Mark and I were sitting across the table from a young lady one day, all playing a board game when I noticed something. Not only was she frequently casting my husband a flirty little grin with a conspiratorial twinkle in her eye, but she was trying to engage him in a team effort to beat me.
I get that it was a game. There will be people that think it was innocent fun.
But I’m a woman.
And I know women.
Ask any wife. We are programmed to pick up on the finest details in a person’s behavior and interpret them with stunning accuracy.
I ascertained something at that little game night that troubled me deeply. A girl testing something.
Could she get him on her side?
Could she pit him against me in a harmless setting like this?
My husband and I were both uncomfortable enough that we quickly distanced ourselves from this person. Right then and there, in the midst of some unimportant, silly game, my husband firmly established whose team he was on, I proudly owned him, and we subtly, but clearly sent a message. We are a team and you are not going to divide us.
The thing that bothered me the most?
It was a Christian girl.
I expect this kind of behavior out of non-Christian people, but it has not ceased to amaze me that she, along with several others, are playing around with this kind of thing.
You find it cloaked under all kinds of disguises like friendliness, counsel, teasing, and playfulness. Strip away the euphemisms however, and it’s there, and if girls paused for a moment and evaluated their actions, even they could see it.
Before I was married I was working with a group of girls that were chatting about this very thing. Some of the most shocking statements came from some of the most pristine individuals.
“It’s so much easier for me to confide in married men! It’s safer! Single guys would get the wrong idea!”
The logic here is just brilliant. You’re single, the guy is single, and he might think you are confiding in him out of interest. You certainly wouldn’t want a single guy to get the impression that by bending his ear you are flirting with him or being forward. He might think you are chasing him and run the other way, or he just might reciprocate the vibes you are sending. So… you avoid it by steering clear of that situation all together. You don’t confide in him, and all is well.A married man however, is fair game.
I mean, he has a wife. Therefore nothing you do can be interpreted as flirting because, well…. he has a wife.
But here’s the fatal error in that logic. Men are men. Even if they are staunchly devoted to their wives, you have to operate on the assumption that all the things that made talking to the single guy a “no-no”, should make talking to the married man a “no-no.” And there’s another factor in this equation that you are forgetting.
Not only does she belong to him, but he belongs to her. Trying to cash in on her benefits is more than a tad awkward.
I’ll be very fair here though. I don’t think most of these girls have ever really had any kind of sleazy agenda. I’ve met some worldly girls that surely did, but not our Christian girls. For them, it’s a game for the moment. While the most basic seeds can have some tragic consequences, I don’t think most of them have thought that far ahead. It’s something akin to a girl that dresses immodestly to turn some heads. While she aimed for attention, she may have no concept that she invited every man (attractive and repulsive) that saw her to think very in depth, perverse imaginations about her. But, she has.
While the young lady tries to funnel a little attention and compassion out of a married man, she is in fact sending a loud message. Faithful men will reject it and report it to their wives. Weak men may slowly succumb. Whether the tragedy was intended or not, one must understand that the direction your feet are pointing is the direction you will walk.
And then…. there are those that we all know, know precisely what they are doing.
One girl’s faux plea “Would someone please tell me what constitutes flirting with people’s husbands? I have no idea I’m doing it!” testifies in and of itself that she knew precisely what she was doing.
They may not have any drastic plans to accomplish the immoral, but they are testing their power as a woman, over men.
Can I get this guy to flirt back?
Do I have that ability?
For some it may be for amusement or to boost their self-esteem and self-confidence. Maybe there is some insecurity there that drives them to want to know they could get a man’s attention if they wanted it. The problem is they are attempting to reap the benefits of a contract they were not included in; attention, security, and comfort they are not entitled to from this individual.
And I’m not really talking about flirty grins and batting eyes or obvious scandalous behavior.
Actually, for the most part, it boils down to girls crossing every day personal boundaries that were not designed for them to cross.
Call me old-fashioned, but things like reaching out to touch a man’s arm in a conversation, or hugging him, or giving him a playful smack; you’re crossing lines that aren’t yours to cross. To put things in perspective, I gained the privilege of all physical contact with my husband by marrying him. A lifetime contract. If you’ve made no such contract with the man then he’s not yours to touch. In my humble opinion, outside of a handshake, you should pretty much act like you’d get cooties from him.
Maybe you’re mad at his wife and you are griping to him about it. Maybe you didn’t agree with something she did and you are “reporting”. Maybe, like the girl I mentioned earlier, you thought it would be fun to try to team up with him against her in a game. These two people are a team, and a team that should never be divided. The deep friendship and a sacred vow between them is one that you should never challenge even in the smallest ways. Think of them as one unit, because that is what they are.
Playing the Concerned
Years ago I listened to an audio drama called “Rescued” where a Christian pastor was struggling with his Christian wife. They were disagreeing on some key issues, and one day they had an argument in a parking lot that was overheard by a young lady in his congregation. Without knowing the background details behind the wife’s emotional outburst, she immediately decided that this “good man should not be treated like that”. She then took it upon herself to reach out to the husband and “treat him like he should be treated.”
