My question is this: Is there a particular gut feeling that comes your way, when you meet with a person and decide he has to be your life partner? In other words: is chemistry necessary to decide if a person is to be your life partner?
My marriage is being done the typical arranged-marriage way. I have been in a few relationships, of which one was very serious from my end. I gave it my all, and I knew I was in love, but it didn't work out for reasons beyond my control. To get over it, I decided to remain single, although my folks were still looking for proposals. It was during this time that I became spiritually stronger, and decided that my life is for God alone. My only criteria with respect to marriage is to find a guy who seeks the Lord's heart, and who wished to grow in Him. I have had a number of proposals come my way, but none worked out, mainly due to this basic factor and due to which I never would give it a second thought.
No long ago I did end up chatting with another person who meets this basic factor satisfactorly. I was quite relieved that there were other people who ended up thinking like me. In my community finding someone who is honestly spiritually inclined without the glamour factor attached is not very frequent. I was at ease because I honestly did submit myself to God for His will to be done.
The chats extended to a few phone calls and finally to a face-to-face meeting with the elders. It was at that time that I realized that I wasn't as excited as I thought I would be about seeing this guy. The chats are totally cool because we are comfortable talking about things, and even the phone calls are fine, although the chat impression didn't quite lived up to in the phone calls and the face-to-face. Maybe because he appeared to be the typical goody-two-shoes; unlike me who has been the naughty and bratty type all my life. I think the slight gloominess came though when I saw what he looked like. But at the same time, he is willing to change and do a lot of things for the person he would get married to, which I feel in itself is a quality.
At times I wonder if I'm looking for the same feeling I had when I was in my other relationships.
The folks have decided to take this forward, and both of us have given the OK for it. This guy is really caring and considerate, which is a great thing. But at times I wonder am I trying to block my feelings by giving in to outward appearance? I know I shouldn't be, but I'm a little worried about the chemistry bit. Afterall, everyone is handicrafted by God. Maybe I am being too judgemental. From my past experiences, I should be the best person to realize that outward appearance is not the determining factor, since character traits are most important.
I'm wondering if I'm trying to interfere with God's way of working and getting my personal judgmental nature back in to this consideration by letting factors, such as physical appearance and chemistry, involved and blotting out the bigger factors, like his character and good habits. The guy seems to be totally taken over by me, especially since this is the furthest he has gone with any girl, which again is a good thing because many guys and girls don't realize the importance of keeping themselves holy until marriage -- including me in the past. As I said, he is a very caring guy, and he does understand a lot of things and has his head on his shoulders with respect to dealing with matters the way it should be dealt with.
I'm just worried about the chemistry bit. Will that develop over time? Should I be giving importance to that factor, since it's been just a short while? Moreover, don't they say, love grows with time?
I feel by giving importance to outward appearance and character traits, I might just end up searching, but not necessarily finding.
I would really appreciate your thoughts on this, and also scriptural references on how to develop the love factor?
You noted that you have been in relationships where a strong "chemistry" did exist, but the said "chemistry" was insufficient to result in a marriage. In the past you approach relationships more on an animalistic basis. Now you realize there has to be much more to create a stable marriage. (See Marriage's Glue for one aspect of this.) So this time you are approaching matters sensibly. You have been examining men's character and you found one you believe to be of good character.
I hope you and those negotiating the marriage do further investigation into the character of this man, not just taking his word but finding out if others see him as a good man as well. A short period of time doesn't always tell you everything you need to know about a person.
If you have been selecting men in the past by instant sexual attraction, then it is little surprise that the relationships never lasted. Here you have to put some effort into the relationship. It is because you started with chats that you built up an imaginary image of what you thought this man should be like. You found out that your imagination did not match this man's actual exterior. But you are attracted to his heart, and really that is more important for a long-term, stable marriage. "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised" (Proverbs 31:30). That goes for guys as well as gals.
You have common ground. Now it is time to build up a friendship that is going to endure for decades. Marriage is about companionship. A man's wife is his companion, his best friend (Malachi 2:14). When that happens and you realize that he is your best friend, that you trust him totally, and you can't imagine how you got through life before he came along, then the "chemistry" will be there. It won't be the same as before. You don't want the same thing because what you had before didn't last. This is going to be "chemistry" that endures, so it will feel different.
For developing your love, I would suggest learning the Song of Solomon. See The Greatest Love Song Written. Love is something that is going to grow, up until your marriage and for decades there after. It will shift, change, not feel the same, but always becoming deeper and stronger.