Flirting

Posted on November 28, 2012 by


 

What if you are tempted to flirt?  Or what if men are flirting with you? What is a woman who wants to honor God  to do?

AS A YOUNG NEWLYWED, I WAS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER

I am a very outgoing, friendly woman who works in retail pharmacy  and I have had my share of dealing with men hitting on me.    I was EXTREMELY naieve when we were first married.  I had never been around many ungodly men, or if I had, I didn’t know them well enough to know what kinds of things they thought about me (or women in general)!  I didn’t understand men.  I didn’t think I was a temptation to them in any way.  I didn’t feel very feminine or confident as a girl.

I trusted everyone blindly.  I thought I was “safe” because I was married.  I thought being a Christian meant I had to be an open book and discuss any possible topic with everyone – including men.  I was very prideful and thought I was “above” infidelity.  I was a people pleaser.  I was afraid to have confrontation.  I didn’t want to make people mad.  I was trying to give great, friendly customer service as a retail pharmacist.  I genuinely cared about everyone.

Several times, I thought I was witnessing to men and “needed” to keep talking with them so they would accept Christ.  I knew NOTHING about guarding my heart.  I would ask my husband about different men and things they said to me, and he never said anything.  At that time, my husband had already gone very passive and I had already become controlling and disrespectful.  I felt lonely and often felt unloved in our marriage.   I actually REALLY wanted my husband to say, “Don’t talk to that guy ever again.”  I wanted him to protect me.  But I was on my own.  I really didn’t have guidance about what was appropriate and what was not.  I had no accountability.  Not good.

All of that  was a recipe for catastrophic disaster.

Thankfully –  by the GRACE OF GOD – He somehow spared me from anything REALLY awful – but I did get my emotions in a tizzy a few times and got into some tight spots that would have been much wiser to completely avoid!

MY BELIEFS NOW (as a 39 year old who has been married 18+ years):

  • I know that I am a wretched sinner and that if I am without God’s power long enough, and I am desperate enough, and I am on my own long enough – I am perfectly capable of just about any sin.  We all are.
  • I know I must carefully guard my heart – no one else will!
  • I know how men think now and realize – there is a lot of need for great caution!
  • I know Satan targets me and wants to take me down any way he possibly can.
  • I know I can’t trust another man’s motives.
  • I know I can’t trust my motives – the human heart is deceitful above all things!  Mine is not exempt from that!
  • I know it is much easier to avoid getting into a mess than to try to figure out how to get out once it has gone way wrong.
  • I know dressing and acting modestly is very wise and honors God, my body, my sexuality, my husband and my marriage.
  • I know there is no man’s “friendship” that is worth my marriage and my intimacy with Christ.
  • If a man really wants to learn about Jesus – he will be just as happy to talk to a godly man about that as he would be to talk to me about it.  Jesus is the critical factor here, NOT me.
  • I need to keep my distance spiritually/emotionally/physically from all men other than my husband and cleave to my husband alone.  I also cleave to my husband MUCH more than any other relationship even with women.  My husband is by far my primary human relationship now.

WHEN MEN FLIRT WITH/ COME ON TO YOU:

When you work in retail in some capacity – your job is to give good customer service and to be friendly. (I’m sure this is even worse for some jobs than it is in pharmacy).  When a customer/patient starts flirting – it can be a difficult decision to make about how exactly to handle him.  Will this get worse? (In my experience – YES!)  It often starts out very mildly – and it doesn’t seem worth it at first to say anything because you don’t want to make a customer angry or run off business.   So, when I was younger, I would turn totally red and laugh nervously and hope the guy would go away.  Turns out that is a pretty ineffective strategy!  In practically every case, my timidity about addressing the issue gave the man a green light to escalate his attempts gradually over time.  It only gets MORE difficult to say something the longer this goes on!  Trust me!

Of course, some men just cut right to the chase.  When I worked the night shift at one pharmacy, we had to unlock the condom case out front for customers.  I unlocked the case for this 6 ft 5 inch 250 lb  man and he took the box of condoms he had just grabbed from the case and hit me on my hip with them and said, “I need to get YOUR phone number!”  Umm…  YIKES!  First of all.  NO.  And second – that has to be the worst pick-up attempt EVER.  Hit a girl with a box of condoms.  You just never know what will happen in the pharmacy – especially on night shift!  I think that one left me pretty speechless.  Sometimes things happen so suddenly, it is really tough to come up with the proper thing to say!

Even worse is when a boss, manager or police officer is flirting and being inappropriate.  I had one man (my dad’s age)  turn my chin towards him when a patient asked how he was doing and he looked at me and said, “As long as I can look into THESE eyes, I’m FINE!”  YUCK!!!!!!   He would put his hand on my hip and sing karaoke to me.  Really.  I was only there a week to train.  He’d been with the company 25 years or something.  I was 22 years old.  I had NO IDEA what on earth to do!  SO I tried to give hints like, “I don’t think your wife would like that.”  That did NOT WORK!  Or he didn’t care.

