In a recent post, I shared about how little, incremental choices over time had added up and were taking a toll on our normally-very-easy marriage.
Some of these marriage-depleting decisions were in our control (such as choices to commit our family to more activities, and choices in how we spent our free time); while others were simply out of our control (such as an increase in my husband's travel schedule, and ongoing doctor's appointments for one of our children).
Nevertheless, our marriage went on the back burner a bit because of these decisions… and one day, it was like we woke up and suddenly realized that things had become a mess.
From all outside appearances things were good, but it was in those quiet intimacies of the heart (choosing to put ourselves before our spouse; letting bad attitudes influence our words and tone, etc) that we noticed bad habits being formed.
We were heading down a slippery slope, and something needed to change. Now.
Determined to fight for this precious gift of our marriage, we first confessed our failings to each other and discovered once again that open confession (followed by undeserved forgiveness) is a beautiful thing.
Then, moving forward, we committed ourselves to change. We started by asking a two-fold question: First, “What do we need to give up? What commitments, attitudes, and habits need to change to allow us to put our marriage first–always?”; and second, “Practically speaking, what do we need to add into our daily/weekly routine to restore and nourish our closeness?”
And it's this second question–the regular nourishment of our marriage–that I want to focus on in this post.
Because I wholeheartedly believe that choosing to regularly nourish our marriages is the key to lasting, lifelong marital health.
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Good marriages don't just happen: they are built by couples who intentionally choose–in their habits, activities and interactions–to make loving their spouse their number one priority.
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Discovering the Gift of Couples Massage
Around this time, I was given a copy of the Melt: Massage for Couples video series. This wonderful online video course leads couples through 17 massage techniques and 3 massage routines. These short but informationally-packed sessions give step-by-step directions on how to, as instructor (and professional massage therapist) Denis Merkas says, “make your spouse fall in love with your hands.”
Wow… has this turned out to be a blessing! Watching these videos together (and practicing the techniques) has become an integral facet of our renewed commitment to be more intentional. The timing of this couldn't have been more perfect.
3 Reasons Why Massage Is A Wonderful Way to Intentionally Build Your Marriage
Couples massage gives us a practical, regular way to bring marital nourishment.
When we choose to spend time sharing a massage, we are saying no to all other outside influences and saying yes to each other. The TV is off. The kids are asleep (or, if during the day, occupied somewhere else). And all our attention is focused on blessing each other. Massage is one way to move “couples time” from a nebulous “how does this happen?”-type state to an intentional, habitual reality.
Couples massage involves physical touch, and physiologically, touch brings us closer.
I am not a psychologist, relationship expert, or a medical doctor, but I have been told by numerous people (who do hold these titles) that when spouses regularly share touch, deep levels of connection–on a biological level!–are quickly developed. This can be touch of a sexual or non-sexual nature. It's a no-brainer way to build your marriage and develop closeness.
Couples massage reinforces the concept of service (critical to a healthy marriage).
In an always-take-care-of-number-one world, “service” seems like a dirty word, or at least, an incredibly outdated one. But, truth be told, biblical marriage is founded on the concept of putting our spouse before ourselves (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7; Ephesians 5:28). Humility and sacrifice (close cousins to “service”) are integral facets of thriving marriages. Regular couples massage gives practical opportunities to live out the need to serve our spouses.
Why We Love the Melt: Massage for Couples Video Series
First of all, Melt's massage techniques are taught privately in the comfort of your own home. No weird classmates watching you. No giggling as you do this with your friends. No weird books with questionable pictures. No need to pay a babysitter (or to find someone to teach you how to massage). No long term planning ahead to fit in the schedule. The Melt: Massage for Couples online video course allows couples to simply take a few minutes by themselves after a long day and learn together–on their timeframe and in the way that works for them.
It's intimate without being awkward.
I love that Melt encourages sexuality without forcing the issue. Denis and Emma Merkis have designed this video course to beautifully compliment the unique marital bond, and they acknowledge that massage between couples can lead to further levels of intimacy… or not. I appreciate that they acknowledge the sexual side of it, but don't make it the ultimate goal of the massage session. The goal is to bless each other with touch. Period. If it leads to more, great; if not, that's equally awesome.
Denis and Emma teach simple and effective massage techniques that allow couples to create their own ultimate couples massage experience. They do have a few “routines” they share that combine the class elements, but overall, the focus is on individuality and customization, making each massage experience that more unique.
It's practical (even beyond building your marriage).
Since taking the Melt course, I've used the specific massages strokes I've learned in class to help my kids when they have muscle soreness (two of them are gymnasts) or if they just don't feel well. Whereas before I would just rub a child's neck (or sore calf) halfheartedly, now I feel like I can truly be helpful if they need this type of motherly nurture. It's been an unexpectedly wonderful side benefit to the course.
More Details on the Melt Couples Massage Course
If couples massage sounds like it would be an awesome addition to your marriage, I'd highly recommend purchasing the Melt course!
The course includes:
– Lifetime, unlimited access to the high-quality video courses, ready to stream directly to your smart TV, laptop, iPad or tablet. You can watch them as many times as you like.
– Seventeen (17) simple and easy massage techniques, broken down stroke by stroke.
– Three (3) follow-along massage routines that combine the signature strokes into a 5-minute, 15-minute and 30-minute massage routine.
Click here now to order!
Investing in your marriage is one of those gifts that blesses not only the two of you but strengthens the entire family unit. My sincerest prayer is that you too will look for intentional ways to keep your marriage strong and thriving.
(In accordance with FTC regulations, I'm stating that I was compensated for my time in exchange for writing about this product. However, the opinions stated contain my honest assessment of the product and are 100% mine.)
What suggestions or ideas do you have to intentionally build closeness in marriage?
What practical tips or personal stories can you share?