What counts as "quality time?"
When I think about it, I have to admit that as a woman, when men have flirted with me it sometimes boosts my self-esteem in that moment. After giving birth to two kids sometimes I feel like a frump. I don’t always feel like I’m attractive as I once was, and guys flirting with me gives me the reassurance that I’ve still got it. It’s almost like a relief: Yes! The general male population still finds me attractive even though I can’t button my jeans most of the time!
I don’t think I’ve ever flirted back (at least not intentionally), but reading up on the topic definitely had me examining myself and wondering if I’ve ever flirted without realizing it. I mean, flirting can be so subtle. It can be you smiling at someone for longer than a second, looking into their eyes, or touching them on the arm. It doesn’t necessarily have to be you telling someone they look attractive.
So to start with, let’s look at the definition of the word. Interestingly, there were two definitions when I looked it up on Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. The first definition said: to behave amorously without serious intent. And the second definition was “to show superficial or casual interest or liking.”
So people flirt just because and also when they want it to lead to something more.
For example, a friend of mine once told me that her husband flirted with their server at a restaurant to make sure they got good service. She didn’t seem bothered by it, but I know that some women would feel really threatened if they’re husbands did that.
That being said, I guess one of the things that determines whether your flirting is wrong is your intention. What are you trying to get out of it?
- Are you looking for attention because your spouse doesn’t make you feel important or attractive?
- Are you doing it just for fun?
- Are you doing it in order to get it to lead to something more?
Whatever the reason, I think that there need to be some clear boundaries to help us figure out when we may potentially be disrespecting our spouse and our marriage:
- Do you find yourself flirting with the same person over and over?
- Do you find yourself daydreaming about that person and what the flirting could lead to?
- Do you feel guilty about your flirting?
- Are you keeping your flirting a secret from your friends?
If you find yourself doing these things I think it’s safe to say that you need to stop and establish boundaries that will protect your marriage from an emotional or physical affair.
So what do you guys think?
Is it always wrong to flirt if you’re married? How do you react when other people flirt with you? How do you react when people flirt with your spouse in front of you?
Till next time!
P.S. Get your FREE copy of our ebooks by clicking on the book covers on the right!
A few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast by my favorite motivational speaker as I was driving to work. One of the points he made was about how a lot of married couples put so much money into their businesses and “the grind” but aren’t willing to put the same amount of money into their marriages.
As I reflected on my own marriage, I came to a scary realization: my husband and I have spent A LOT of money on growing our business, personal development, and even electronic devices, but not even a fraction of that amount on our own marriage. It was really sobering. I realized that we hardly ever put any real effort into planning special moments for one another aside from the yearly stuff: birthdays, anniversaries, etc. When I got to work I texted my husband about the podcast. He was listening to it too and thought it was amazing, but I guess the marriage part hadn’t hit him as hard as it hit me. “We need to have a conversation about this,” I wrote.
Later on that evening we both talked about the fact that we had gotten so comfortable with each other that we had started taking each other for granted. Our friendship was such an open, honest one that I guess we had started settling for a good friendship and slowly stopped putting effort into the romance and spark of our marriage. Instead of being proactive about keeping the spark going in our marriage I began resorting to reading romance novels and watching romantic movies. I was content watching fictional characters enjoy the romance I was too lazy to create in my own life. Pretty pathetic eh?
To be honest, we had these conversations before, but when I stopped to think about how much money we were putting into everything EXCEPT our marriage, it made me realize that even though others may see me as a sort of relationship “expert,” my marriage is just as vulnerable as anyone else’s.
The truth of the matter is, it’s easy to fall into a rut. When both spouses are busy with the demands of a nine to five career and kids-not to mention extra stuff like school or starting a business-it’s very easy to put your marriage on the backburner. Paying bills, spending time with your kids, and ensuring financial stability for the future are all very important things. But the most important thing is your spouse. After all, your kids will hurt just as much if you and your spouse grow apart and decide to get divorced. Launching a business successfully won’t have as much meaning if you lose your spouse along the way.
So how can we make sure that we invest in our marriages and keep that spark going between us and our spouses? I found that the answer is simple: be intentional. Applying it is a whole other thing though. What does being intentional about keeping our marriages healthy and happy look like?
