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  • Writer's pictureEvelyn Ball

Daily Ten - Home Therapy 4 Couples

Updated: Jan 5

This is not a "hack." Hacks can artificially reduce the complexity of an issue, potentially further suppressing vital feelings at the very root of interpersonal injuries.

So, if you're looking for a "hack," this post isn't it. Here's why: these 10 minutes a day absolutely have the ability to transform your marriage, and highlight the path to intimacy with your partner that has long been absent for months, years, even decades. 10 minutes can add hours of peace and hope per day, and consistent moments of connection. The 10 minutes will reduce correction, conflict, and relational constipation.

However, you have to be ready, at the point where both of you decide to meet with authenticity and honesty, where you will be raw and vulnerable...for those 10 minutes. Every. Single. Day.

If you have little to lose, and you are at a crossroads, ready to try real honesty with your partner, and perhaps they are also ready to be in this space with you, for 10 minutes a day, every day, then give this a go.

Warning #1: As I warned my husband when we began with this regiment, if you're going to "try" to do this everyday, it is not likely to work. You must "do" this every day, no half-attempts. Commit to every day for at least two weeks. Then commit for another 2 weeks. Better yet, commit for 30 days.

Warning #2: This exercise does not directly address the erotic needs of the relationship, which are critical. It only addresses the companionship needs, that is, directly. Because these two needs are critical and intertwined, you may absolutely notice the growing companionship intimacy strengthening and positively impacting your erotic/sexual/pleasure needs.

After 30 days, if you notice a great shift (you'll actually likely notice it after 7), then make it a life-long habit to keep the marriage companionship you have come to transform, and to stabilize your marriage for years to come.

My story is one of many years of conflict, corrections, disputes, and resentment. We both knew there was great potential in our togetherness, yet we were so irritated with each others' presence so much of the time, that we each secretly had little hope for joy or ulitmate success. I say secretly, but in many ways it was no secret, as we were not shy about expressing our discontent.

What changed? One day, I had an idea...what if we told each other the truth, really, but not just once...rather daily, truly, authentically, and freely. This could only be possible if we were uninterrupted, and if we both got a turn. Let's actually face what we've been sighing about, turning away in bed about, angry about, crying about, and suffering about.

Mind you, this was after more than a decade of feeling the tide of indecision go in and out, with thoughts of should I or shouldn't I stay in this I or am I not loved, respected, honored, deserving, worthy, etc. I'd been "done" before, and we had talks every 6 months or so about "what are we doing?" and "maybe we're just not able to make this work anymore." We had been to therapy, read communication books together, delved deeply into the many ways we'd been responsible for injuring each other, even had a summer of rekindled love and romance after a trip together.

But all of those attempts were about stolen moments of honesty. They were unpredictable and fleeting agreements to stop correcting each other, to grieve losses and unmet needs, and accept, value, and connect more. The thing is, we kept running into days at a time of breaking these agreements, and then resentment would quickly set in, again.

I am usually full of ideas, and this was no different in my marriage. Every attempt at finally getting to the bottom of our marriage issues was my idea, and here I was with a new one. But this 10 minutes a day felt different, mostly because it was about an EVERY DAY approach. In all our usual, previous attempts, I felt the gnawing hopelessness after a few days. This was going to be every day, and I was sure I could be honest with a timer and a promise that I would not be interrupted. So I asked. What did he think of my idea?

"We can TRY," he said. I let him know he would need to commit. 30 days and no TRY...DO. He said yes, and we were off. He set the timer and I went first. I closed my eyes, so I could speak from my heart and not be dettered by his expressions of hurt or resistance. I felt calm and liberated, in only 5 minutes.

I shared the truth, hard to say and likely hard to hear, but true. But I said it in a different way. I wasn't rushing for fear he'd interrupt, and I didn't react with anger from seeing his expression (I couldn't even see his expression). I was not emotionally activated. I made it clear separation was a real possibility, no drama, just reality. He got his turn, he expressed very similar feelings and acceptance of the real possibility of separation. When his time was up, he stopped. We honored the rules.

My thought was that if we went longer than 10 minutes we may drown in overwhelm, or feel pressured to share ALL. Ten minutes would allow us to stop and continue on our day, get to bed on time and unload a burden without burdening each other with too much weight off our shoulders. It was remarkably calming to do this. We went to bed, a little sad but peaceful. We cuddled in bed that night, instinctively and briefly.

We continued every day. Each day was different and we took turns with which one of us went first. We always set a timer and made sure to be firm with the rule of zero interruptions. In just the first week we felt tremendous progress, and most importantly, hope. By day 3 we were noticing a significant change. Yes, day three. We hadn't had the usual irritation, corrections, disconnection, or contention.

We began really looking at each other as we spoke, feeling the respect and honor and love. By day 5, I was desiring my husband again, a feeling that had been dormant in our marriage for over a year. We returned to some cuddling, laughing, showing affection, even sang together and danced one night in the first week, night number 5, I believe.

Incredibly, this was the most consistently joyful week we'd had as a couple in a year. The progress continued. Ten minutes do not fix anything, but they send a strong message that your marriage matters, you matter, and your partner matters. The minutes are a beginning, that open a door and allow you to walk through it together. Daily practices work when you work them. Now, enough about me.

Your turn. The Ten-Minute Troubled Couple Truth Recipe:

  1. Agree to commit to 10 minutes per day, anytime of day, online or on the phone if one of you is away. No excuses and No missed days. Remember Yoda's wise words: "Do or do not. There is no try."

  2. Set a timer for 5 minutes. One of you goes first. Closed or opened eyes, each of you has that choice, and that right. Whichever feels best at that moment, this can change on a moment's notice.

  3. Speak your true voice when it's your turn. It's your only chance for your internal authenticity to be revealed. It's powerful for you and for the relationship. Whether it solidifies the marriage or not, it will definitely strengthen the relationship, and that's the key to walk you off the edge of burnout, numbness, and indecision.

  4. When the timer goes off, finish that thought or sentence, only continuing for a max of 10-15 seconds to conclude.

  5. Switch. Listen with attention to your partner and your own sensory experience. Notice tightness, burning, tension, breathing changes, etc. Allow them to just be part of the experience without sharing them, as it is not your turn.

  6. When you are both done, leave it there. Move on to the usual routine and patterns of the day. This is all there is to it, nothing more needs to be done. The rest will take care of itself.

  7. Continue for 30 days. Let me know how it's going by commenting on this blog.

After 30 days, you'll know if it's for you. Keep it forever, if you want. It's yours.

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