“What’s your type?” people might ask those in the dating pool.
Or, “He’s just not my type,” a girl might say in response to why she’s not interested in someone.
Or, as some junior high boys told me recently, “Girls at this age don’t care about personality. They just care about hotness” (the girls might say the same about the boys).
What does “type” even mean? And is it really important when trying to figure out if you’re interested in someone? Is it possible to fall in love with someone who isn’t your type, physically or otherwise?
It gets tricky for those of us who are single because we’re constantly being told by others that we can’t be too picky, and we have to give people a try, and you just never know, he might be your type because opposites can attract!
And so, our minds go into overdrive as we analyze everything about another person from the kind of clothes they wear to what they say about a current issue to how they like to spend a Saturday—all the while wondering, “Is she my type?” “If he’s not my type, maybe I should try not to care?” “Should I not have a type at all and say yes to anything?”
Recently as I was trying to figure this out, a friend shared some fascinating insight from an Instagram post about different kinds of attraction in a dating relationship. This “dating guru” said there were five types of attraction: 1) Emotional attraction, 2) Spiritual attraction, 3) Intellectual attraction, 4) Personality attraction, and 5) Physical attraction.
These attractions might not all be present at the beginning of a dating relationship (and especially not on a first date!), but over time, the more you get to know a person, all of them should eventually grow before you get married.
I love this breakdown because it shows how important it is to be attracted to another person’s mind, soul, and body in a holistic way, rather than focusing only on one or two kinds of attraction.
And it also revealed that for me personally, I don’t think I have a physical “type.” Sure, I might objectively think some things are more physically attractive than others, but I realized that for most of the guys in my past, the other types of attraction drew me to them first, making them physically attractive to me.
So what about those other types of attraction? Is there a certain “type” among them that I find more appealing than others? I believe there is, and I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with that. God created us in ways that will connect more with some people than others, and this can work together in beautiful ways in a marriage relationship.
This doesn’t mean we should look for someone who is “perfectly compatible” with us because we all have sin that will make us hard to live with sometimes. Sometimes we’ll withdraw emotionally. Sometimes we’ll be super sick and look like death. Sometimes our personalities will be annoying and not charming. Sometimes we will not be spiritually mature. Sometimes we’ll fail to hold any kind of intelligent conversation.
But we should want to be with someone who overall makes traveling the journey of life together a joy. We should be with someone who shares a similar sense of humor, with whom we can share intellectually stimulating conversations, who shares some similar interests with us, who spurs us on in our walk with Christ, and who makes us feel safe and cared for.
What I’m coming to find out as I get older, though, is that those qualities can come packaged in a lot of different “types” of people. There have been some guys in my life who have shared many of the same interests as me, and I felt zero attraction to them. And then there are other guys who haven’t shared certain interests with me, but they’ve been strong in other areas, and I found myself attracted to them.
It’s hard to try to box in the mystery of why we’re drawn to some people and not others. Even when we attempt to explain it to others, we will fall short, because there’s still so much that can’t be categorized in why one person makes our hearts light up and another does not. On paper, two people might seem to be each other’s “type,” but then they go out on several dates, and they find out they’re not. And then two other people might not at first appear to be each other’s “type,” but the more they get to know each other, they realize that they truly are the right type for each other.
When we’ve established our identity in Christ on our own apart from a boyfriend/girlfriend, and when we’re secure in who God has made us to be, then we will be able to recognize when the various attractions are lit within us. The people who make our souls come alive and with whom we can share a ministry together for God’s kingdom purposes are the people worth waiting for and pursuing. It might not always be obvious to others why one person didn’t work out and another did. But we have to be faithful to the way God has wired us, how he’s called us, and how he’s working in us.
I know it’s not a mistake the types of things I find compelling in a man. Is that the reason I haven’t gotten married up to this point? Maybe. And maybe those things are the very means that God has appointed to keep me single for this season of ministry. Maybe one day I’ll get married, and it will be obvious why all the other guys didn’t work out. Or maybe I won’t get married, and God will reveal many more things he needed me to do through singleness.
Either way, God knows my type even better than I do. And I trust his wisdom and timing in revealing to me that man if he so desires me to get married. Some days I trust it better than others. Some days I have more questions than answers. But the more I take those questions to God in prayer, the more he gives me the peace that surpasses all understanding.
What a gift. What a love.