flirting in marriage: 3 ways that you can keep flirting after you say "i do"

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Don't forget!

  • Have a burning question for me? Here's your chance to ask it! Click HERE to read more about this new video project and how you can submit your question.

"this is love" photo contest

Several photo entries for the first annual "This is Love" photo contest were collected over the last few weeks. I put them all in an album on my Facebook fan page for your viewing pleasure. Click HERE to see all of the entries.

Now here's the best part. YOU get to choose the winner! Just go to the photo album and cast your vote by "liking" your favorite photo(s). You can vote for as many pictures as you want. I will stop collecting "likes" on October 25, 2011 at 5pm.

Happy voting!

another great book review!

Not to toot my own horn, but... toot toot! I received another great book review for my new book Make Love, Not Scrapbooks! Erin Cox, the creator of had some great things to say! Here's a quote from her review:

"I definitely recommend this book if you are looking to give your marriage a little kick-start, and you’d like some fresh ideas and important reminders. Like I said, it is very well written and so enjoyable to read that it even kept me awake while reading at night during my first trimester (which is saying it’s a really great book!). After reading this, I feel like Jennifer is my new friend. You learn a lot about her, her marriage, and her realistic, but wonderful outlook on married life as she and her husband raise twin toddlers. I could relate to so much of what she has experienced, which made reading the book with her personal stories sprinkled throughout that much more enjoyable."

Click HERE to read the full review. Erin also wrote a few posts that were inspired by my book. You can read those posts HERE, HERE, and HERE.

And as always, you can read more about me and my book HERE.

By the way, if you're going to be in the Harrisonburg, VA area on Wednesday, October 19th, stop by Clementine Restaurant for my book signing!

5 conversations for a happy marriage

Good communication– those exchanges where you feel more loved, respected, or secure–is vital to your marriage’s success. What should you be talking about? Below are five conversations that you can implement into your daily interactions to enhance your marriage.

gimme a break: the great soulmate debate

I recently had a conversation with one of my past students about her relationship with her boyfriend of six months (Yes, several of my students randomly email me or come by my office for relationship advice once they find out what I study.). She was concerned that she was wasting her time in her relationship because her and her partner both felt that they were not soulmates yet. She said that she thought he had the potential to be her soulmate, but that so far, he wasn't making the cut. And apparently, he felt the same way. This was the gist of our conversation:

Me: "Why do you feel this way? Are you not attracted to him? Is he mean to you? Do you fight a lot? What is it?"

Past Student: "No no no. We're both attracted to one another, he's not mean, and we haven't ever had an argument." (Ahhh, young love.)

Me:"Well then, what is it?"

Past Student: "We don't have the same hobbies."

Me: "So?"

My past student seemed rather shocked by my response, but the truth of the matter was that I was shocked by her response. Seriously? Having different hobbies is tearing them apart? So what? Who says that two people have to like the same things to be madly in love?

Then, I started to think that she wasn't telling me the whole story. There had to be something else going on that was making her so unhappy. She insisted that this was a HUGE issue in their relationship. I then assured her that not having the same hobbies was not generally a deal-breaker.

"My husband and I don't like the same things, but we're great together. Do you think my husband likes doing crafty things? No, he doesn't. And I don't like going to car shows every single chance I get, but my husband lives for them. As long as you have similar core values, beliefs, and attitudes, you should be good to go."

I continued to talk to her about how having similar values about money, sex, kids, chores, gender roles, religion, and politics are much more important (but still not even necessary) for compatibility than what you like to do on the weekends. But that doesn't mean that you should each have your own completely separate lives, either. You still need to make an effort to go and do the things that he likes and he should do the things that you like every once in awhile. For instance, I don't lurve car shows, but I'll go to one with Hus because I know it's important to him and so that we can spend time together. Same thing goes with the craft stuff. Hus would never go to a public craft-making place on his own (or with anyone else but me, really), but he's taken me to a paint-your-own-pottery place several times. We sit, we paint, and we talk. It's a really nice time for us to bond.

Then, she said, "I just feel like if we don't have the same hobbies, then he's not my soulmate. And I need to find my soulmate."

"What do you mean by soulmate?" I asked.

She continued, "Your soulmate is the one person in the world who you are destined to be with."

"Wait a minute. Do you mean to tell me that we all only have ONE person who is our soulmate? And that we have to look on the entire planet for that person?"

"Well, yeah," she said.

Let's get a couple of things straight. First, "a soulmate is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity, similarity, love, intimacy, sexuality, spirituality, or compatibility." Second, it is completely illogical to believe that there is only one person in the world who you can share these feelings with. If we all go around believing that we each only have one soulmate in the world (in the entire world), many of us will never find relationship happiness; especially since most people tend to stay in their country of origin and many people never even leave their original hometown.

Gimme a f-ing break. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but in my opinion, you do not have just one soulmate. And, your relationship is not doomed if you have different hobbies. In fact, that will probably help you each maintain a sense of individuality when you are combining your separate lives into a shared life. My advice to my student? Relax. You're fine. Enjoy your relationship, spend time together, respect each other's hobbies, and let your love for one another grow.

What do you think about the great soulmate debate?

Don't forget!

  • Enter my "this is love" photo contest and you could win a $100 Target gift card! The contest is ending on October 15, so get creative and start taking some pictures! Oh yeah, and then send your favorite one to me. (FYI: there is a NEW UPDATE about this contest at the bottom of the post- click HERE to read it)
  • Have a burning question for me? Here's your chance to ask it! Click HERE to read more about this new video project and how you can submit your question.
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