Close your eyes and imagine your wedding. How much time did you invest in planning for it? How much money did you invest into making that day beautiful and special? Now open your eyes and commit yourself to putting just as much money and time into romancing your spouse. Here are some suggestions:
1. Keep a wish list. Have a box in the house dedicated to this. You and your spouse can put slips of paper where you write down things you enjoy doing, places you’d like to visit, or a meal you’d like to try. Every month, you can pick something from the box to do together, or plan for each other.
2. Schedule quality time. Have a shared calendar on your phones where you schedule your date nights and other special times together.
3. Plan ahead. Once that date is on the calendar, make sure you plan everything else around it, including work stuff. Nothing is more important than your spouse. So act like it. Planning ahead will ensure that you don’t put each other on the backburner anymore.
There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, but by doing these things we’re helping make our marriage a HEALTHY one, and that’s what we hope you all strive for as well.
Till next time!
P.S. We get REALLY transparent in our e-book “Love Me This Way.” Download your FREE copy by clicking here if you want to know what it really takes to love your partner.
P.P.S If you already have the e-book, we wrote a follow-up 7-day devotional to help you put the principles from the e-book into practice. Whether you’re single or already in a relationship, this guide will help you dig deep into yourself and put in the work you need to have healthier relationships. Click here to check out "Working On ME."
I remember walking across the stage at my high school graduation to receive my diploma. Family members had flown in from out of state, my mother had a big dinner planned at our house afterward, and I had received so many awards and trophies that I needed help from two people to carry them all to the car. I was the darling of my family. I was the obedient, religious child. I was hand-picked at my academy to be part of an outreach team that visited sick people in their homes and hospitals on the weekends. Everyone expected great things of me and thought I was so great.
Those expectations followed me all through college. I served as a youth director at my church during undergrad and planned to go to medical school once I finished. To be honest, everyone’s high opinions of me eventually became part of me, and I began to think of myself as a golden child. I developed a high opinion of my morals and who I was as a person. It’s easy to put yourself on a pedestal when everyone else does it too.
All that changed when I got married. I began to see myself in a much different light. There were times when I would be upset with my husband, and storm off to our room to ignore his presence in the house for the next few hours. I didn’t cook him breakfast, or iron his shirt, or do anything that would be considered helping him out in any way. Or, sometimes when he would apologize, I’d still be cold towards him because I thought that if I “taught him a lesson” he’d be more careful not to repeat the same mistake next time.
When Jono was mad at me, it was a completely different story. He would still cook breakfast, wash my dirty dishes, and fold my laundry (and put it away for me too!). It baffled me, and made me feel ashamed of myself. It was really humbling. His actions were so different from mine that I had to finally accept the fact that deep inside I was selfish and vindictive.
I also realized how emotional of a person I was. So many of my decisions and words were based on my feelings in the moment. If I felt angry, I lashed out. If I felt hurt, I completely shut him out. I began to see more and more that I had a lot of growing to do. My attention began to shift from things I wanted my husband to work on, to what I needed to work on. When I did that, I saw myself becoming more patient with my husband’s flaws. I couldn’t expect him to change overnight when I was struggling myself.
At the same time, I also saw myself starting to become more transparent in my other relationships. See, it was easy for me to hide the less attractive parts of my character when I was around people who expected me to be a certain way. I got used to putting up a façade that hid my feelings when I was really hurt or angry. If one of my friends did something to me, I would just distance myself from them a little bit until I got over it, and then continued with the friendship.
My relationship with my husband was one of the few in my life where I didn’t ever bother to hide what I was really thinking and feeling. It was my first time being completely transparent and address things head-on.
My friends started saying things like, “Man, Jono rubbed off on you, you have a fresh mouth now,” or be really surprised when I would address issues directly. In reality I was just becoming more transparent and letting my thoughts be known.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: being in a relationship with someone is a reality check. It forces you to come face-to-face with the parts of yourself that you think you’re hiding from everyone else. When that happens, don’t get too discouraged. It’s a good thing!
