I have a great marriage. My wife and I have been married 17 years and we’ve never been better. Want to know why?

Because we have an open marriage.

Before you click away in disgust or scroll to the bottom of this post to leave an enraged comment that completely misses the point, let me lay out a little bit of what I mean, because the chances are good that you and I are not thinking the same thing right now.

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 isn’t even close to a temptation.

But here’s why our marriage is so strong, why we aren’t tempted to do stupid crap with other people:

Because our marriage is open.

When I say “open,” 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 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.

We each know we’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to step on each others’ toes, we’re going to say something we don’t mean-but all that stuff gets small when you’re open with each other. Because when you live open, you perpetually live in grace, forgiveness, and love.

I know I could tell my wife anything – and she can do the same with me. What kind of freedom do you think that brings? What kind of trust does that build in our relationship?

An open marriage is a strong marriage.

And a marriage with secrets isn’t much of a marriage at all.