A report on the London Metro in September 2006 says that research shows that the secret of a long and happy marriage is in fact lots of flirting with strangers. It goes on to say that more than a quarter of those in long term relationships claim attention and flattery from somebody else increases their sex drive, making them desire their partner more. Some 70 per cent admit that flirting makes them feel sexier and more confident. Men are more likely to push the rules with 1 in 10 saying that kissing on the lips is allowed. They also reported that from their research those aged between 35 and 44 are most likely to flirt - with more than half admitting that it's a favourite hobby. Best magazine's Peta Heskell said that the more confident and secure a woman feels, the more inclined she is to flirt and enjoy her sexuality in a healthy, unthreatening way.
Wow. Some people may read this and say, "I don't need to feel guilty about my flirting with the oppposite sex any more. It's only going to strengthen my marriage".
Most of the people who write things like this know that once the average person hears the magic word 'research', he will be ready to base his life and in this case his relationship on it. But before you rush off and start exchanging sexual banter with someone apart from your husband and wife so that you can key into this "secret of a long and happy marriage", let's examine what it really says and ask some relevant questions. 1.
First question we need to ask is, "Who and how many people did they research?" Think about it, do you know anyone who filled in their questionnaire or responded to their survey? Don't let the statistics fool you. I remember hearing about a statistics report that said 33 percent of the female lecturers in a particular university had an opinion about a certain subject. On further investigation, it turned out that there were only 3 female lecturers in the whole university at the time, and quite rightly 1 out of 3 is 33 percent. The world has over 5 billion people with different cultures and habits. How many people really formed the basis of their research to come to such a sweeping conclusion? 2. They said that more than a quarter of those in long term relationship claim that attention and flattery from somebody else increases their sex drive.
Forget about the word 'quarter' and think about numbers instead. This means that only 25 percent of those people said that it increases their sex drive. What about the remaining 75 percent? 3. Does an increased sex drive equate to a happy marriage? How many of us have heard of couples who enjoyed great sex and still broke up? 4.
70 percent of the people researched says that flirting makes them feel sexier and more confident. But what effect does it have on their partners? It only seems to focus on how the person in question feels, but doesn't say what effect it might have on their other half. Some husbands or wives feel inadequate enough without the added concern that comes from having their spouse flirt with someone else. The "What-if" spectre is likely to haunt them with thoughts of "what if she leaves me for him?", in turn increasing their insecurities. If one partner is confident and the other is insecure, there is an imbalance that doesn't make for a healthy relationship. 5.
The whole focus of their research seems to be on sex. But nothing is mentioned about the other aspects that strengthen a relatonship like communication, wrong attitudes, financial management, and so on. Sex is definitely an important part of marriage and shouldn't be dismissed lightly. However, when other important aspects are not given attention, then the marriage becomes like a lopsided building that's has some parts of its foundation missing. 6.
What wasn't addressed here was whether doing this is likely or unlikely to lead to an affair. Most people who've had affairs will tell you that there was a lot of flirting and exchanging of suggestive innuedos before the consumation. Such things lower the boundaries between people.
This usually leads to people engaging in horseplay and more physical contact like a finger on the lips, a playful slap across the face, and so on. The article actually admits that some men went as far as kissing on the lips. My, my, so my husband kissing another woman on the lips should make me really happy since it's going to increase his sex drive. 7. Something I noticed that's quite interesting is that from their research the age group most likely to flirt are those between 35 to 44.
Something that isn't common knowledge unless you like to study UK National Statistics is that this age group is the one with the highest annual divorce rates. And this is based on the statistics for the WHOLE country and not a few thousand people. This age group corresponds to women who are becoming disatisfied in their marriage as well the age when mid-life crisis or the seven-year itch kicks in for men. There's a lot more that we could observe about this, but I think the 7 points above would suffice. Is flirting with strangers the key to a happy and long marriage? I don't think so.
But does that mean we should cut out flirting all together? Speaking as a woman and a counsellor, I would say that some women would engage in flirting because the spark has died in their marriage and are seeking male approbation. And vice-versa. If that's the case, try flirting with your spouse and use all the innuedos and banter that you would have used with a stranger on them. See how that works. Why have I taken this so seriously? Some would say that it's really harmless and not many would believe it anyway. No so, there are many women out there who would say it's rubbish, but at the back of their mind would be a thought that this 'research' proves that it's okay for them to do it and end up harming their relationship.
There are also others who live their lives by the things they read in women magazines and swallow it up as gospel truth. For the sake of your marriage, examine information that comes to you and be sure that it will really help both you and your spouse and strengthen your marriage in the long run.
Valentina Ibeachum's incisive counsel has helped pre-weds prepare effectively for marriage as well as helped troubled couples resolve marriage crisis. For Free Advice, log on to Relationshipwrks.com.