A humbling view of your true character helps you be more intentional about becoming a better person; it also leads you to be more patient with other people’s flaws and less judgmental of their actions. The focus shifts from making the other person conform to your standards, to you trying to be the best version of yourself regardless of what the other person does. It’s not easy, but trust me when I say the growth that comes from it brings your relationships to a higher level in every way.
Being in a relationship also forces you to become more open about your own thoughts and feelings. Hopefully that openness transfers to the other relationships in your life, and enhances them as well.
Until next time!
P.S. Want more realness about marriage? More insights into what it's really about once you say "I do?"
I had pretty much resigned myself to stay single when I met my husband. My parents had just recently finalized their divorce after 30 years of a rocky marriage, the guy I really liked and thought was going to become my boyfriend got back with his ex, and I was just too done with love. I honestly didn’t care if I stayed single for the rest of my life if it meant avoiding heartbreak and the drama that comes with it. When I looked at my parents’ relationship I dreaded making the same mistakes they did. And I certainly didn’t want to end up marrying someone for the wrong reasons, only to find myself feeling miserable and disgusted with myself when I woke up every morning.
Then I met him. It wasn’t like the romantic comedies where there’s lots of passion and fireworks when the two characters meet. My heart didn’t start pounding whenever he came into the room.
It was more like him slowly growing on me until I realized I couldn’t imagine my life without him. You can read all about it in this post that went viral.
But when I thought about spending the rest of my life with him, and all the baggage we both had, I was still scared and worried that I was making a mistake. I loved him, but I really didn’t want to deal with all the difficulties I imagined would come up eventually if we got married. I was scared of the commitment.
But here I am, 7 years and 2 kids later, writing blogs about relationships and marriage.
I don’t regret getting married, and I now dedicate a lot of my spare time to advising single people on relationships and marriage.
So how did I get over my fears of making the commitment that we call marriage?
I did some serious soul-searching and had long, honest talks with God about these:
1. Character: I did a thorough mental evaluation of every aspect of my husband’s character. I was honest with myself about his flaws. I asked myself: If I have to live with this flaw for the next 10 years, will we still have a happy marriage?
That’s one of the MOST important questions to ask yourself. The thing that most people don’t understand about marriage is that the flaws you see in the person while you’re dating are only magnified when you get married. You’re living with each other, sleeping in the same bed, and waking up to each other every morning. Whatever it is about them that gets on your nerves, will only become even more frustrating. Constant frustration can lead to bitterness and resentment, which slowly chokes the affection in your marriage.
If you find that there’s an aspect of your partner’s character that you would not want to put up with in your marriage, don’t get married. Give them time to work on it and establish more positive habits so that you know the change is real, not something manufactured for the sake of getting you to say yes.
2. Chemistry: Did we have that spark, that attraction that draws two people to each other? Was I attracted to him physically and intellectually?
I’ll admit, I struggled with the physical attraction part in the beginning. He just wasn’t the type I usually went for. But the more I got to know him, the more endearing his looks became, and I found that my heart did speed up for a second whenever I saw him. As for the intellectual part, that was what got him out of the friend zone! We could talk for hours on the phone, and he understood me in a way that no one else ever had.
3. Commitment: We both took marriage seriously. We understood that we would both do whatever it took to make sure we were building our marriage on the right foundation. We were both willing to do whatever it took to work out whatever difficulties we would face. We were both committed to making sure our love stayed bright and strong.
4. Core Values: Part of the reason why we were able to have those long talks was because we were on the same page when it came to things that were important to us. Our moral standards were the same. We both valued family and friendship. We both wanted to be forces for change in our communities. We were both youth leaders at our churches and would encourage each other as we swapped stories. When it came to the types of lives we wanted to live, we were completely in sync.
Let me keep it real. Even with all of that, there were still times where I wondered if I had done the right thing. Marriage is still a leap of faith even when you and your spouse make awesome partners. It doesn’t mean that your marriage will be easy. Difficulties will always be a reality of life. Love will always entail taking a risk. But it’s a calculated risk. You have to approach it with your eyes wide open to everything you are risking.
After that, you entrust your marriage into God’s hands and know that He will keep your love going even when you both want to quit.
Seven years, 2 kids, and counting.
Till next time!
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