Married people should flirt. Shouldn't they? But who should married people flirt with?
There are more ways than ever to flirt. Facebook. Texting. Chatting. Tweeting. Blogging. Dropping your hankie on the sidewalk to be noticed by a gallant passerby is a thing of the past. Flirting has morphed in the 21st century. Shouldn't trust be enough to reassure our spouse we're just playing? Isn't it sort of fun to tease our spouse and keep ourselves in the "sought after" category?
Now that it's modern, can't we be a little more open about who and how to flirt?
Wikipedia gives a few 21st century descriptions of what qualifies communiciation as flirtation:
Flirting is a playful, romantic or sexual overture by one person to another subtly indicating an interest in a deeper relationship with the other person, and can involve verbal comunications as well as body language...Challenges (teasing, questions, qualifying, feigned disinterest) serve to increase tension, test intention and congruity...Flirting usually involves speaking and behaving in a way that suggests a mildly greater intimacy than the actual relationship ... may be accomplished by communicating a sense of playfulness or irony.Technical avenues of flirting give false impression that communication is innocent and harmless, though in reality, reputations and real relationships are effected. The safety people feel when flirting from a distance may lead to emotional infidelity, paving the way for separation from a spouse and an ultimate breaking of the covenant of marriage. Flirting is not child's play.
Like one who flirts to feel the rush of attention and the swell of pride, a flatterer manipulates another person to satisfy their own desires. In Romans 16 we're warned about people who cause divisions, instead of serving God. They satisfy their own appetites, using "smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people." Flattery is classified as a tool of deception. In a marriage relationship, each spouse has been given the body of the other and reserves the joy of stirring up and nurturing intimacy with the one partner God has given them. (1 Cor. 7:4)A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.Proverbs 26:28
When a married person flirts with someone who is not their spouse, they give away what belongs to their covenant partner, and they promise to another what they can not fulfill.
And while we're talking about "modern," isn't fidelity an old fashioned idea? What does it mean anyway? FIDELITY: adhering to a promise, loyalty, faithfulness. .... I like it! Let's bring it with us to the 21st century!
"Playful, romantic or sexual overtures" are not wrong, but the invitation to greater intimacy is part of the sweet and mysterious pleasure of the marriage relationship. Intimate invitations outside of marriage lead to infidelity. Married people can feel free to flirt ... with the spouse they're married to.
Have you been careless in the messages you're sending to other people you are not married to? Are you mindful of where "flirting and fidelity" meet?
Like me, you probably don't carry a hankie, but you might text, email, Facebook, Tweet, or chat. Let's let our fidelity be seen wherever we go, and let's reserve our subtle (and not so subtle) invitations to intimacy for the one to whom our hearts are pledged.