I’m sorry I’m approaching you with more relationship questions (different anon than before!) but I was really intrigued by what you said about “Just because you are attracted to someone is not a good reason to date them.” So aside from the attraction (be it physically, emotionally, spiritually) – what criterion should I be asking myself before I go forward with dating?
No need to apologize. Any frustration about relationships that comes from this blog (and I can safely apply this to the Say That podcast as well) is not directed at the question asker. There are a lot of weird, sometimes downright harmful ideas floating around the Christian world about relationships, and it is by no means a fault to be confused by all that.
The post being referred to was in response to a young lady asking about whether she should pursue a relationship with a non-Christian with whom she had a mutual attraction. She acknowledged that she didn’t want to be in a serious relationship with someone who didn’t share her faith, and I advised that attraction wasn’t going to make this relationship a good idea.
It is very important to be attracted to the person you are in a relationship with, not just physically, but in all the ways you mention in your question. The thing is: attraction alone is not going to sustain a relationship. It is quite possible to be very attracted to a person who would be a terrible as an partner for you in real life. Thinking with only your…let’s keep this PG and say heart, is not that way to go.
Compatibility is the other part of the equation. It may not be as exciting or romantic as attraction, but it is just as important. One of the things about a relationship is that you will be spending a lot of time with this person. In the case of marriage, they will be your roommate for the rest of your life. It needs to be someone you get along with, that you can be unguarded self around, and whose unguarded self you enjoy being around.
Compatibility takes longer to figure out than attraction. You can’t be compatible with someone across a crowded room. That is one of the points of dating, to figure out if you are compatible with someone you are attracted to.
Just as attraction without compatibility does not make for a good relationship, neither does compatibility without attraction. To put it bluntly, you are meant to want to have sex with your spouse. Finding the right balance between those two takes getting to know yourself, having a few relationships where you get it wrong, and all of that is okay.
-Matt from The Bridge