MC 036: 30 Days – Part 2

MC 031: What’s in your Playbook?

Summary: In this episode of the Marriage Code podcast, Benji and Phillip continue the conversation of “What if you had only 30-days to save your marriage?” and finish explaining their 30-day plans.

In this episode:

Benji’s 30-Day Plan

Week 1: re-Discovery

  • Day 1: Get a notebook and a yellow pad (yellow notepad that tears off across the top)
  • Day 2-3: Get my head straight
    1. I will think about (to the best of my memory) and write down in the notebook the following:
      • When I met my wife and what she looked like and why I wanted to date her
      • Our first date and my impressions
      • Our first kiss
      • What we discussed imaging our future together would look like
      • Why I chose her to be my wife
    2. Write my Vision. In my notebook, I will write what I want our marriage to be. I will close my eyes and see a video in my head of what Christmas morning 20 years from now will look like. Then I will write my Vision ( a page or more in length) and I will include details such as:
      • What house are we living in?
      • How many children do we have and what ages?
      • What will we be doing?
      • What is our financial standing? How much money do we have in the bank? Is our house paid off? Are we out of debt?
      • Are our older children dating or married? Grandchildren?
      • How we act toward each other? How long are our kisses? How often do I hold her hand? Are we respectful to each other? Are there any arguments?
      • What kinds of things to I do for my wife to show her how much I love her?
      • What tender things does she do for me?
    3. Write my Marriage Declaration. I will write a few sentences that can be memorized and recited that will be meaningful to me and energizing. Such as: “I am a happily married man because I choose to be the kind of man my wife has always dreamed of. I am a man of vision who has the power to change. I trust myself to be a man of patience and it is safe for me to accept responsibility. I can do hard things!”
  • Day 4-5: Get my heart straight
    1. Unload all my frustrations about my wife onto paper (using the yellow pad) – feeling each frustration as I do so – then I burn that piece of paper. Repeat as necessary.
    2. Take a walk by myself, speaking (vocalizing) all my frustrations about my wife all along the way, then walk back while verbalizing everything about my wife that I am grateful for.
    3. Forgive myself for the part I played in our relationship strife and give myself permission to move forward
    4. Forgive my wife for all the hurt she has done to me
  • Day 6: Prepare for a ½ Relationship Inventory and rest
    1. I read my written Vision 2-3 times
    2. I recite my declarations (audibly where possible) 10 times
    3. I go to bed early and get some extra sleep
  • Day 7: ½ Relationship Inventory
    1. I tell my wife that I was wrong, that I’m sorry, and ask her if we may speak privately so I can get her input on what I must change.
    2. I again apologize (either for specifics I know about, or for not paying attention enough to know) then I begin a ½ Relationship Inventory
      • I ask her what things I am doing that she would rather I don’t, or anything I am not doing currently that she would rather I start doing
      • I write down everything she says and I use Active Listening to verify to both of us that I understand what she is saying
      • I create a plan to work on those items she listed by asking follow-up questions to narrow down to the root of the issue.
        • Example: “You’re never here.”
        • Okay, would it be more helpful if I re-arranged my work schedule to be home sooner?
        • “No, because even when you’re here, you’re not here!”
        • Okay so if I understand you right, when I’m home I’m not engaged in what’s going on. Would it be more helpful if I cook the dinner?
        • “No what I really need for you to do is to take care of the kids so that I have time to prepare the dinner.”
        • Okay, would it be helpful if, when I get home from work, I immediately play with the kids and keep them occupied until dinner time?
  1. Once the plan is agreed to, I verbally commit to her that I will engage in these changes over the next few weeks and that I will meet with her at the end of each week for her feedback. (These are just the pain-points of the marriage, rekindling the fun in the marriage will also need attention)

Week 2: Focus on her language of apology

  • Day 8-13: Work on the plan and focus on having a good behavior
    1. Read my Vision and say my declaration each morning
    2. Start work on improving the issues that are the pain points. (If she asks me to give up something I love, I will put that on hold and address it after the marriage is saved – I will not complain about the color of the life preserver while I am drowning)
    3. I will try to sooth the emotional hurt I may have caused by speaking in her language of apology. (I happen to know one of my wife’s apology languages is Expressing Regret, and not so much Requesting Forgiveness – so I will focus on how my actions/inactions have made me feel regret instead of saying “please forgive me?”
    4. I will ready my Vision and say my declarations before I go to bed each night
  • Day 14: ½ Relationship Inventory – return and report
    1. I will ask my wife for feedback by asking, “Is there anything I am doing well that you want me to keep doing or do more of?” and “Is there anything I am doing that you would like me to do less of or stop doing?”
    2. Re-adjust the plan based on her feedback

Week 3: Focus on her love language

  • Day 15-20: Work the revised plan and focus on little acts of kindness and love
    1. I will ready my Vision and say my declarations each morning
    2. Continue working on improving the pain points in the marriage
    3. I will include acts of love and kindness that resonate with her primary love languages. (I happen to know that my wife loves Words of Affirmation and Service, so I will write her poems on paper and leaving them for her – something I did when we were dating – and I will be seeking out opportunities to serve her (dishes, laundry, cooking, playing with the children, foot/neck massage, etc.)
    4. I will read my Vision and say my declarations every night before bed
  • Day 21: ½ Relationship Inventory – return and report
    1. I will ask my wife for feedback by asking, “Is there anything I am doing well that you want me to keep doing or do more of?” and “Is there anything I am doing that you would like me to do less of or stop doing?”
    2. Re-adjust the plan based on her feedback

