Brad says…

13 years ago today (6/20/99) I was standing at the front of a church waiting to see my beautiful bride walk down the aisle. We were surrounded by friends and family, but now looking back I wish that some of those friends would have sat us down and asked us some hard questions. Kate and I had been dating for more then 6 years, so we knew each other very well. We were both convinced that God had called us to be united. However, both of us entered marriage with completely unrealistic expectations of marriage and of each other.

Now 13 years later Kate and I are attending a great Marriage Ministry Training Conference at Watermark Church in Dallas TX. The church’s premarital pastor, Scott Kedersha (@skedersha) talked about helping couples make the second most important decision in their life. The decision of who you are going to marry is second only to the decision to follow Christ. Watermark doesn’t view their premarital programs as helping a couple get married right, they see all their premarital ministry as a way for a couple to discern IF they are ready to be married.

Scott relayed a question he asks couples, “are you ready to stop flirting.” That’s a great question that many couples really need to evaluate, even after they have been married!

Are You A Flirt?

Catching someone’s eye, or having a fun conversation with someone can be invigorating. It gives a shot of vitality, energy, and a sense of “I’ve still got it”. These feelings can be addictive. It is also easy to brush off these minimal encounters as “just being friendly” or “innocent”. However, when you really look at what is the motivation behind the flirting the energy boost actually becomes a wedge in your one flesh marriage.

Flirting is Selfish

When you flirt with anyone other than your spouse you are seeking to boost your own self-image with outsiders information. Flirting is taking a page from snow white’s step mother’s book and asking the magic mirror on the wall “do I still have it?” It is only seeking to fill something that is lacking in ourselves.

Flirting is Passive Aggressive

When we flirt, or we accept the flirting advance from someone else we are passively telling our spouse, “someone will appreciate me if you don’t”. Even if your spouse never sees or knows about the exchange the seed is planted in your brain. That seed will grow and change your interactions with your spouse.

When you have been flirting outside of your marriage it is much easier to look only on your spouses faults and ignore your own. Flirting says, “I don’t need to change, someone likes me the way I am, you must be the problem”. That message is a dangerous enemy to any marriage!

Flirting is Temptation

Flirting can set off a relationship with the opposite sex that quickly slides into temptation. Innocent glances, turn to jokes, jokes to conversation, conversation to sharing, sharing to relationship.

If I was in a situation where I was meeting a person of the opposite sex I would naturally be talking about my wife very quickly as I got to know this person. However, if there was flirting in the start of the same situation all the sudden talking about your spouse is not what comes out of your mouth. Flirting starts relationships with the opposite sex off in the wrong direction.

I Would Never

Before you just write off this post saying “I would never flirt.” I challenge you to think through every relationship you have with a member of the opposite sex: neighbors, friends, colleagues, the stranger you see at the coffee shop in the morning. Are there any of them that you really enjoy getting them to smile, you look forward to talking to, or that you haven’t told your spouse about? If you answered yes, then figure out what you need to do to dramatically change or sever that relationship. If you answered no, think about what boundaries you need to put in place to keep it that way!

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10 Responses to Flirt

  1. Excellent. What a great reminder to carefully consider even our smallest actions with someone of the opposite sex (who is not our mate).

  2. Wonderful post! Interactions with the opposite sex can start off innocently enough but quickly escalate to getting our needs met in unhealthy ways. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. I really appreciate this post as I have noticed my wife of 15 years flirting more with other guys recently and it makes uncomfortable. Is there any advice you can give me to help her see the danger in it? Her comment is that it is no big deal, she is just having a good time and it is my problem that I can’t handle it. Any advice would be helpful.

    • Rick,
      This is tender ground. You are justified in feeling hurt if you wife is flirting with other men, BUT you need to help define the differences between flirting and a conversation. After a time when you felt she was flirting, gently say “when you _____’ed I felt hurt. I would have appreciated if you could have had that same conversation without ____”. Try to be as specific as possible. If you say “when you put your hand on his arm”, or something like that it will be better received then if you say “don’t flirt”.

  4. This is a really interesting post, a topic that has surfaced in my mind but I’ve never been able to articulate it (even to myself) well at all.

    I noticed a few years back (probably just after my husband & I married) that I had no interest in flirting anymore. I used it as a self esteem booster as well as to get something I wanted done for me (usually from the I.T. guys at work). I like that I don’t need it anymore and that I don’t use people like that anymore!

    My husband on the other hand, (whilst I don’t have undeniable proof) I believe still does it and sees it as completely harmless. While he never does it infront of me, I’ve over heard him on the phone and I can tell he’s speaking to a woman. His whole demeanor changes and he’s using what I tell him is his sexy phone voice! If he’s telling me about an event that’s taken place at work and he uses a pro-noun (‘they’ said this etc), I know it’s a woman he’s attracted to and doesn’t want to tell me about. Otherwise he’ll either use a name or he/she.

    I often catch him catching the eye of another woman we happen to pass by in the street. Sometimes they’re not even very attractive, I think he’s just checking to see if she’s looking at him, perhaps looking for that self esteem boost.

    As much as I know all of this, it doesn’t bother me because what’s the point in being jealous about it, my husband (whilst he is a wonderful man, husband and father) is not my God 🙂

    • Hi Retrobird,

      Thanks for writing and sharing. I see where you are coming from with your take on flirting. Yet, I think it is ok to not want your hubby to flirt with others. He IS NOT your God, by any means. But what God created in him, the ability to flirt-was designed only for you! The problem becomes when flirting isn’t enough and we take that slippery slope to the next level. It is an easy transition and we end up justifiying to ourselves.

      I do believe that many people seek to catch other peoples eyes, so they feel like they are still attractive. They want to know that they are still attractive and desirable. As a wife, we can do our best to lift him up and tell him as well as show him how attractive he is to us!

      I don’t mean to rain on your parade really I don’t-but I think if you asked your hubby why he flirts and he answered honestly-that truth would deeply hurt you. I think it is definitely worth having a conversation with him about it!

      Thanks again for sharing, I greatly appreciate it! Blessings, Kate