A popular hypothetical question people often pose is, "If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?" The first answers tend to be along the lines of: "my weight, my muscles, my hair, my nose, my legs, my arms, my height..." I don't know if I've ever heard someone answer: "my sense of humor, my intelligence, be more caring, my ability to love, my ability to cook..." No, those are not the typical answers to this question. And why is that? I believe it's because we are bombarded by ads, movies, books, magazines and songs that make all kinds of proclamations: "I want that body, you should look like this, you should dress like this, your face should look like this, this is how to be happy, this is how you find your soul-mate."
What if I told you that your physical attractiveness is not what really matters in order for your marriage to succeed? Would you think I am crazy?
Every year, People Magazine decides who is the "Sexiest Man Alive" and GQ Magazine decides who is the "Babe of the Year." Well, who would ever break up with "the sexiest man alive" or the "babe of the year"? I am sad to say that they would break up with each other.
What has been looked at as "Hollywood's hottest couple," Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson, have decided to break off their marriage after 2 years. We look on as bystanders, fed with the image of the "perfect couple" and think "Why? This was the perfect marriage; they are both so attractive."
As Catholics we must recognize reality, and get out of the Hollywood mentality of "perfection is being rich and beautiful." We have to realize that looking "perfect" on the outside will not automatically lead to a perfect life, a perfect marriage, happiness and love. Physical appearances come and go. Your dedication to your spouse, rooted in the graces of a sacramental marriage, is the superglue that binds a couple together for life.
We must focus on growing and nourishing the personal gifts that we have been given by God and the Holy Spirit. I am not saying we should not keep our bodies healthy; it is important to exercise and take care of our physical body. We should not, however, lust and envy over those that the media tells us are "perfect, attractive, sexy." There is only one person we should long to be like... Jesus Christ. He has sent us His Holy Spirit to be with us always. So let us continue this Advent and into the New Year, to nourish the beauty and talent that we have been given.