Sometimes, I geek out on strange things. On a recent trip, we encountered some storms that the pilot brilliantly navigated. Out of curiosity, I opened the flight tracker on the airline app to see how far we deviated from the original flight plan. What popped up after refreshing caused me to laugh out loud.
How does a pilot do doughnuts?
In marriage relationships, we often do doughnuts.
They might be the perfect way to navigate a short season. Maybe you’re experiencing some medical issues—like when all your children get chicken pox within a couple of weeks of each other. Life enters a holding pattern (doughnuts) so you can help your sick and uncomfortable children fight through the illness. It’s temporary. Eventually, life moves forward again,
How do relational doughnuts become unhealthy?
1. Conflict stalemate.
You and your spouse know you disagree on a particular issue. Yet, you shut down rather than push into the problem and deal with any shame and possibly some fears related to that conflict. Finding a resolution seems too complicated and uncomfortable, so you and your spouse circle each other, skirting the potential storm while draining your emotional and relational gas.
Sometimes, you hurt the person you love the most. Deeply. You use your words as swords or daggers, causing deep pain to your spouse. You vented your frustration and anger, leaving your spouse bloodied. Instead of recognizing your viciousness, you tell them to get over it. After all, you feel great having gotten everything off your chest. So why does your spouse still seem upset? He was wrong. You told him. Let’s move on.
This unhealthy doughnut swirls between you. To pull out of this unhealthy doughnut pattern, please seek forgiveness. Own your stuff. Take responsibility for your role in the latest wound. Learn how your words caused more damage. Change your behavior. Take the first step toward resolving this issue between you. Look for the win-win. When both spouses do this, you toss that unhealthy doughnut in the trash where it belongs.
What do you hope and pray your spouse never discovers? That secret creates a relational doughnut in your marriage. You continue to dodge and circle the secret, building protective measures that ultimately fail you.
God tells us that the hidden things will eventually be brought to light. Satan encourages us to keep that deep, dark secret buried, protected from the light, convincing us that we will face the ultimate rejection if it ever gets exposed. This is the trap so common to addictions. Eventually, that doughnut grows so large that it smothers you and your marriage. You may sense the impending disaster but fear smashing the doughnut.
Relational doughnuts can become unhealthy if we aren’t careful.
Take a look at your marriage relationship today. Are you in a relational doughnut, or would you use a different symbol?
When I coach women, we talk about the relational triangle, a symbol of a healthy marriage relationship.
Why a triangle? We continually grow and mature when we partner with God in our marriage by looking to him and his truths as our foundation. In that maturing, we become more like Christ. Look at the triangle picture above. What happens when the husband and wife move closer to God? Put an “X” on the triangle to see what happens.
I love this visual picture of building a healthy marriage relationship. With God as the head of our marriage, we have greater hope and strength to succeed. When relational doughnuts appear in your marriage, they break the link between you and your husband. If all you do is try to fix the other person, you often continue in the same destructive pattern. Yet, when each party reaches toward God, the relationship moves closer to the other.
Are you in a relational doughnut from discovering his porn addiction?
I’ve been there. The stormy skies and billowy thunderheads threaten to engulf you. Reach out for help. You can survive this storm, build a healthy relational triangle, and toss the relational doughnut. Together, we’ll find a way to reconnect with God, your tower of strength.