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Marriage: The Ten-Minute Exercise Menu




Excerpted from
The Ten-Minute Marriage Principle: Quick, Daily Steps for Refreshing Your Relationship
By Douglas Weiss, Ph.D.

So that you, too, can enjoy the results of the Ten-Minute Marriage Principle, I have put together a menu of exercises. Each exercise is designed to stimulate your marriage. Each exercise is unique, so you can pick and choose what makes sense for you to do at this time in your relationship.

In my work with couples for many years, I've found that most like the freedom to choose. Usually there is one internally motivated spouse who doesn't want to be told what to do-that person is better motivated by him- or herself than by others. I have also found that some couples have one or more relationship skills already developed. They can pick from a menu to strengthen another skill. And finally, there is the creativity factor. Some couples just like to try different things and be more spontaneous.

So, as you read through these pages, I want you to feel free to underline or put little smiley faces $$ next to the exercises you are willing to try. In the next chapter you will be asked to commit to doing three exercises each day in order to practice the Ten-Minute Marriage Principle.

Remember, both of you have to exercise to build your marital core muscles. So be prepared to make a commitment to do some work. You can start your selection of exercises right away, which will make the rest of the book more fun for you. If you start today, by the time you finish the book you will already see positive changes occurring in your marriage!

The Menu

Exercise #1: Prayer

It may surprise you, but I've found that couples who are people of faith often do not pray together. Many go to church or spiritual services or events together, but at home, one-on-one, other than thanking God at meals, they don't pray together. Just yesterday a pastor and his wife were in my office. They have been active in ministry for more than twenty-five years. When I asked them about praying with each other, they sheepishly admitted that they very rarely do so.

I really believe in prayer. In my twenty-five-plus years of faith I have seen so many miracles that I have to conclude that prayer works. I think there is some truth to the saying, "A couple who prays together stays together."

The prayer I'm talking about is an out-loud conversation with God. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He said what we call the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.

I am not suggesting you recite the Lord's Prayer together. I am suggesting that you open your heart and mouth and just talk to God in the presence of your spouse. Some couples kneel, others walk around one another or hold hands. In whatever way you decide to do this, prayer is a great daily exercise. If you have not been connecting spiritually, I would definitely recommend this exercise to do daily as part of practicing the Ten-Minute Marriage Principle.

Prayer not only helps you to connect spiritually, but it can energize your marriage when God speaks back to both of you. It also helps you stay grateful to God for loaning His child to you in marriage. I personally like to thank God for Lisa in Lisa's presence. I think it keeps me in a more positive frame of mind for just how precious Lisa is, not just to me but to God as well.

Exercise #2: Flooding

This is a very powerful exercise. You should try this once first before committing to doing it regularly. This exercise is only one minute long. You can set your kitchen or egg timer for a minute to let you know when the exercise is complete.

First, sit across from each other with knees close together. Second, maintain eye contact. Third, one person, say, "I love you" to the other person. Let's say Harry starts by saying, "I love you" to Sally. Then Sally has to let those words into her heart, not her head. This is critical. When she feels she has absorbed these words, she says, "Thank you." This way she verbally acknowledges this love deposit from Harry.

Then Sally says, "I love you" to Harry. After Harry lets the "I love you" sink into his heart, he says, "Thank you." Then he tells Sally again, "I love you," she says, "Thank you," then tells Harry, "I love you," then he says, "Thank you."

When doing this exercise, stick with just the words "I love you." Don't add to this or make it sexual in any way. The idea behind this exercise is that many of us know that our spouses love us. We say it all the time: "Love ya, babe," or "See ya, love ya." This is a great habit, but it's really good to soak in the love of your spouse.

There is a big difference between knowing someone loves you and experiencing that somebody loves you. As you do this exercise, you are really experiencing the love your husband or wife has for you. Your spouse is depositing his or her love intentionally in your heart, and you are intentionally letting that love into your heart.



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