the blessings He has given me.  

Desiring to serve the King of Kings all my days,
Shirley

What makes a man attractive?
originally written 3 Mar 04
added to first website 5 Apr 04
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photo by: Shirley/North Dakota/Jul 2004
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