The workday has ended, and you settle in for a night of binge-watching your favorite sitcom. As you laugh along with the characters, you predict what choices may make or break their new relationships.
It can be crystal-clear to the audience when couples in a romantic comedy are making a mistake — but things are rarely that obvious in real life.
Every relationship — even fictional classics like Romeo and Juliet — experiences bumps in the road. In the United States, a lack of commitment, infidelity and frequent arguing are major causes of divorce.
If you think about it, transparency will solve many of these problems. Now, this doesn’t mean you physically disappear like a ghost! Transparency is the act of exposing your honest thoughts, fears and goals. In a relationship, it demonstrates a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual vulnerability with your significant other (SO).
Transparency builds trust by removing secrets and generating candid discussions. Trust is one of the essential characteristics of a romantic relationship. It also makes you more open and receptive to your emotions and the feelings of others.
You might have put a lot of thought into your personal and professional goals, but how often do you consider relationship goals?
Here are seven ways to bring transparency into your relationships.
1. Practice Self-Reflection
Before you can be transparent in your relationships, you must be honest with yourself. Practice self-reflection to become in tune with your emotions. Journaling and meditation are two proven tools for calming your mind and recognizing patterns.
Quiet contemplation will help you focus on your goals and provide you time to discover the root of your feelings.
2. Establish Communication Channels
Communication is the first step toward a healthy relationship. Begin by opening a few modes of communication. Adjusting to radical transparency can be a challenge.
Relax! There’s no need to begin writing mushy poetry or serenading your partner with love ballads.
Start simple by initiating a discussion in person or writing a heartfelt letter. If you would like more suggestions on what topics to discuss, research conversation starters for couples. There are even games devoted entirely to asking thought-provoking questions. The crucial thing is to provide you and your loved one an opening for discussion.
3. Prioritize Time With Your Partner
How can you expect to share with your SO if you hardly have any time together? By making yourself available every day, they’ll have a chance to discuss their thoughts and experiences with you. Likewise, prioritize speaking with them before anyone else.
If something noteworthy happens, seek them out so they hear it straight from your lips, rather than secondhand. If you catch yourself forgetting to prioritize time, write it into your schedule as if it were an official meeting. It will be much more difficult to ignore if it’s on your calendar!
Daily chats will help normalize transparency and prevent miscommunication. You’ll discover a more profound appreciation for your partner, and your relationship will get stronger. Best of all, there will be fewer secrets between you.
4. Stay Open-Minded
Two heads are better than one. If you stay open-minded, you’ll be more receptive to new ideas and opportunities. It’s easy to make assumptions about your partner, but how can you know what they’re thinking?
You might not always share the same perspective, but the secret is to listen without judgment. With transparency, you will learn to appreciate the areas where you differ and value each other’s opinions.
5. Let Your Guard Down
Water flows through open springs, but becomes dammed by walls of debris. Much like streams, healthy relationships can become blocked by emotional barriers. To achieve ultimate transparency and meaningful connections, you must be willing to let your guard down.
Showing vulnerability builds trust and generates sincerity. Take it day by day, and take time to recognize why you built these walls in the first place. Was it to keep someone out or something in?
Often, your past continues to dictate your future, causing you to unknowingly self-sabotage. Reach out and share a secret or show vulnerability even when you’re scared. Before you know it, you’ll begin to connect on a much deeper level, and your walls will be coming down.
6. Demonstrate Freedom of Information
Trust builds over time, but can erode in an instant. Healthy, transparent relationships include the freedom to access one another’s information. Secret social media accounts and conversations can quickly cause mistrust to form.
If you’re married to your romantic partner, make your phones, accounts and password information accessible. If your partner refuses to let you access their devices, it could be a red flag. After all, why conceal information if you have nothing to hide? Avoid the added stress and anxiety by giving your SO access whenever they show an interest.
It’s equally essential to be transparent on your social media account about your relationship status. If you disclose that you are in a committed relationship, you’ll have fewer awkward conversations.
7. Respond With Honesty and Positivity
Honesty and openness are two tremendous accomplishments for any relationship. Celebrate them with positivity and respect. Thank your partner, even if you hear something painful. They’ve taken a step toward a healthier relationship, and you should, too.
If you focus on delivering your response in a kind, but honest, way, your communication will grow.
Life’s a Marathon
In a sprint, you expend all your energy in a short burst, but a marathon requires long-term focus and dedication. Just like a marathon, building healthy relationships takes time, and you might experience setbacks. As Miley Cyrus said, “There’s always gonna be another mountain.” The key is to make the most of the climb!