Relationships can be complex and confusing. There are times you feel a soul connection, while at other times you don’t experience that level of intimacy, but deeply crave to be open with your partner. It may feel like the relationship is losing its spark and excitement and you just seem to coexist with each other. However, there are ways to light up that feeling of love and become more open with your partner.
Disclosure invites disclosure. There is no way to force someone to talk about him- or herself. We can only invite conversation by taking risks ourselves. Enjoying the transparency of another person is earned by building trust to the point where they know that their revelations will be treated with respect, and they trust that their disclosures will be met with reciprocity—a similar depth and breadth of the disclosure.
If you’ve lived long enough, life has given you aggravation, loss, betrayal, broken promises, exploitation, and suffering. And part of this probably came from relationships with people who meant something to us, who could not hear us, see us, respect us, or really love us because of their own limitations.
If we couldn’t see that the lack of fulfilling connection had a great deal to do with the other person, we may have decided that it was our feelings and the way that we expressed them that was the problem.
The only way to correct this perception is to begin practicing the art of revealing ourselves to those with who we are closest. If we create a contract with our partner or other intimate that states that this is our growing edge and we are making an alliance to become adept at intimately relating, they may be willing to enter into the joint project as well. This creates an ideal agreement where both partners pay attention to their inner life—what’s working and what’s not working.
6 Steps To Becoming More Open with Your Partner
1. We will create a contract to become lab partners, to practice straight talk, and become adept at intimately relating.
2. We both commit to paying attention to our inner life—what’s irritating, aggravating, causing resentment, sadness, guilt, fear, joy, and happiness—so that we can express our feelings and needs.
3. Recognizing that sunlight is the best disinfectant, we will encourage open communication by welcoming even painful truths.
4. We would rather hear a difficult truth rather than have withholding because we want to enjoy the maximum amount of trust available.
5. There are no topics considered “no-fly zones.” Every subject is open to exploration.
6. We are establishing a contract driven by an intention to heal, learn, and grow, so any truths spoken must be delivered with diplomacy, finesse, and caring. If harmlessness is the highest commitment, the kind and tactful way to deliver a message will become apparent.
Encouraging straight talk propels a relationship down the path of success. To explicitly invite honest communication encourages openness. The choice is to make a declaration that we would rather hear a difficult truth than have it fester below the surface causing damage. If we are willing, to tell the truth about what isn’t working for us in our relationship, the revelation will open up a new world of possibility.
Honesty is what allows us to address our real issues so that we can meet them head-on, interrupt old patterns, and experiment with new ones.
We have a vested interest in our partner’s success: If their needs are not met, their unhappiness will impact us. When we hold this truth in sharp focus, we want to do everything in our power to encourage their openness with us about any dissatisfaction they have.