I know how difficult it can be to decide what to do.  It can still be a struggle for me sometimes.  Now – I am friendly, but try to immediately stop any kind of aggressive flirting.  If a man really crosses the line and is blatantly sexual – I say something like, “That was incredibly disrespectful to me and to my marriage.  Please don’t ever talk like that to me again.”  That usually works.  If it is a manager, I will say, “If you say something like that about me/to me again, I will report you to management.”  That stopped one guy pretty quickly.

When it is not as blatant – that gets trickier.  Sometimes I try to just avoid contact.  Or, I will ignore the comments and requests for hugs or whatever and smile and say, “Ok, your prescription is ready! She’ll ring you up now!”  And then be busy doing something else.  But usually it takes much more direct communication than that with some men.

The more difficult situations are the men who are mostly just friendly – not creepy.  With creepy men – I know that my motives won’t get out of line.  The non-creepy men can seem “safe” – especially the godly acting ones, right?  That is where I have to be more careful about my own motives.  I am friendly to these customers/men at church/etc.  Sometimes the line between being friendly and flirting can be really hard to pin down!  But I try to be extremely aware that developing a friendship/relationship is very dangerous and I need to:

  • hold them at arms’ length – i.e.: don’t hug or touch them
  • be careful not to be too admiring/respectful
  • try not to smile too much
  • try not to make eye contact too much
  • avoid any kind of private conversations like the plague.
  • no private emails/texts/FB messages/phone calls
  • avoid being alone in a room/building/car with another man
  • with blogging – I now do not correspond with men, but refer them to a godly man for counsel.

That keeps me out of trouble!

If my husband is there – I try to stay near him and focus on him and allow him to protect me.

WHEN YOU REALIZE YOU WANT TO FLIRT BACK OR COULD DEVELOP DANGEROUS FEELINGS

As a single woman, you may be able to flirt to a degree with godly, Christian men.  But if a situation is developing with a married man or an unbeliever PLEASE BE VERY CAUTIOUS – you may want to do what I do…

First, I try to get AWAY.

I immediately tell my husband and my twin sister  or a godly girl friend so that I am accountable if I notice ANY HINT of temptation at all.  And if at all possible, I drop all contact with the man in question.

I try to keep in God’s Word, repent as soon as I know of any ungodly thoughts, ask God to to show me the way out from temptation, get out of the room/building if at all possible, focus on my relationship with my husband and the horrific consequences for my life, marriage, children, family and the reputation of Jesus if I were to act foolishly on any temptation.  IT IS SOOOOOOO NOT EVER WORTH IT!

DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHIES

Different people have widely differing opinions on what is “ok” and what is not “ok” for married people in regards to interacting with the opposite sex.  In our culture today, many people don’t think a thing in the world is wrong with a wife having close male friends.  Some people have almost no boundaries at all around their marriages or around the concept of marriage in general.  So what is right?

1. THE WORLD

The world  (or maybe the enemy) says:

  • flirting is fun!
  • flirting never hurt anyone!
  • you’re just being friendly.
  • flirting isn’t cheating.
  • have as many guy friends as you want – you’re just being nice.
  • you are “above” having an affair.  It won’t happen to you.
  • you’ll stop before it goes too far.
  • you’re in control, nothing bad will happen.
  • you’ll hurt his feelings if you don’t flirt back.
  • if you tell him to stop talking to you like that, you might lose your job/a customer/friendship.
  • he’s just being friendly.
  • I need someone to confide in.  He understands me so much better than my husband does.
  • He compliments me!  He makes me feel alive.  My husband never compliments me anymore.  I’m lonely at home.
  • He looks at me like I am beautiful.  I can’t remember the last time my husband looked at me like that.  I want to feel loved again.

2. THE BIBLE

Proverbs chapter 2, and 4-7 is packed with Solomon’s advice to his son about avoiding adultery.  It is written to men, but much of it applies to women, too!  Some of the wisdom in the Bible includes:

  • Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you… it will save you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, who  has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.  For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead.  None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.  Prov 2:11,16-19
  • Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips.  Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.  Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.  Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.  Prov 4:23-27
  • The lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked but she knows it not.  Now my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say.  Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel…. You will say, “How I hated discipline!  How my heart spurned correction!  I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors.  I have come to the brink of utter ruin.  Proverbs 5:3-9,12-13  (then men are advised to savor sex with their wives alone and be satisfied with their wives – I am sure the same wisdom applies to us as wives to savor our husbands!)
  • Proverbs 6:24-35 and all of chapter 7
  • Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.  I Timothy 5:2
  • “Everything is permissible for me” – but not everything is beneficial.  ”Everything is permissible for me” – but I will not be mastered by anything.  Food for the stomach and the stomach for food – but God will destroy them both.  The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord ,and the Lord for the body.  By His power God raised the Lord from the dead, and He will raise us also.  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ Himself?  Shall I tehn take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute?  NEVER!  Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body?  For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”  But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with Him in spirit.  FLEE FROM SEXUAL IMMORALITY.  All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received form God?  YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN; you were bought at a price.  THEREFORE HONOR GOD WITH YOUR BODY.  I Corinthians 6:12-20

BILLY GRAHAM

I love Billy Graham’s standards of purity and the precautions he took to prevent even the appearance of evil.  You may want to google that and check out his practices.  They are wise for all of us!

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