Today, I thought we’d take another crack at…
Let’s just try to ignore my propensity for reeeeeeeeally long hash tags for a moment and focus on the most important word in that post (which, yes, is buried in the middle of the #longesthashtagever). And that word is “flirt.”
Ah, flirting. That dubious talent that comes so naturally to every 15-year-old girl and boy.
Thing is, flirting’s not just for teenagers.
In fact, flirting’s not just for singles. IN FACT, I would argue it’s almost more important for us married folks.
My husband and I like to flirt. Of course, if you took that FB entry above and combined it with this text we sent each other yesterday, you’d probably think that our entire method of flirtatious interaction involves driving around in our swagger wagons making googly eyes at each other.
Truth is, we’ll flirt pretty much anywhere. We purposefully bump hips in the bathroom on our way to brush our teeth at night. We “accidentally” both choose the same side of the kitchen island to walk around at dinner so that we are forced to squeeeeeze past each other and maybe even steal a kiss (much to our children’s dismay/delight).
We’re also not above playing footsie under the table at lunch.
Here’s the thing: in the same way that all of our “I Love You-ing” doesn’t necessarily come naturally to us or stem from how we feel at that exact moment, neither do we always naturally tend towards being flirtatious in our marriage.
After all, our 9th anniversary is looming. I know that can’t hold a candle to some of you who have been married for decades, but it’s plenty enough time for the stomach butterflies to have long since flown off, rarely to return. Unless we do something extremely intentional to bring them back.
Is marriage all about that fluttery, short-of-breath sensation you get when you’re first falling for your love? Um, no. Because I am a firm believer that love is not a feeling (although it has many that come with it). It’s a choice.
But part of the choice I make to love my husband involves reminding him of the girl he first fell in love with. And that girl loved to flirt with him because of the way he grinned when she tossed her hair over her shoulder and pretended to frog him in the arm.
My husband doesn’t give me a lot of specific tips or pointers about the way I treat him, which I think means he’s pleased enough with my actions in most areas. But one thing he has specifically mentioned multiple times (spread out over 10 + years) is that he loves it when I flirt.
And that tells me that this is no small thing for our marriage.
Do we always sashay through dinnertime, hip-bumping and calling each other Hot Stuff?
That’s a negative.
Most of the time, it’s: “Can you get the plates?” “Sure. Grab a baby, would you?” “Ezra, get the forks, please.” “Della, SIT DOWN before you fall!”
Life with five small children doesn’t exactly lend itself to a lighthearted, romantic atmosphere. In fact, I’m pretty sure we could replace that with just plain LIFE, and the rest of the sentence would still be the same.
But if we wait until we’re alone or relaxed to be playful with each other, it might never happen. And so, as often as we remember, we flirt. As a conscious action. Not necessarily because we feel it but because we know that, as with so many other things in life, the feelings follow the actions.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been stressed or way too serious for my own good, and Shaun has snapped me out of my slump with a simple wink and a pinch.
And now, even though my mom and my father-in-law read my blog, and this is awkward (Hi, Butch and Mom!), I want to address something that I think holds us women back from flirting or accepting our husband’s attempts at it. We’re afraid of where it might lead. We’re worn out. We haven’t showered in three days or shaved our legs in three weeks (anybody else out there working on their winter leg warmers?). The last thing on our minds is tuning the radio to Bow Chicka Wow Wow.
And while it’s true that I become “suspicious” of my husband’s true motives if he gets too flirtatious an an odd moment, I know that letting my reservations keep me from just enjoying my husband’s good mood will ensure that there are fewer and fewer of those fun, flirtatious moments. In other words, if I’m constantly “shutting him down” for fear that I’ll give him “the wrong idea,” he’ll eventually stop trying.
And isn’t men “not trying” one of those things we women love to complain about?
So, here’s my challenge for all of us (definitely including myself in this; I try to be conscious about it, but I can go days with a long face and only the most basic, literal sentences coming out of my mouth):
Even if you’re really bad at it.
Even if you’re not in the “the mood.”
Even if it’s awkward at first.
Even if your husbands looks at you funny.
Even if you’ve been married 32 years, and you haven’t done this kind of nonsense since before you got hitched.
I mean, really, what’s the worst that could happen? A brief moment of embarrassment that’ll probably be followed by a good laugh with the person you love most?
So, what do you think? Are you willing to give it a shot? Or are you and your husband already flirting pros?
Any flirty ideas you want to share? One reader mentioned writing her husband notes in lipstick on his bathroom mirror each morning. I thought that was pretty awesome!