Webster’s dictionary defines the word flirt as “to behave amorously without serious intent.” Many women have asked me, “Is it okay to flirt if I’m single?” Usually, the person asking this question doesn’t understand what flirting really means. While it may be okay to act amorously (as if desiring romance) toward someone you are interested in developing a mutually beneficial relationship with, flirting is a different matter. Flirting could also be called “teasing,” as the person doing the flirting has no serious intent. Regardless of her marital status, should a woman stir up a man (emotionally or physically) when she has no intention of pursuing a relationship with him? Is it loving to tease someone with your attention and affections if you have no desire to fulfill any hopes you may arouse? In my opinion, showing a sincere love and respect for others allows no room for flirting or teasing.
Still, others ask me, “Isn’t it okay for a married woman to flirt as long as she doesn’t follow through?” In my opinion, it is never appropriate for a married woman to behave amorously with anyone other than her husband. If we go back to one of our definitions of a woman of integrity, you’ll remember that she lives a life that lines up with her lip, and vice versa. If we are going to be loyal to our marriage partner, we must demonstrate our faithfulness not just in our actions, but also in our communication with other people. While the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words,” we can never discount the effect that words alone have on other people and on our own integrity.
While many women flirt with men intentionally, others don’t realize that their amorous comments are inappropriate. We hear this kind of language so often in the media that flirting can be a natural or automatic response. Some women are too naïve to recognize the impact that their words and mannerisms have on the opposite sex. Other women are well aware but are so hungry for affirmation that they continue to jeopardize their integrity in order to fish for compliments anyway.
Here is a list of questions to help you discern whether the words that come out of your mouth and into his ears are in his personal best interest or in the best interest of your own ego.
* What is my motive for making this comment? Is it godly?
* What do I hope to gain by saying this? Will these words be detrimental to either of us or beneficial to both of us?
* Is this man married? If so, would his wife get upset with me if she knew I was speaking to her husband in this way?
* Am I using words to manipulate this person into a deeper relationship, into meeting my emotional needs, or into making me feel better?
* If I actually said what I am thinking about saying, then turned around to find my husband (or friend, boss, pastor, or child) standing there, would I have some explaining to do?
* If I sense a married man is flirting with me, am I making it more fun for him by responding in kind, or am I maintaining my own personal convictions about guarding my mouth?
While kind words and compliments can be appropriate, we must be honest about our motives and recognize when they border on becoming manipulative or flirtatious.
Excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.