Today is my half-birthday. No need to send cards, but if you feel like shooting me a funny meme about being almost 30, I will gladly accept. Also, in case you missed that, I AM ALMOST 30. To be honest, I’ve never really dreaded or feared the big 3-0. You know why? If you’re a fan of Jennifer Garner movies from the early 2000s, then I know you do … “Thirty, flirty and thriving,” people. At a young age, the movie 13 Going on 30 taught me one critical life lesson – my thirties will without a doubt be awesome.

“I want to be thirty and flirty and thriving.”

Back when I was a young whipper-snapper turning 28.

From the day I saw that movie, I never questioned what my 30s might be like or considered that saying goodbye to my twenties could be cause for despair. I can recall numerous times encouraging friends who reached that exciting era. I would remind them of the words 13-year-old Jenna repeats to herself as sparkly magic-dust falls on her: “thirty and flirty and thriving.” Before that movie, I’m not sure who wished to be in their 30s, if anyone, and frankly, I don’t guess I really care. If it was a marketing stunt, they got me hook, line and sinker, and I’m still smiling as they reel me in.

Now, there is one part of that small phrase that has quite dramatically shifted since first seeing the movie. Then, I was single and could flirt freely. In fact, right around the time I saw this movie, a close friend and I launched a new mission called SEBs, Self-Esteem Boosters. That’s right.

The former, ‘flirting’ days.

We decided that we should actually be more bold and flirt with random guys in order to boost their self-esteem. A gutsy mission coming from a girl who could hardly make eye-contact with any guy that she was actually interested in. We spent a lot of time laughing about the idea, and next to none actually implementing it. I digress.

Ten-plus years down the road, I am now a happily married woman. So, what does the “flirty” part of my thirties look like being hitched to one wonderful man. Well, in my nearly three years married – look out, lot of marital wisdom here (insert big, winky face) – I’ve discovered a few ways to ‘SEB’ my hubby. Here are a few examples of flirting/loving each other that has worked, and not worked, in our marriage.

1. Give A Little Love.

Steal a kiss, grab a hand, write notes, light candles, heck, squeeze a tush if you have to! Whatever type of affection your husband enjoys, sprinkle it into his daily life. This is an area where I’m still adding arrows to my cupid quiver.

I know Nate likes random kisses, hand-holding and such, but I honestly think the best love that I could better show him currently involves carbs and proteins. Surprising Nate with food always makes him happy. And, he still has a little, lunch love-note from me tucked in the visor of his truck

2. Be Random.

Surprise! Go dancing, set up a date night, give him tickets to his favorite sporting event (you know, when events are a thing again. Thanks, 2020). I don’t know what kind of surprises your husband enjoys, but make it your mission to figure that out and then surprise him!

Nate enjoys all of the above, and he likes gifts. I don’t know if gifts are his No. 1 love language or not, but I think they’re up there. I figured out that he likes gifts because he kept getting me random ones. So, I’ve started to try and think of him more during my Costco and Target visits.

3. Bring out Your ‘Naughty’ …

… banter! Have fun! Throw a ‘naughty’ joke out there when the moment’s right. When I say naughty, I don’t mean debased language. I simply mean a word or phrase that would absolutely be inappropriate outside the context of your marriage.

For example, one phrase that an unnamed family member will say on occasion to their unnamed spouse is: “Who’s your friend, or is that your butt?” This fabulous line comes from Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa as the hippo Gloria flirts with Moto Moto. If you haven’t seen the clip, please take a reading break and watch it here.   

4. Find the Fun.

If I’m remembering correctly, Nate and I were watching the show, My Hotter Half, when this brilliant idea struck; and, I think it was actually Nate’s idea. Backstory- in the show, one person in each couple ends up getting a makeover to try and ‘increase’ their hotness … yes, I know, it’s ridiculous.

Somehow, while watching this odd show, we decided it would be super fun to do outfit-makeovers for each other. To the mall! The rule was that we had to try on whatever the other person wanted. Then, we had to wear the selected outfit on a date.

It was amazing! We got two great dates out of it. I got to see Nate in an outfit that he would never have chosen for himself. And, I ended up loving everything that he got me to wear, even the bright, yellow-green high heels that I never would have picked out for myself.

Basically, married ladies, do this. Rock that thirty, flirty and thriving life (thirty, fifty, eighty, you get it).

5. Truth or Dare Hair.

Are you in need of a new do, as in hair-do? Well one fun, flirty and maybe even frightening way to build your bond is to let him decide how you should cut it. You read that right. Let your husband pick the hairstyle that you should show your stylist and get your hair cut to look like!

You can definitely set some ground rules. Here’s how it happened for us. I was wanting to chop off my hair for the summer and for some reason when Amy from Superstore chopped her hair off, Nate asked me when I was going to do that again. A seed was planted.

A couple weeks later, I kept tossing out the idea of actually doing it. Fickle, I blurted, “I want you to pick for me,” thinking he would choose from my four selected screenshots of cute cuts. Instead, Nate exclaimed, “Okay!” and went on to demand that we shake hands that I now had to go with whatever style he chose. After some back-and-forth, we agreed that I would have three vetoes. Well, I went with the first picture he chose, did the color with a little more added to it and the cut, and I love it!! You can see a Reels video that I posted of it here.

Sometimes you gotta take the leap.

6. Pour Some Sugar.          

That’s right, ladies, you know what I’m talking about. Throw on one of those cute little numbers that appeals to his visual side and greet him at the door in a robe, with a big bow, or … well, whatever works for you.

Now, an important note with this, timing. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, timing is critical – I’ve basically never said that phrase before, but in my head it seemed right for the moment. For Nate and I, it’s really important that I don’t choose to go for a big, sexy gesture when he’s just finished working a 10-hour day; that was quite the area of contention in our first year of marriage. So, try to figure out a day when he’s likely not exhausted and when he’s had enough to eat. 😉

7. And Finally, Punching is a No.

What can I say? I’m a recovering puncher. Remember that classic line given by mothers to sons that’s been shared for ages now (at least on the silver screen)? “If a girl hits you, it’s because she likes you.” I am one of the reasons they wrote that line.

Now, before boys from my sixth-grade class get any ideas, it’s important to note that not every girl-to-guy punch is in a flirtatious spirit. Sometimes boys really were bootie-heads (keeping it PG here) that deserved punches, or lunchboxes to the head that landed said girl in the principal’s office for the first and only time in her life- a story for another day.

Nate does not like punches. They are never cute to him. Therefore, I should probably not take punches with me into my thirty, flirty and thriving life come October.

I’m sure there are a million and one other wonderful ways to flirt with your spouse, so, please share if you have an idea! You can DM me your fun, flirting tips on Instagram, Facebook or in a comment below.

Here’s to being thirty, flirty and thriving!!