Amy and Michael have been married for two years. Amy is concerned that Michael flirts too much – Michael says he’s “just looking.”
He flirts with other women. Amy says: We were at a party the other night, and Michael spent all his time chatting with the most beautiful woman in the room, whom he clearly did not think was I. This happens all the time – whenever we are out with friends, Michael charms the prettiest woman there. And I feel invisible. Whenever I’ve talked with him about how I feel, he always says something smart-aleck, like “It’s OK to window shop as long as you buy at home.”
I’m just being friendly. Michael says: I think Amy is making a mountain out of a molehill. Sure, I like to look at pretty girls – what red-blooded man doesn’t? But Amy is the one I love, and I have always been faithful to her. Regarding the party she’s talking about, what’s the point of going if you aren’t going to talk to new people? If that’s a problem for Amy, maybe she should stay home. What should they do?: I think that it is obvious that Michael needs to make a trip to the optometrist for a new pair of glasses if he can’t tell that his wife is the most beautiful person in the room! Jo Anne believes Michael’s insensitivity is surpassed only by his immaturity. OK, now that we have shown our biases in Amy’s favor, let’s view this situation in greater detail. We both agree that Michael exhibits the behavior of someone who doesn’t know how to address feelings. He appears to have little respect for Amy or their marriage. As parents, we have this unrealistic belief that all who are old enough and declare their intent to be married have a level of maturity that would preclude childish behavior. Obviously, Michael has again proven us wrong. It is also evident to us that Michael, not surprisingly given his exhibited behavior and comments, doesn’t get the message Amy is trying to send! In that respect, we can’t be too hard on Michael because he is not alone in this – sometimes others don’t get the message we are trying so desperately to send. Jo Anne and I have had similar discussions and I can honestly say, “I didn’t get her message the first time either.” Luckily for me, she continued to express her desire for us to be together at social events and to have fun together. I finally “heard” what she was saying to me and, ever since then, we have enjoyed the events much more because we are making memories together. We are experiencing the same activities and participating in the same events as a married couple and not as married singles. Through the years, we have been fairly selective in attending social and even family events. Those that permit us to be a couple, participating in the same conversations and activities, are high on our list to attend. In retrospect, those are the times we have enjoyed the most. Those events that have the ladies in one corner and the men in another corner, figuratively speaking, each with their own “exclusive” territory, fosters separation of spouses and not the growing together as a couple we are called to become. Taken to the extreme, it can lead to behavior that builds barriers instead of removing barriers. When your spouse is your best friend, your soul mate, the one with whom you wish to spend the rest of your life, why would you ever wish to be apart? It is not about making new friends with the opposite gender, it is about becoming one with your spouse. It is quite possible that Michael may need additional help in understanding what his role is in a marriage and how to go about treating Amy. One place Michael and Amy could turn to is Scripture. In reading the New Testament, we would recommend you focus on how Jesus treats his spouse – the church. Jo Anne had a final note for Michael: Not all “red-blooded men” behave in the manner you think. Teenage boys do, but not mature men.