When I picked up “Open” and read a few chapters, I quickly got that familiar feeling: this book is going to make me mad. I don’t say that because of the way Craig writes or the statements he makes, I say that because I knew this book was going to challenge me into uncomfortable action. There are books you read for fun and some you read for knowledge. Then there are books you read because you need change – this is one of those books.
Craig Gross pushes the envelope – hard. He and his team have devoted their lives to fighting sexual brokenness in the world through their ministry XXXChurch.com, specifically that surrounding the porn industry. They shine the light of the Gospel in places most Christians wouldn’t dream of going, and I admire them for it.
To be truthful, Craig is one of my personal heroes. When I heard I’d get to ask him a few questions, I got a little giddy… ok, a lot giddy. His work changed my life – something I can’t say about many people.
The single biggest theme of Fierce Marriage is complete and utter transparency with your spouse – in other words, total openness. Craig tackles that exact topic in his new book, aptly titled “Open” which is available as of today! So I asked him a few questions on being “Open” in marriage:
Question/Answer with Craig:
What effect does being “Open” have on marriages in your experience? Do you have any stories you can share?
Craig: My wife and I have been married almost 15 years and we’ve never been better – because we have an open marriage. Hear me out!
When I say I have an “open marriage,” I’m not talking about infidelity or “swinging” or any of that nonsense. My wife and I are completely faithful to one another. We care about each other and are each other’s best friends—sleeping around doesn’t even seem like an option for temptation.
I’m talking about accountability. My wife holds me accountable and I do the same for her. We don’t keep secrets from each other. We don’t hold back information just for ourselves.
I know her passwords; she knows mine.
If my wife needs to borrow my phone or computer, I don’t get worried about what she might discover—I don’t panic about things that I might have on those devices that I don’t want her to see.
Because we’re open.
Being open with each other—holding each other accountable—in every part of our lives has brought us closer together than we ever could have imagined. It makes us stronger, it makes us more able to deal with all the crap that life will inevitably throw at us.
What is the one thing you’ve found that husbands tend to hide most? What first steps can they take toward total openness?
Craig: Men seem to hide things revolving online activity and money. Women seem to hide facebook and shopping. That is very general and that is just from my experience. First step is to just be aware of this and give each other access to things that you normally would hide.
What do wives have the hardest time being open about?
Craig: Women and Men have trouble showing weakness and in a world where we show off our best photos on instagram and need to update our status on FB to make it seem like we have it all together I think it is hard to just stop and say no I am in need of help or I need someone to listen. I think we think people are to busy and won’t relate or respond but in the end I would say try it face to face with someone and see what happens.
Finally, if a marriage seems damaged beyond repair, what hope can you give spouses who feel like giving up?
Craig: Trust is so hard to rebuild if it has been broken. Marriage is work and I don’t think anything is beyond repair but both of you need to be on the same page and want to put in the work. Most of the times I see someone fighting for the marriage but the other person has given up. Counseling is a great option, Community is a great option. Don’t try and do it all by yourself.
Question: What measures have you and your spouse taken to be “Open” in your marriage?