Today’s guest post is by Caleb Breakey, former journalist and author of Called to Stay: An Uncompromising Mission to Save Your Church. Breakey’s latest book, Dating like Airplanes: Why Just Fall in Love When You Can Fly?, offers a biblical roadmap for Christians dating in the modern world, and poses the question: why just fall in love when you can fly? Perfect for pastors, counselors, and anyone in the dating world, get Dating like Airplanes for just $7.79!
1. For many, dating is considered a lifestyle. How can we redefine dating so that it reflects biblical principles without being legalistic?
We get back to the why.
Why does God give us relationship guidelines? To be cruel? Or to protect us and bless us? Then we stop making “Christian dating” about what not to do and start making it about what we do.
We sit in circles and discuss the kind of Jesus love that gets to know the other in a way that’s so far beyond physical attraction (Proverbs 19:2). The kind that goes above and beyond in showing honor (Romans 12:10). The kind that radiates patience, kindness, and truthfulness to the other, always doing what lifts up (1 Corinthians 13:4–7). The kind that clothes itself in humility and makes itself a servant to helping the other progress in character (1 Peter 5:5).
The kind that builds respect by treating the other as though he or she were a brother or sister—and the very temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16–17). The kind that speaks to the other with integrity and dignity (Titus 2:7–8) and refuses to lust with its eyes (Matthew 5:27–30). The kind that does everything it possibly can to keep the other sexually pure and emotionally whole, even if it means seeking help outside of the relationship (1 Corinthians 6:18; Proverbs 4:23; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 27:12). The kind that cries out for God to search itself for mixed motives and manipulative ways (Psalm 139:23–24). The kind that always plans ahead, knowing that it wants to do what’s right but far too easily chooses what’s wrong instead (Matthew 26:41).
Above all, the kind that ignites a beautiful romance by helping the other seek God first in everything (Proverbs 16:3; Matthew 6:33). The kind that sets its mind to helping the other lay up treasures in heaven, live by every word of God, and exude intimacy with Jesus (Matthew 6:19; Matthew 4:4). The kind that challenges the other to dive deeper into the abundance of Christ, gaze at his beauty, dwell on his loving-kindness, and praise him for all that he’s done (Psalm 27:4; Isaiah 63:7).
2. Do you believe there’s one special person out there for everyone? Why?
The world sells us the whimsical idea that if you just keep searching, eventually you will find your soul mate—the one person in all of creation who will fill your heart with joy, dry your every tear, and hang on your every word.
This is a lie.
Great relationships don’t happen when you find your “soul mate.” They happen when you find someone who shares your desire to fly, who wants to point to Jesus in all things, who chooses to give what’s needed most over what’s wanted now.
And this is great news.
If it were true that there were only one perfect person for you, it would be easy to question whether or not you found the right person when things got rough. In fact, you might even use this logic to justify ending a relationship and moving on to the next person you think is “the one.” This is how many people date today, always looking for the one, always hitting a snag in the relationship, and always moving on to the next person.
If you subscribe to the idea of the one, let it go. Instead focus on being the one. Focus on flying in love.
3. Many people enter into relationships believing they can change their partner—particularly if their partner isn’t a Christian, but they want them to be. What advice do you have for those people?
Going into a relationship looking to change someone is to set yourself up for extreme difficulty and pain. Relationships are not the best place for evangelism, nor are marriages the best place for trying to reform someone’s character or heart.
The entire purpose of a relationship is to discover whether or not you and your other are fit to marry. But God doesn’t want us marrying unless it’s to someone who shines with the light of Jesus (2 Corinthians 6:14). Reason tells us, then, that if someone doesn’t know Jesus, the relationship shouldn’t ever begin.
I know that isn’t easy to hear.
Perhaps you recently became a Christian but your other is not. Perhaps you’re dating a nonbeliever in hopes of introducing him or her to Jesus. And all you want is for another Christian to listen to you instead of telling you to break up.
