Being an open book is a reference to not having secrets. Relationship experts agree it is best to be open and not hide things from your partner. Being secretive or hiding things is a quick way to have a relationship spiral out of control. When a partner does not open up or reveal everything, trust becomes an issue. How can anyone trust another person completely who keeps secrets? What are those secrets? What is he/she hiding? At that point the mind wonders and does far more damage to the relationship than the revelation of the secrets can ever do.
Hesitancy in Being an Open Book
I recently saw the movie Snitch with Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson and Susan Sarandon. In the movie Dwayne Johnson’s character reveals what he’s been secretly doing. He is immediately berated by his wife for not being an open book and having a secret. It wasn’t until he did become an open book that he and his family could work together towards a common good. In the movie he didn’t want her to worry about the risky actions he was taking. How many other movies or TV shows does a character hide something important from a partner? It’s pretty common. They come up with all kinds of excuses to justify it, but ultimately, the secrets have negative consequences on relationships.
Everyone has baggage. Everyone has self-doubt. Everyone thinks they have done things they think others will look down on them for having done. When in a relationship we want our partner to think highly of us. We don’t want to be used. We don’t want to be vulnerable. We may think if we are too open we’ll be taken advantage of. Some may even want a little mystery to surround them. We want our partner to respect and admire us.
The truth is since everyone has baggage, everyone is in the same boat. We are all flawed. We have all done things we are not proud of. Your partner is the same way. Your partner has made mistakes. Your partner has things they don’t want to tell you. Your partner is ashamed of some things they have done.
Unloading the Burden of Secrets
As every relationship matures trust is built. It takes time. It takes effort. Slowly every person starts to trust their partner as they spend more time with them and experience more things with them. As trust is built the walls start to come down. Natural defenses are lowered and each person starts to develop a natural comfort level with their partner.
In many ways, it’s like a dam spilling out water. As the comfort level increases between partners more water spills out revealing more of the true nature of each person. As the defenses are lowered secrets are revealed; more of our true self is revealed. As the book is opened it reveals more of our stories, our secrets, and our partner gains a better understanding of who we really are. It’s liberating! When our partner demonstrates the ability to hold on to our secrets, trust is built. As more trust is built the defenses are lowered even more.
It is only when enough trust is built and we reveal who we really are to our partner does the relationship truly flourish.
Advantages of Being an Open Book with Your Spouse
Relationship experts agree both partners need to be completely honest and open with one another. Dr. Phil wrote about that in one of his articles. Here are 3 major reasons why being an open book is best for relationships:
- Opening up increases honesty. As one shares secrets and trust is built, honesty between partners is naturally extended.
- Opening up is rewarded with reciprocity. It is a natural law. When one offers a kind gesture to another we are naturally inclined to reciprocate the kind gesture. Opening up is rewarded with opening up. It may not be immediate as trust and comfort levels are almost always different between partners, but it will come.
- Opening up fulfills the human need for connection. Love between spouses is increased as we share with the one another. Such sharing builds important connections that become a foundation for the relationship.
Being an open book starts with conversation. It doesn’t happen when playing video games. It doesn’t happen when watching TV. It doesn’t happen when we’re on FaceBook. It doesn’t happen when we are on our mobile phone texting friends. It happens when we are face to face or sitting next to one another taking time to talk with one another. When was the last time you had an honest conversation with your partner? How about finding your partner right now, take his/her hand and go for a walk. There’s a great time to talk.