Why I Flirted with Her
Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. Genesis 29:10
I’ve previously mentioned that it was love-at-first-sight when I met my wife. Why though? I’d like to say it was because she was working at a Christian camp and that I wanted to marry a good Christian girl. There were lots of girls working at that camp though. The truth is a little less spiritual. As a man, I’m highly visual and when I looked at her, I saw the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. I’d like to say I’ve grown up since then, but she’s still beautiful and I still appreciate that. Fortunately for me, she’s as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside, but I didn’t know that at the time. She was simply very pleasing to my eyes, and I wanted her. So, I did my best to flirt – How you doing? She wasn’t having it, and to her credit, she didn’t respond in kind. Undeterred by the fact that she obviously wasn’t interested in me, I just kept pursuing her.
I only tell this story to demonstrate that men are highly visual and that we’re driven by an impulsive desire to interact with that which is attractive to us in a way that produces a dopamine rush in our brains. In my case, with my wife, it ended up working out quite well for me, so I can’t say this is all bad. It’s just something that we must understand about ourselves.
Today’s passage illustrates my point. Though he lived 1,700 years B.C., Jacob wasn’t all that different from men of today. Journeying to the land of his people, Jacob met his kin, watering their sheep at a local well. There, for the first time, Jacob laid his eyes on Rachel as she approached the well. Jacob found Rachel quite beautiful and so he did what men do. He flirted. He jumped up and tried to impress her by removing the stone from the well and watering the sheep himself. This is apparently how men flirted back then.
It’s an amusing story, but it reveals this reality – Men are visual. We have a natural craving for that which looks good to our eyes. As I said, this isn’t all bad, but we must understand how it can lead us astray. When we get married, our visual obsession isn’t automatically gone. We still find attractiveness to be attractive. So, we’re tempted to flirt, engaging in inappropriate relationships. We’re tempted to view pornography. We’re tempted to do anything that stimulates a dopamine rush in our brains. In doing so, we’re prone to addictive behaviors that don’t just evaporate when we marry. As sure as any drug addiction, these behaviors will destroy us and our families.
As Christian men, we must understand our weaknesses. We’re highly visual and as such, we’re prone to shallow, flawed, self-destructive behaviors because they feed our visually-driven appetite. Daily, if we desire the lives and marriages God intends for us, we must do what it takes to abandon our impulsive appetites to follow his will. Our way is disaster. God’s way is life. His path will never lead us to destroy our marriages and families.