Q: How do you handle a single woman flirting with your husband?
You asked how to handle the single woman. While on the surface the problem may seem to be this woman, she may not be the ultimate problem.
You might prayerfully consider if this circumstance reveals a breakdown of trust between you and your spouse. If so, that might be where you need to place your attention long term. But let’s address the immediate concern stated here, first.
True, there are some incredibly sinister, manipulative, and cunning women out there. If it weren’t the case, there wouldn’t be a Proverbs chapter six. In that passage, a godly mother warns her son to watch out for the “smooth tongue” of the adulterous woman (v. 24) and reminds him not to let her capture him with her eyelashes (v. 25), a clear reference to flirting.
Where to begin? Start with the Lord. Bring the circumstance to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to convict the woman in question and to rule over the situation. Ask the Lord to give you the words and right opportunity to speak with your husband.
1. After praying, have a conversation with your husband.
I would begin by asking some open-ended questions of my man, to gain some understanding of how he perceives this woman and her behavior. If he doesn’t agree with your assessment, be specific as to what she is doing that you see as flirting. Honestly? Sometimes guys are oblivious. My husband and I once spoke with a couple in a similar circumstance. The wife was clearly upset. When she outlined the flirtatious woman’s behavior, it became obvious, and humorously so, that her husband had completely missed all the overtures this woman had made. She was nowhere on his radar. He truly only had eyes for his wife! Once he understood, he and his wife agreed together on how he would respond.
2. Be honest as to how the interaction affects you.
What is important to us as wives ought to be important to our husbands. Our husbands are commanded to live with us in an understanding way (1 Pet. 3:7), to nourish and cherish us (Eph. 5:25–28). When a situation causes us emotional harm, it ought to be of great concern to them as well.
3. Try to agree together on a path forward to manage the circumstances.
Remember you are one flesh. What he encounters impacts you and vice versa. How to respond may look quite different depending on the circumstances, but here are a couple of possibilities:
- He could minimize contact with her. This means don’t say hi, no waves, no unnecessary acknowledgment.
- Could he completely avoid encounters with this woman (Proverbs 5:8)?
- Is it possible that she needs to be confronted and told that her advances are not reciprocated in order for her behavior to stop? If so, I would not recommend that you speak to this woman, nor that your husband speak to her alone. If after giving subtle but nonetheless clear messages to this woman that her behavior is unwelcome, if she still persists, it would be necessary to ask for the help of church leadership. If she is a member of the church, she will need the discipline the church body provides. If this is a professional relationship, there may be channels at work he can pursue if the situation continues. Most employers take a grim view toward sexual harassment—which is what flirting is after it has been discouraged and asked to cease.
- Continue to pray with your husband for this woman and about the circumstance.
4. If your husband is responding positively to these flirtations . . .
If he seems to enjoy them, is flattered by them, teases you with them, then, again, the problem isn’t this woman at all, it is your husband’s behavior. Ephesians 5:3 says, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.” Further, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says we should avoid even the appearance of evil. Your focus needs to be praying for him and telling him honestly that the flirtations aren’t cute to you but are hurtful. If he isn’t responsive, then pull in a third party in the form of a pastor or elder who can help you with the situation. Don’t threaten or give your husband ultimatums, as that will only further escalate the situation, but neither should you tolerate behaviors that should be reserved solely for you and your spouse. Flirting is a form of infidelity.
5. Finally, consider what the circumstance may have brought to the surface.
Do I trust my husband to respond appropriately to women who aren’t behaving in a godly manner? If the answer is no, begin praying about that and consider counseling. Sometimes that lack of trust may be due to the fact your husband has betrayed you in the past. Other times it may be because you are walking in fear and anxiety, not trusting the Lord to work in and through your godly husband. Either way, counseling can be of great help to you and your husband. I would encourage you to consider going to counseling even if your husband ops not to go with you. It may be that God uses something that Satan meant for evil to bring about great good in strengthening your marriage.