Wednesday, March 04, 2009

openness and honesty

Lately I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be open and honest. It started in Christian Marriage class I guess. Snyder was talking about how it's a research statistic that people who are open/honest/vulnerable/transparent or who "self-disclose" more are correspondingly liked more by others. And it even works the other way around. After you "self-disclose" to someone, you end up liking the person that you self-disclosed to more! Maybe it's not that profound of a statistic, but it's kept me thinking about it even days later...

Snyder also had us write down which we thought was more important in a marriage--openness or honesty. In class, I was really confused because I was having a hard time defining the difference. But I liked what other people said. Clearly, honesty is more important because what good is a bunch of information about a person if it's not the truth? For example, let's say you're dating someone and you're talking and being really "open" and telling them all sorts of things, and he/she is telling you all sorts of things. Then you come to find out once you're married (heaven forbid!) that all this time he/she has been lying to you! Pfhhhh, openness!!! Honesty is clearly more important.

But! Then someone else spoke up and said he thought openness was more important. He said he sees openness as containing honesty within it. I think I'm jumping more onto his train of thought now. Honesty is fine and dandy, but if you don't tell your spouse (boyfriend/friend/any person) things (aka, being open), and just wait for them to ask you, it might never happen! You can easily detour around the question while still being technically honest! So, if honesty is assumed in openness, then clearly, openness is the most important of the two.

It even parallels in God's relationship to us. He has been completely open and honest to us through his word. He does not even hide what will happen to us and the world in the future. He tells us how the world began. What a gift of openness!

All this thinking about openness and honesty has caused me to recognize it more clearly in my relationships. And it's so true! I am naturally drawn to people who seem to be more open and honest with themselves and with others. When other people open up, it's easier for you to open up, and the result is just an all-together good feeling of having someone know and understand you!

Something else Dr. Snyder said was that the number one reason that people marry other people is because of genuineness. Hmm! It holds true with why I was attracted to Paul. So interesting!

I'm surprised how much I remember from this class. How surprising to have a class that actually teaches life skills and concepts!

Anyways, so my new goal for myself is to become a more open and honest person. Mainly open--since I don't think I have a lying problem. I think usually I'm pretty picky about who I open up to...which isn't necessarily a bad trait, I don't think. You've got to have some wisdom about who to trust. But, on the other hand, if no one opened up to anybody, nobody would know anybody! And that would be a very sad world.


Liz Chang said...

good stuff. :) I definitely agree... openness and honesty are super important in relationships! communication. communication. communication. !
Oh Dr. Snyder... good prof. :)

Anonymous said...

So good Marika. I think I have a problem with this sometimes. I mean, maybe not as much with you, but this challenges me to not exaggerate or fluff up what I communicate. What I say would have so much more meaning if I only said what's in my heart. I especially want to rid my vocabulary of cliche, empty phrases.

Rakel said...

I think I am honest...but not saying something sometimes can be dishonest. So then thats where openess comes into play. I have struggled with not being open for fear of what the other person will think. I do desire to have an open and honest relationship with someone someday...until then I think I need to work on openess too.