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Ever since I hit adulthood, I've struggled with headaches and migraines that are triggered by neck and shoulder tension. I've learned through the years largely to read my triggers and keep them from happening, but I still tend to carry all my stress and worry in my back and neck muscles, which isn't fun.
Through the years, I've found massage therapists to rely on heavily in every city in which I've lived – when a migraine hits, the only way to “unlock” it is to get deep tissue work done in a long massage session.
Then, when my husband and I got married nearly a decade ago, he willingly assumed the role of masseur (poor fella), both to save money and because it's fun to get your hands on your new wife as often as possible. 🙂
However, we fairly quickly hit some communication roadblocks and misunderstandings:
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1. I wanted a back massage for relaxation, not merely as warm-up to something else (no matter how fun that something else might be).
2. Even though I assured him he was doing fine, after awhile he didn't really enjoy giving massages merely because he didn't feel like he knew what he was doing. He was exceptional at finding the knots that needed to be worked out, but he often said he felt awkward and that he wished he knew more techniques to make it more fun and more effective.
3. This was true in reverse as well. I had a few techniques up my sleeve from all the professional massages I had received, but I hurt him more than once in my inexperience. Note to self: That elbow in the ribcage isn't always a good idea…..
4. We both loved long backrubs, but it was easy to end up with sore hands or sore backs or sore knees from the act of giving the massage.
Needless to say, we both love the idea of massage – and honestly, both NEED massage physically – but we just haven't made time for it much anymore.
But then, a couple of months ago, Denis Merkas, the creator of Massage Courses for Couples wrote me asking if I would consider reviewing his video course, MELT.
Ummm…. yes? How did you know this is what we NEED?
And honestly, I was blown away.
But I wasn't blown away at first – I started out skeptical. Not of the quality of the course, as it looked classy and professional through and through, but I was skeptical of what kind of massage would be taught. I'm looking for relaxation and my husband's looking for something a bit more sexy – and yet we both want to please each other and make each other happy. Would this just lead to more roadblocks in our conversation?
But what Denis has done so brilliantly is creating a niche that is simultaneously both of those things. What Melt teaches is mindful, intentional touch (with plenty of instruction on technique) that stimulates deep relaxation and powerful, intimate connection.
The entire series focuses on teaching simple but powerful tips and techniques for the best home massage and he leaves it to you to choose how to use them – just a quick massage to relieve the day’s tension, or letting go and embracing the intimacy of the moment. You decide.
But before I introduce you to Denis, let's take a closer look at the role massage can play in a marriage – and how, when done properly, it can meet some very essential needs.
5 Ways Massage Can Revolutionize YOUR Marriage
1. Massage is a focused, intentional way to set aside the day and focus just on each other
Making time for your marriage can be HARD. Often in the throes of everyday life and its never-ending obligations and to-do lists, we find ourselves in a blur. Taking just a few minutes to set it all aside and just BE together snaps us into a macro-focus on our spouse and the joy of enjoying each other.
Also, when you’re massaging each other, it’s not possible to talk about issues like the mortgage, children, and work pressure. In fact, it's not really possible to carry on a verbal conversation at all. It’s like trying to say “bubbles” angrily. It’s just nigh unto impossible. You get to revel and relax in just being together, no matter what else in life surrounds you.
2. Massage communicates appreciation in nearly every Love Language
Have you ever read The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman? In it, the author proposes that every person has a primary “love language,” or a specific way each of us most clearly feels loved and appreciated. He delineates the five languages as such:
- Words of Appreciation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
Massage hits on nearly every single one of these, so massage is an excellent way to communicate your appreciation of your spouse and have them actually hear you.
3. Massage strengthens your bond.
My husband and I have long referred to intimate touch as the “reset” button on our relationship. When we get snippy and gritchy at each other over little things, taking the time to reconnect physically pretty much always gets things back on an even keel and what seemed so annoying before generally melts away.
And “physical” isn't always sex – holding hands, an unexpected bear hug, cuddling while we talk – any touch meant to acknowledge the other and express appreciation helps us fall back in step with each other.
4. Massage can either facilitate healing or take an already healthy marriage to the next level
If your marriage is in a hard place where there are lingering tensions or hard conversations that just haven't happened yet, massage can be part of your relationship's healing. Even if you're in that yes-I'm-sitting-on-the-kitchen-floor-crying-because-I-can't-take-it-anymore place. Massage can jumpstart a connection that will overflow into the difficult conversations as they happen.
