This question came up for me after reading how Jacob loved Rachel but didn’t love Leah because of her eyes (Genesis 29:16-18). If there is a really obvious physical flaw in a woman, can a man get past that and become attracted to her? The reason I ask this is that it seems that men are attracted based on physical appearance more than women.
It is true that men tend to be more visual and women tend to be more verbal.
We are told that Rachel was prettier than her sister Leah because of some weakness in Leah’s eyes. “And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face” (Genesis 29:17). While that probably is what caused Jacob to focus on Rachel, there was more than just looks involved. “Now Jacob loved Rachel” (Genesis 29:18). You also need to remember that Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah instead of the woman he loved (Genesis 29:21-25). This would naturally cause resentment. It isn’t that Jacob totally hated Leah, but he greatly preferred Rachel. “And indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah” (Genesis 29:30).
But what I find most interesting is that at the end of his life, he asked that he be buried with Leah and not Rachael. “Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site. There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah — the field and the cave that is in it, purchased from the sons of Heth” (Genesis 49:29-32). Over time, his relationship with Leah had changed.
Initial attraction might get a person noticed sooner, but it is the character qualities of a person that builds a lasting relationship. Yes, boys tend to notice good-looking women, but if all a woman has is her looks, the relationship will not grow. “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). In the same way, a girl may notice a charming, smooth-talking man initially (to the annoyance of all the tongue-tied young men out there), but if he doesn’t have a good character, the relationship will be a disaster.
Eventually, both men and women realize that character is the more important quality and they overlook less significant things like looks or charming speech.