5 Ways to Get More “Us Time”
Emma Merkas is the co-founder of Melt: Massage for Couples along with her husband Denis, a massage therapist who’s taught more than 15,000 couples over the past 15 years the art of a great back rub:

“US TIME” often falls by the wayside in long term relationships. It’s very easy to let all our other responsibilities creep in. We push our marriages further and further down our To Do list and before we know it, we are feeling disconnected from the very person who matters most to us.

Denis and I have been together for ten-plus years now, and we constantly remind ourselves that longevity doesn’t guarantee happiness or closeness. Cultivating intimacy is crucial to a marriage at any stage — and the longer we are together, the harder it is to nurture that connection without some careful planning.

It’s not at all romantic, but the truth is that as your relationship goes on, you need to work that much more at it, to ensure you can be at your happiest in your marriage. The best way to do this is create a framework for how and when you spend time together. Give yourself and your partner the opportunity to be together, with no other distractions or people, on a consistent basis. (Even if you’re having a terrible week, you’ll know you will have time to touch base with your partner no matter what, which creates a sense of support and automatic connection.) Remember, if you don’t take the time, you’ll never have the time.

So here are 5 easy ways to get some more “us” time in your own relationship:

1. Develop rituals

Many of our couple friends tell us they love simple things like walking the dog, going to the farmer’s market, or giggling and chatting in bed together at the end of a hard day. These small rituals are easy to do (and replicate), have very little barrier to entry, and create the kind of consistent traditions that boost happiness.

Den and I love to take walks through our neighborhood. We grab a takeaway coffee and go exploring while we catch up on what’s happening in each other’s lives. It’s a nice way to give ourselves some relaxed space to chat, and we always feel great when we get back from a long walk.

Find a ritual you both enjoy that can become a habit for the two of you. If you already have one, perhaps a second and a third one will work for you too?

2. Learn a new skill

Is there something you’ve both always wanted to do? Learn French, perhaps? Take up art class? Become a master of Asian cuisine? Sign yourselves up to learn this new skill together and suddenly you have ready-made date nights every week! You’ll both enjoy the learning and have something new to talk about and inspire you as well.

3. Get physical

I was surprised by the amount of couples recently who told us they love to do physical activities together and I think it’s such a brilliant idea. You keep yourself happy and your marriage happy at the same time – what great multi-tasking! Exercise releases endorphins and gives you a great sense of wellbeing. Whether it’s hiking, biking, swimming, tennis or kayaking, find something that you can enjoy together and do it at least once a week.

4. Be spiritual

Your spiritual connection is one of the most enriching parts of your life, and it’s a beautiful thing to be able to share it with your partner. This might mean praying,meditating or reading teachings. Whichever way you express your spirituality, doing it together creates a powerful space for you to grow your connection.

5. Have stay-home date nights

Time and money are always two of the biggest reasons couples cite for not spending more time together. Having young children can also make it hard (and expensive!) to go out. This is why we love at-home date nights where you consciously make some “us” time but you don’t ever have to leave your living room!

Some rules for at-home date nights: no phones, no computers, no interruptions. Unless you’re planning on an intense session of RPG games from Wizards of the Coast like Magic: The Gathering and want to use your devices for that! Even then, if you can stick to the tabletop version that doesn’t involve any electronics, it’s more old-school and could have you bonding better. Try for when the kids are asleep – or if they’re a bit older, you can let them know it’s date night and they’ll most likely keep away anyhow! Try to do something new and novel each time.

A challenge…

Right now, turn to your partner or text them or email them or call them and ask them if you can take them on a date night… without ever leaving the house!

What to do, you ask? Well, if you already have any of our couples massage tutorials, then make it a gorgeous massage night for two, complete with candles, music and perhaps even a picnic on the living room floor!

Denis & Emma’s Melt Video Series shows couples how to give each other the best massages, with style, sophistication and — most importantly — love.

Want some quick tips?
Denis’s Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Sensual Massage

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