Massage can even bring you together in times of grief, even if you get weepy through them or find yourself emotionally raw because of it.
And if a full body massage or back rub is too intimate or too intense for your relationship right now, a hand massage or foot massage is still very intimate while still being somewhat “safe.” Massage can create and nurture that intimacy on so many different levels.
Of course, the key here is that both partners have to WANT to connect even though you feel like you're on vastly different continents, emotionally. As Dr. David Schnarch points out in his book, Passionate Marriage, marriage is what makes you ready for marriage. We learn how to be married and “make” a good marriage only by being married and learning how to express appreciation for our spouse a bit more everyday.
And if you already have a healthy relationship but you want to nurture and steward your marriage to new heights, of course massage is a POWERFUL tool for fostering that intimacy that will make EVERYTHING else thrive. A good massage with your spouse is an incredible experience, no foolin'.
5. It's fun to learn something new together
This one only applies if massage is new to both of you, but stepping out and doing something that both of you have to learn together is fun, especially if you keep it light and don't expect perfection the first (or ninth) time around. The point is to have fun together and to delight in each other.
So, now I'll let Denis introduce himself and the Melt videos, and just because he doesn't sing his own praises, you should know that he's a passionate, professional massage therapist with 15 years of experience at some of Australia's most luxurious resorts and hotels. After you watch the trailer, I'll lay out what I love (and don't love) about the Melt series below.
Now, what I love about the Melt series:
It's beautiful, sophisticated, and classy – and totally PG.
Everything about Couples Massage Courses is classy. The videos are classy, the website is classy, the blog is classy. Watching the videos makes you feel like you're part of something beautiful, which gives you a solid foundation as you're massaging your own partner.
Also, there's no nudity or no awkward moments in the videos. I wouldn't be ashamed at any point if our nine-year-old or five-year-old unexpectedly walked in on us. In fact, I might be rather proud that they were exposed to healthy relationship building in marriage. 😉
It's straight-forward and the videos are short.
Each video is under five minutes, and focuses on learning one technique. About six videos form a series, and there are three series altogether: The Basic Strokes, the Highlights, and Deep Tissue.
The videos build off each other, so you can absolutely work at whatever level is most comfortable for you at any given time.
There's no fluff here – everything is practical and designed to inspire intimacy.
The videos show you how to use your hands properly.
This one is big for me. No more getting sore hands or sore thumbs – and proper use of the hands make it even more pleasurable for the one receiving the massage.
It gives a new “form” to massage.
My husband and I have always done massages lying on the floor because the hard surface allows us to really get into each other's muscles. But Melt sets up an entirely different posture for massage, and given a few tweaks for each person's height and mobility abilities, it's a brilliant change-up built both for relaxation and – you got it – intimacy.
What I DON'T love about the Melt series:
There's not much I don't love about this series. Denis and his wife Emma have gone out of their way to make this a phenomenal experience.
However, there are two small things I wasn't crazy about:
Now, this one is actually a fault of MINE, not of the course, but in case you're like me, this might bug you too.
Denis and Emma have made it possible to watch the Melt videos pretty much anywhere, anytime. The videos play on any device, laptop, tablet / iPad, Smart TV… it's instant access, on demand video. You can even download them onto your phone so that you don't have to be anywhere near wifi to use them. (Sweet!)
However, my husband and I don't own mobile devices or tablets or anything like that, so our one option was the computer, and trying to get the computer set up in a place where we actually have room to move freely (in our case, the living room), can be a bit tiresome. For that reason, I wish there were DVDs or something, but then again, having that option would add serious cost to the program, so video streaming really is a great way to go.
2. The full price
Speaking of cost, when Denis originally floated this idea with me, I checked out the Melt website and noticed that the series costs $99, a price that is totally fair but out of our budget these days.
However, he's made a special deal available for Father's Day that knocks 20% of the price (!), which definitely makes it more considerable in our books. 🙂
(You can also pay in six monthly installments of $22 each, but there's no discount on that option and that adds up to a whole lot more than the sale price, so right now the sale price is definitely the way to go if you're looking for the most bang for your buck.)
So, I hope you'll at LEAST check this out. Maybe it's not for you right now, and that's totally okay, but you should definitely at least keep it in your cap for future reference. Learning good, safe massage and having 2-3 routines you can return to over and over will likely be one of the best gifts you ever give your marriage. (You can give them as wedding gifts too, by the way!)
This post was sponsored by Melt: Massage for Couples. The research and opinions are 100% mine.