Hus and I like to flirt. Not with other people, but with each other. Sometimes we flirt to be playful, other times we flirt to be romantic, and still other times we just flirt to be a little sexual with one another. Flirting with each other, although we're long past the beginning of our courtship (we started dating in 2000 and were married in 2007), is still part of our daily routine. It allows us to show our continued interest in one another and have a little fun in the process.
I recently read an article that supports this idea of flirting during marriage. Researcher Brandi N. Frisby, of the Department of Communication Studies at West Virginia University, examined flirting in marriage by holding in-depth interviews with married couples.
She talked with couples about their relationship from their first meeting all the way to their current marriage. Through detailed coding of the transcribed interviews, Frisby (2009) discovered several themes about flirting in marriage.
During initial courtship all the way up to marriage, individuals tend to flirt to reduce uncertainty about their potential mate and to initiate sexual activity (I think that's a bit of a no-brainer). Ah, young love.
Then when these couples tied the knot, their motivations for flirting shifted. In particular, Frisby's (2009) study revealed 6 motivations for flirting during marriage including: sexual, relational, fun, esteem, creating a private world, and relationship maintenance.
It seems as though flirting in marriage is a bit more complicated than when dating. When you're dating, it's pretty clear; your partner is flirting with you to either get to know you better or get in your pants (or both!). But, when you get married, your partner may be flirting with you to increase their own self-esteem or to just to have fun. After thinking about it more, I realize that this shift in flirting motivations could cause some serious miscommunication between married partners.
What's even more interesting are the gender differences Frisby (2009) found in her interviews. Typically, men reported flirting to initiate or show interest in sex with their wives. On the other hand, women typically reporting flirting in order to have fun.
Reflecting on my own flirting behaviors, I think that Hus and I tend to flirt in create a private world and to maintain our marriage. In addition, Hus definitely flirts to initiate sex much more often than I do. Miscommunication, and all of the lovely issues that come along with it, then ensues.
The bottom line is that flirting in marriage is important. No matter what your motivation, flirting with your partner helps them feel wanted, loved, and it can be really fun. Not sure how to flirt with your mate? Here are three ways that you can flirt with your partner after you get hitched.
In general, flirting involves speaking and behaving in a way that suggests that you would like to maintain or intensify the intimacy in your current relationship. There are several ways that you can accomplish this goal; here are three of them.
- Communicate using double entendres. A double entendre is a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways. One of these meanings tends to be obvious, while the other is a little less clear (it requires some thought). And since your already married and comfortable with your partner, you can have some fun and be a little cheesy. For instance, you could say, "If I said that you have a great body, would you hold it against me?" I know, that was terribly cheesy. But that's okay. It's fun.
- Physically touch one another (gasp!). Yes, you may actually have to touch one another when flirting. Getting close when talking, flirting with your eyes (here's an article and video about seducing someone with your eyes), or brushing up against your partner unexpectedly can all show your interest in your spouse.
- Talk sexy. You can talk about sexy things to your spouse (here's a great article about the art of talking sexy), compliment your spouse about sexy attributes of his or hers, or just use the tone of your voice to talk sexy. Tone is an important tool in your flirting toolbox. You can easily make anything sound seductive by saying it a certain way.
Flirting is not just for teenagers or dating couples. Flirting in marriage is a great tool to intensify the bond that you two have already created.
- Frisby, B. N. (2009). Without flirting, it wouldn't be a marriage: Flirtatious communication between relational partners. Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 10 (1), 55-60.
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