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How To Keep Flirtation Alive In Your Marriage
10 tips from other couples to keep the sparks flying and the flame burning.

You know you've hit the mark with your efforts when your spouse begins to blush.

Next time you come home from work bolt through the door with force and head right for your spouse.”
It does not take years of marriage to discover that boredom has set in. For many, that indescribable thrill initially felt can vanish within even the first year of tying he knot. Listening, as I do, to countless men and women who have become disenchanted with their spouses, I have found there are many reasons this happens. Lack of trust is a huge factor, yet an even more frequent complaint is that a person has grown tired of or grown away from his/her mate, and life with their mate has become dull or boring with no pizzazz or spark.

Some of my clients, as they tell me their stories through both tears and occasionally laughter, say that what it was that once caused a thrill and provided a hard-to-articulate excitement either became non-existent in the marriage or rather ho-hum. What I came to realize is—in the words of that song sung by B.B. King—the "thrill is gone." But, it does not have to be "gone away for good" as the Hawkins and Darnell song lyrics suggest. The thrill can be sustained, and even improved upon, if only courting never ends. As you break it down—get to the heart of flirting—you soon recognize that the key component of courting is flirtation.

Before you consider reinstating flirtation into your marriage, you must first get your head in the right frame of mind—where it once was during the courting stage of your relationship. I am convinced that if couples went the extra mile to treat their spouses with the same "I-will-work-to-make-you-mine," mentality, he or she would keep the ennui from creeping into the relationship.

Flirtation does not have to end. You simply have to be clever and creative in order keep the flirtation wheel turning, which ultimately keeps the flame burning. The following are some suggestions I gathered from sources who claim the "teasers" they shared can do the trick because those who passed them on to me were once happily married. They pointed to these examples as situations or incidents that attracted them to his or her mate, or that kept them fighting to keep the marriage intact even when times were tough. Try one or all of the following ten tips:

1. Leave a small flirty note. Communicate a fun, romantic or sexy message to your spouse via text, e-mail, voice message or, if you’re "old school," put a sticky note on the fridge, on his/her side of the bathroom vanity, or the dashboard of the car. The message can be simple and to the point like, "Hey, what are you doing later?"

2. Give the special look. The next time you are in a crowded room sitting around the dinner table with friends and family, don’t say a word. At the right moment, make eye contact with your spouse and give him/her that special look, that cheeky smile or a mischievous wink. He or she will get your drift.

3. Give the subtle touch. Reach out and touch your spouse in a very gentle way at a time when they least expects it. It can be a soft touch or a flirtatious one. Putting your hand over theirs during a parent-teacher conference, gently stroking the back of your partner’s neck while watching a movie, or slipping off your shoe momentarily under a restaurant booth and running your toes against your spouse’s ankle is a great way to set off a spark.

4. Offer the unexpected comment. Say the most flirtatious and out-of-the-blue thing at the most unlikely time. Instead of "I’m glad I married you" over dinner on your anniversary, try "Will you marry me, again?" while your heading down the grocery or hardware store aisle. It is those unexpected comments at the most unusual times and places that can be so pleasantly provocative.

5. Let loose the devil in your voice. Summon up that special tone of voice you used when you were first dating your spouse. For instance, instead of saying, "Where do you want to go on vacation this year?" in a matter-of-fact tone, try to attach another attitude to that same question, the one you used to use—the one that had a little devilish subtext beneath it.

6. Resurrect the pet names. Don’t forget that pet name you once called your spouse. In the early stages of your relationship you no doubt had a special way of addressing your spouse. It may have stuck with you for a time and then you may have forgotten to use it. Bring it back.

7. Deliver the unexpected gesture. Surprise your mate with your romantic actions which might include sending a greeting card for no apparent reason whatsoever, summoning your spouse into the master bath after the kids are fast asleep where you have a waiting candlelight bubble bath for the two of you; or carving you and your spouse’s initials into your favorite backyard tree. To direct your spouse’s attention to that spot, you might suggest he or she carefully check the tree because you suspect that there might a hornet’s nest forming in it.

8. Go ahead, be the flirty stranger. Next time you are alone or with a crowd of others in an elevator sneak a quick kiss or, better yet, come on to your spouse with a quick one-liner like you are just meeting them for the first time. You’ll please the onlookers if there are others riding up or down with you and even if it’s just the two of you, it is a great way to flirt. Such a "role-playing" moment might portend of what is to follow later.

9. Arrive home with intention. Next time you come home from work bolt through the door with force and head right for your spouse. Grab him or her and begin to shower your spouse with hugs and kisses like it’s been weeks since you saw him/her. Seize that moment by saying all the things you used to say when you two first began to date. Talk about turning up the heat!

10. Give 'em your best line. Do a little homework and make a list of fun come-on lines that you can spew at your spouse at the most unexpected moments or when you sense he/she is getting bored with you. Let’s say you are at the cleaners together and you suddenly lean over and whisper, "You want to go to a party tonight?" Yes, that is a great flirting line, but I challenge you to use your imagination to make your list. If you get stuck, watch some really well done romantic comedies and jot down a few classic lines like, "You had me at hello," (Jerry McGuire), "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," (Casablanca), or "Do you love me because I’m beautiful or am I beautiful because you love me?" (Cinderella). A wonderful homework task is to research some ideal movie lines that resonate with you.

If you are like many married couples, you may have been out of the flirting game for some time and are not sure your attempts are working. The best way to measure your success is by your spouse’s reactions to your efforts. If he or she blushes or giggles at your attempts, you know you have hit the mark! There is one more way to flirt: Use humor in communicating with your spouse whenever you can. There is something both charming and endearing about plying humor on your spouse. Many say that there is something uniquely sexy about the tie-in between romance and humor.

Stacy D. Phillips is a certified family law specialist and author of "Divorce: It’s All About Control—How to Win the Emotional, Psychological and Legal Wars" (ExecuProv Press, 2005—now in its fifth printing). Phillips represents business executives, entrepreneurs, homemakers, and high net-worth individuals, as well as celebrities in the music, film and television industries, including noted personalities in sports and politics. She can be contacted at (310) 277-7117 or by email at sdpdissoqueen@plljlaw.com.

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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.

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