If your spouse is represented and you are not, this places you at a great disadvantage in pursuing your goals of the case. Generally, the proof regarding maintenance is difficult, and the court may employ certain methods, called "imputing income" to establish an amount that may appear to be beyond the person's means.
The judge has no role in proposals or counter proposals apart from a pretrial conference--which will delay a matter rather than expedite a matter--and should be done with an attorney rather than pro se for the reasons just stated.
To simply expedite a case for trial, then a motion could be filed--or the other side may even agree! However, it may just expedite the case to the benefit of the goals of the other party.
The Will County Bar Association may be a good place for a lawyer referral
The information provided here should not be construed to be formal legal advice. The provision of this general advice does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Persons with legal questions are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.
There probably is no reason here to expedite this case and courts rarely do so. You really need representation. Saving money on a lawyer could cost you years and years of paying maintenance.
If your case is set for trial, then it is highly unlikely you will get a sooner court date. The judges in Will County are booked solid. You are always free to make a counter-proposal. You do not gave to accept your wife's offer of settlement.
You need to go to Illinois legal aid online. That site will help with finding sa legal aid lawyer or a legal clinic in your area. When you meet with them give them the facts the other attorneys tell you are missing from this request.