Week 4: re-Kindling the romance

  • Day 22-27: Work the re-revised plan and focus on physical touch
    1. I will read my Vision and say my declaration every morning
    2. I will continue working on improving the pain-point areas in my marriage
    3. I happen to know that my wife does not like physical touch when she is upset, so, by now she should be receptive to physical touch, such as holding hands, hugging her, small kisses, snuggling with her on the couch, swaying/dancing, etc. I will seek out all opportunities to re-engage physical touch while still serving her. I will do and say things that will bring back memories of when we were dating. I will also seek out an opportunity to sing to her – she doesn’t care what I sound like, she loves that I am singing to her.
    4. I will read my Vision and say my declarations every night before bed
  • Day 28: ½ Relationship Inventory – return and report
    1. I will ask my wife for feedback by asking, “Is there anything I am doing well that you want me to keep doing or do more of?” and “Is there anything I am doing that you would like me to do less of or stop doing?”
    2. Re-adjust the plan based on her feedback
  • Day 29: Plan a Date with my wife
    1. Schedule babysitter
    2. Request my wife has that time booked
    3. Write her a special poem (she likes those)
    4. Revise and upgrade my Vision if needed
  • Day 30: Go on the planned date with my wife
    1. Give her flowers
    2. Bring her to the park bench where I proposed to her
    3. Give her the poem
    4. Propose to her again – and ask if she will give this marriage another try

 

 

Phillip’s 30-Day Plan

Clear (Mind)
Purify (Heart)
Clarify (Listen/Learn)
Act
  • Day 1-2
Clear my head: Take time to reflect on our marriage and determine for myself
WHY I want to save it. Consider what I want my marriage to look like going forward and
record it in a meaningful way. Use recording of this new vision to revisit throughout the
month to stay motivated and focused. Make this vision as detailed as possible.
  • Day 3-5
Purify my heart: Begin the process of clearing and processing my emotions.
Work through feelings of regret, frustration, anger, loss and find a way to put them in a
place where I can approach my wife, with the intent to listen and understand her, without
being triggered into an emotional response that shuts down her openness and
vulnerability.
Make a place in my heart for forgiveness for anything I perceive to have been hurtful to
me. The goal of this step is to rebuild a bridge of communication with her by starting with
a foundation of emotional stability so I can give her a platform to be open and honest
with her frustrations towards me and our marriage.
  • Day 6
Clarify with My wife where we are and why. I refer to this a “Relationship
Inventory”. A relationship inventory is a chance for both halves of a couple to speak to
the good and bad parts of their relationship so they can set goals and create plans to
strengthen it. In this case it would likely be a one sided relationship inventory.
-Begin the the conversation with expressing a sincere apology for the marriage being
where it is and acknowledging my part in it getting here. This does not need to be
specific yet, but a broad acknowledgement that it is not all her fault and that I want to
understand what I can do to help her feel understood.
-Practice active listening. Listen for understanding, not to rebuttal or reply but only to
clarify. Ask detailed follow up questions, not to criticize her view but to make sure I
understand as best I can where she is coming from. Use language like “I didn’t realize
that was having that effect on you” and “that must have really hurt” or “I hadn’t considered
it that way before now”.
– Repeat back to her in my own words what she has been expressing to me to
demonstrate that I understand as much as possible from my perspective what has led
her to consider ending our marriage. Be open to her corrections and allow her to
interrupt me if i’m articulating her point of view incorrectly. Continue this until she is
satisfied that I have a general understanding.
-Offer more specific sincere apologies for individual grievances articulated in our
inventory. Offer Solutions with her input and express to her that my intent is to
understand her and address these issues with the care and attention that she deserves.
  • Day 7
Make a plan to implement meaningful change based on our relationship inventory.
  • Days 8-14
Dani finds me most attractive and feels the most love for me when I am
spending quality time with our kids. Week two would implement changes based on our
inventory as well as refocus on connecting with our kids to reach that part of her heart. I
would get up each morning with the kids and do breakfast and let her sleep in.
-Conduct video recorded kid interviews with our kids asking questions that bring out
sincere and entertaining responses. Watch these back each night as a family.
-Make dinner each night during this asking Her what meals she would like and make her
plate for her. Put dinner away each night and clean the dishes.
-Find a wholesome activity to do each day as a family. Visit a park, do an art or craft or
go hiking or visiting a museum.
  • Day 15-21
Focus on the romantic part of our relationship.
-Ask to Dance with her each night in our living room after kids are in bed. (we met at a
dance)
-Play/Sing a song for her each day on the guitar. (songs I wrote her her when we were
courting/dating.) Write a new song for her to play at the end of the week.
-Cook dinner WITH her this week and make her plate each night.
-Plan her getaway, asking her what she wants to do. (Girls night out, makeover, lunch
with her friends, a day trip to the temple and then home to relax while I take the kids.
  • Day 22-28
Take her to the photo booth in the mall. (We used to do this when we were
teenagers dating, add the photo strip to our collection and talk about the ones from when
we were teenagers)
-Giver her a non-reciprocated full body massage. (Insist that there will be no extra
curricular activities unless she genuinely would like to but that the intent is to serve her
needs and show my love.
-Start a romantic date using a surprise scavenger hunt (on a day when I know she
doesn’t have plans and I have pre-arranged babysitter set up. Scavenger hunt would
lead her through getting a dress, getting her hair done and clues would lead her to me at
her favorite restaurant. After dinner we would go to a place where I setup lights in the trees
and a speaker to play music. We would dance and then I would get on one knee and re-propose
for a renewed marriage. (This is how I proposed to her 9 yrs ago)

Benjamin Boekweg

Benjamin is an author, presenter, and co-host of the Marriage Code podcast.

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