Being vulnerable with your partner, spouse or significant other is one of the keys to forging a deeper connection. For many, opening up to anyone can be scary, but it doesn't have to be thanks to, Nina Westbrook, a licensed marriage and family therapist. As the wife of 9-time NBA all-star Russell Westbrook, and the mother of three adorable children, Nina understands the importance of communication in all relationships.

She recently released a card game, Do Tell!, which was created to inspire personal growth and meaningful connection. Players—no matter their relationship to each other—are asked questions about themselves and their feelings, many of which spark vulnerability and a time to be honest.

"Do Tell! was inspired by a game I played with my husband back in college," Westbrook shares. "It was a way for us to connect, bringing out that communication and vulnerability as someone who was not accustomed to sharing his feelings, thoughts, and emotions. It really worked and helped us to grow as a couple. I've now played this in all types of group settings, and people love it. They love to get vulnerable and share meaningful conversation. Something we don't get to do very often."

According to the marriage and family expert, it's scientifically proven that we as humans do better with connection—especially in today's social media-driven society. With factors like the pandemic and other social issues globally, we've all gotten away from connecting with others and having deep conversation. Westbrook has always been the go-to person for family and friends to seek advice from or even vent to. It is her hope that the game will allow others to do the same, without things feeling too heavy.

"It's just a natural human thing to crave connection. I want to make sure people are having an enjoyable experience but on the other end, come away saying, 'wow! I learned this about myself today or my friend, family member or partner."

EBONY asked Westbrook to share a few questions she feels every couple—of any stage—should ask one another, to strengthen their bond and relationship.

Do Tell! Creator Nina Westbrook holds game cards. Image: courtesy of Nina Westbrook.

What is your biggest red flag in a relationship?

This one is especially for couples in the early stages of their relationship, or even folks who are still in the 'getting to know you' phase of dating.

"Opening up that dialogue helps to create boundaries and set expectations for relationships. It's an important question we should all know before jumping into something. A lot of times we go awry when that open communication is not there. So this is a question that I love."

Where are you when you feel most at peace?

This is a question that can apply to any type of relationship, not just romantic. It is also important to remember that even if the answer isn't one you didn't expect, you want to keep an open mind and heart towards the person opening up about their feelings and truth.

"I once heard former First Lady Michelle Obama say that she felt most at home, when she was with her husband," Nina Westbrook says. "I loved that, and it resonated with me. I've lived in so many cities, climates and cultures, and I too, feel most at home with my husband. No matter where we are."

Who is the first person you call when you have good or bad news to share?

Although Westbrook automatically turns to Russell in this instance, she emphasizes that it won't necessarily be the case for all other couples, nor should you place that pressure on your partner. At the end of the day, open communication is a positive thing. Just be ready to grow socially and emotionally.

"This could get a little tricky, depending on how safe and vulnerable you feel you are allowed to be in your relationship. It can be an indicator or learning tool for someone to say, 'okay, I need to be more receptive and open to hearing good and bad news from my partner if they aren't mentioning me.' But, also, it can help you see that your person feels safe coming to you about news they receive."