This is a tough one, friend.
Dating someone who doesn’t know and love God is asking for a tremendous amount of heartache. If not now, then when you’re married. And if not in your early marriage, then when you have children.
So if your other doesn’t know Jesus, the very best thing you can do is break it off, surround yourself with brothers and sisters who will love you through your grief and mourning, and cling to Christ.
4. What inspired you to write Dating like Airplanes?
My wife and I traveled an unconventional road to romance. We met at ages 11 and 14—you might say that’s when we first “fell in love”—liked each other more and more as the years passed, and finally got to the point where we idolized each other. So her father separated us for two and half years—no communication allowed.
This led both of us into intense heartache and eventually extreme heart change, from each other to Jesus. And after 30 months of not knowing what it all meant for our relationship—or lack of one—her father said I could start seeing his daughter, and it was like nothing had changed between us.
At ages 19 and 17, we started dating and tried to honor God throughout our relationship. But most of the time we didn’t know how and suffered for it. That’s why writing Dating like Airplanes was so important to me. I wanted to explore how to follow Jesus in the real but raw aspect of dating so that others could do their relationship in a more Jesus-powered, beautiful way.
5. What’s the difference between flying and falling in love?
When I think of falling, I think of being out of control. There is no way to slow down. No way to navigate. Just free falling to the inevitable crash. This isn’t exactly the best image when it comes to you and the person you’re giving your heart to.
That’s when I asked, “What if you could fly instead of fall? What would that look like in a dating relationship?” The answer is that it would be steady. Controlled. Much easier to navigate and glide to wherever you want to go.
So I went to Scripture to see if flying were possible.
And it is.
I define flying as giving the other person what’s needed most instead of taking what you want now. This selfless act mirrors Jesus and is the purest expression of love you could ever embrace. The wellspring from which marriage-ready relationships flow. It’s the basis of Dating like Airplanes.
But back to the question—the difference between falling and flying is this: Falling in love breaks bones. Flying in love protects them and pursues the beautiful way of Jesus in your relationship.
6. Your book aims to ascend “to the kind of romance you so desire but doubt is possible”—what do you mean by this?
Deep down everyone wants a beautiful romance. Everyone wants a prince or princess who loves them, wants them, is committed to them, and never turns toward another person. Someone who is pure, loving, forgiving, thoughtful, humble, others oriented, and a servant.
Most people believe this is a fairytale. But that’s only partly true.
There are no perfect people out there. But there are people who believe God’s Word contains the secret to a beautiful romance, seek it passionately, and find it. In Dating like Airplanes, I try to help people get past fairytale thinking and start pursuing the beautiful way of Jesus in how they do relationships.
7. What role does the church play in someone’s dating relationship?
When entering a relationship, you can have all sorts of resolutions and willpower. But the fact is, no one can stay strong forever. We all break. And when we do, everything falls apart . . . and trying to tie it back together is a long, tedious process.
Having the support of another in your relationship is huge. This person can be there to talk with you through your feelings and your struggles and also push you to stick to your convictions. This is where the church can play a vital role in the dating relationship.
Opening your relationship to several people who love you allows you to be bolstered with prayer, encouragement, and support. The older I get, the more I experience the amazing power of Christian community and prayer. We may never understand how it all works, but God has clearly shown us in Scripture that these aspects play a beautiful role in his economy.
Find people to pray for you and your relationship, keep you accountable to God’s standard, and be specific in your requests for help.
8. How can we equip millennials for healthy dating habits?
Talk with them about the why. Talk with them about the amazing power of reflecting Jesus—reflecting the ultimate love one person can give another—in their relationships. Discuss what they can do to set themselves up for a beautiful relationship, not just thump them with rule after rule of what not to do.
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There’s never been a more important time to reevaluate how we view dating and relationships. Get a biblical perspective, with powerful and relatable advice: download Dating like Airplanes: Why Just Fall in Love When You Can Fly? for just $7.79 on Vyrso!