Flirt Your Way to a Better Marriage 

By Lisa Jacobson 

Refresh and reignite your marriage relationship by finding a way to flirt with each other and have fun together again

I believe there are two types of people in this world: those who like plenty of pillows and those who don’t. I fall into the first category. My husband, Matt, falls into the second one. This matter of pillow-collecting has been a source of disagreement for our entire 29 years of marriage. 

Almost every night, as I cross the bedroom to crawl into my cozy bed, Matt will start pitching pillows at me, as if we were at the state fair and this was one of those carnival games where he could win a giant stuffed panda. I’ve tried to tell him this is extremely immature behaviour, but he refuses to listen—especially as I can’t stop giggling, no matter how many thousands of times we’ve played this silly game. It’s ridiculous. 

But it’s also rather sweet. Because no matter what we’ve been through, we usually end the day on a happy note of laughter. 

Our older children, who are now grown and moved away, tell us that this is one of their favourite memories growing up—the sound of Dad and Mum laughing at bedtime. No matter what was going on in their lives, all seemed right with the world when they heard our laughter at night—the happy sound of two people who love each other.  

But there was more than just pillow tosses that bonded us. Later, I recognised my part in exploring ways to rekindle the spark between us. With a little creativity and effort from me, flirting became a natural part of our marriage. 

Be intentional 

Pillow fights and other forms of playfulness might feel far from your marriage right now. If you’re too busy, too stressed or simply too serious, laughter, delight and even desire may feel elusive. 

I understand those challenges. I’m inclined to rate my own marriage’s success by the number of tasks I cross off my list rather than the things that bring joy into our relationship. I focus on what needs to be done more than what makes my husband and me feel like lovers.  

After all, he, too, was once weighed down and distracted with his own worries. While keeping up with the demands of the day, we didn’t have much energy left for the night. 

I longed for more sweetness and a brighter spark between us. Yet I didn’t know how to communicate what I wanted—even needed—from him and our relationship. Until I experienced the power of pursuit. 

Ignite the fire 

My little experiment started informally about seven years into our marriage after finding myself feeling drab and lonely, struggling with the noisy demands of having four young children. One evening, Matt came home late from work and warmly wrapped his arms around me while I stood at the stove preparing dinner. However, feeling worn out and annoyed, I carelessly shrugged him off. I couldn’t help noticing how his shoulders drooped as he backed away. 

What if I didn’t brush him off? I thought. What if I turned around and leaned into him instead? I learned the answer when I whipped around and pressed my body against his . . . and the kitchen nearly caught fire with our spontaneous passion. 

At the time, I’d been quietly blaming my husband for the dull rut we’d found ourselves in. But that evening it dawned on me that maybe I needed to do things differently—and that I could do things differently. 

I thought back to how my husband and I interacted when we were first dating: the way I talked to him, touched him and even looked at him. Nothing that cost too much or took a lot of time. Just simple things that communicated I like you and You’re the one I want

Beginning to flirt again 

What are those little things that used to bring warmth and closeness to your relationship? And this is not only about date night or even sex, but also loving gestures, such as sweet smiles, soft touches, kind words and laughing together. These mini flirtations can be powerful points of connection in your relationship. 

As I thought about the small ways to add more warmth to my marriage, I listed 30 or more ideas I could use to intentionally pursue my husband with my heart, mind, body and words. Then I wrote out a specific plan for each one and put the plan in motion. I called it “The Flirtation Experiment.” 

As I began implementing my ideas, I found that this new, more flirtatious dynamic in our relationship improved our overall communication and made it easier to work through even the harder stuff. It somehow brought us closer, leading us to an even deeper connection—and turning everyday situations into true romance. 

If you’re looking for ways to refresh and reignite your marriage, try a flirtation experiment of your own. 

Playfulness. If pillow fights aren’t your thing, initiate a water fight or play a harmless prank. Try out a new pun or determine to laugh at his latest dad joke. Play a game together, playfully tease or even just wink at him from across the room. 

Affection. Make it a practice to stroke his arm or touch the back of his neck whenever you walk past him. Rather than the usual quick kiss, linger on his lips for a few seconds . . . or more. Reach for a warm hug or offer an affectionate squeeze. 

Affirmation. Consider giving him a compliment every day for a week. Tell him how handsome, strong or smart he is. Notice the good things he does or what you appreciate about him. Add a loving smile whenever possible. 

You can never go wrong with bringing in more kissing or building him up with your words. But don’t stop there. Let your imagination create experiments that expressly fit your relationship. 

My hope is that if you do your own flirtation experiment, you’ll find the power of pursuing love. The fun of flirting with your spouse is only the beginning of something truly beautiful for both of you. 

© 2022 Lisa Jacobson. Used with permission. Published at focusonthefamily.com. 

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