She inserted herself into their marriage and things slowly escalated into an affair.
I have personally witnessed the aftermath of girls with this mindset. I have watched dear women suffer because of this “sympathy ministry” and the number of girls that partake in it is staggering to me. I cannot tell you how many times I have met a girl that saw a presumably “downtrodden husband” and took it upon herself to ‘make it her business.’
Hit the brakes there Sally.
I’m not trying to excuse a disrespectful wife, but guess what… disrespectful or not, it’s none of your business.
Here’s the deal. Marriage is a lifetime. In a lifetime that couple will go through A LOT together. They will walk through fiery furnaces, withstand storms and go through dry spells. There will be times where the stress of life causes them to fight. Imagine that. But that is life and it is up to the couple to get through that and be made stronger by it. No where whatsoever in any way shape or form are you included in that. You didn’t take vows to him. He is not your responsibility. Leave it alone.
Circumventing the Wife
I’ve always found it a tad annoying when a girl insists on avoiding me, but persistently reaches out to my husband. I’m not talking about the random “hey, can you take a look at my computer” stuff. I’m talking about repeatedly seeking a married man out, avoiding his wife. What I do respect is when girls come to me when they need something from him. I love this because I am his helpmeet. When I married him I became his right hand lady, secretary, and fielder. I will happily deliver your message because it is my joy to assist him. By going through the wife, you are reinforcing that relationship instead of undermining it.
I understand that going through the wife is not always an option. She may not be available, or maybe you’re a woman with a male boss and you have to approach him frequently. I get this and I really don’t mind at all. What I do mind is when you use overly personal methods of communication. We live in a world filled with all kinds of ways to keep in touch, but keep it professional. If you send a text, don’t add cutesy emoticons. If a phone call doesn’t go through, leave a message on his voicemail. Stick with conventional methods of contact. Things like Voxer, or SnapChat are crossing the line.
Being Miss Needy
Every girl desires the attention of a man. It’s just programmed within us. But when there isn’t a specific male in the life of a young lady, that she has “rights” to, like her father, or a husband, some flock to the married men. They need “special counseling,” often times repeatedly, for various conjured up dilemmas.
I get that our ministering men are sometimes counseling men out of necessity, and there are real legitimate reasons for need of counsel. I am not downplaying that by any means. A huge red flag pops up however, when the young lady/woman rejects the counsel or assistance of the wife.
The hard truth is that someone else’s husband should not be your confidant. You should not be instilling in someone else’s husband the idea that you need them. For young women, the choice of counsel should be a trusted woman of God. There are very few reasons why a lady must require the counsel of a man, but its interesting to see just how many girls flee counsel when the man’s wife is introduced to the process. Suddenly it’s not appealing anymore… why is that? If you truly need a male perspective, you should choose a godly couple that you would feel comfortable enough with both parties to keep his wife fully involved.
As a rule, I do not compliment any men besides my husband, Dad and brothers. Compliments are honestly a tricky business. Two women could make an almost identical compliment and I could care less about the one and want to claw the eyes out of the other. I think what it boils down to is subtleties that accompany the borderline compliments. Things like leaning in and sniffing his cologne and saying “Mmm. You smell good” are different than casually acknowledging something good by saying “What cologne is that? It smells good.” One focuses on him, the other on the object. Such as“That’s a cool shirt” instead of saying “That shirt looks so good on you.”
Playing Miss Helpful – Getting his coffee every morning, brushing lint off his jacket, tidying his office space, making him special treats, bringing him little gifts…whoa. I haven’t experienced this myself, but I’ve seen it 1000 times over and this stuff gets weird. Remember, he has a wife and she is his helpmeet. It’s not your job to pamper and cater to him.
In my lifetime, I have seen so many girls hungering for male attention seek out the heart of a married man to bury themselves in, to find security and comfort. Most have minimal consequences, but there are a few that have lead to utter tragedies. Good, honest men have fallen prey to these snares.
It’s because of that, that I refuse to take even the most innocent actions above lightly. Call me crazy, call me psychotic, but I love my husband so much that my radar is on alert to protect him from these wiles. When I see things that pop a red flag, I warn my husband. When someone behaves in a questionable manner, whether it is toward him or any other married man, we mark that person as a potential danger. We keep our distance, and we guard all of our interactions with them very carefully. Why?
Because our marriage is sacred. Our love and trust in one another is something that we cherish. Our devotion to one another is so strong that we entered into a lifelong contract of faithfulness and loyalty to each other. My husband is my heartbeat. I am his treasure. Our marriage is worth guarding and protecting with everything we have within us. It’s not a game for someone’s amusement or a challenge for the insecure to tamper with. It’s not an open invitation for everyone’s emotions.
It is a covenant between he and I.
He is my irrevocable teammate. My husband did not take a vow to be the refuge or advocate or hero or rescuer or listener or knight in shining armor of any other girl but me. He is my shoulder to cry on, his arms are my happy place, his hand is my jar-opener. He is my confidant and very best friend. It’s my job to flirt with him, send him winking emoticons, love him, spoil him and cherish him.
In short, that man is my husband.