This article is based on Caleb Breakey’s new book, Dating Like Airplanes: Why Just Fall in Love When You Can Fly?, which is on sale online everywhere until February 17.
Relationships should be spectacular. Relationships should be fun. Relationships should be filled with love, laughter, unity, and pleasure. But the truth is that not everyone who chooses to fly in love (instead of fall) will experience this kind of joy. This is why it’s important to know what traits to look for in your other.
There are three ways a flying* relationship can function:
1. Only one of you flies. The best relationship starts with choosing what your other needs most instead of what you want now. This Jesus-powered change alone will transform who you are, how you live, and the way you do relationships. Yet at the end of the day, if you keep dating people who don’t want to fly with you, the relationship might work but it won’t ever be spectacular.
2. Both of you fly. If you put your other’s needs above your wants and your other reciprocates, you’ll experience an extraordinary relationship. You will both become a microcosm of true love. It’s hard to imagine a relationship like this ever falling apart. But just because something doesn’t fall apart doesn’t mean it’s spectacular. It just means it’s steady and secure. What’s spectacular is when steady and secure meets fun and friendship.
3. Both of you fly and share common interests, goals, and values. This final tier of flying is something we’ve yet to discuss: The tier of common interests, compatible goals, and similar values. I know the words interests, goals, and values don’t sound very spectacular. But like wind under wings, they are vital in turning a gentle glide into an astounding airshow. A good way to gauge whether the two of you share this third tier is by asking yourselves these questions:
• Interests: Do you enjoy doing similar activities in your spare time?
• Goals: Are your passions and desires to contribute to the world complementary in some way?
• Values: Do your convictions push you toward greater respect and unity with each other, or anger and detachment?
Growing in unison in these three areas of life can ignite a holy infatuation. Common interests, goals, and values magnetize you to your other in a way that lasts a lifetime instead of just two years (which researchers claim is the lifespan of infatuation). I’m not talking about idolizing each other. I’m simply talking about enjoying the beauty of a complementary relationship and lifestyle.
But let me say this again: Interests, goals, and values are not the foundation of flying. They simply make the flight more enjoyable. Don’t get too nit-picky here. Don’t start overlooking people as potential spouses simply because they don’t like cars, or jogging, or whatever. Don’t go looking for someone who lines up with you on every interest, goal, and value. That’s a great way to stay single forever. Just be aware.
Know that a lifetime of doing the same things during your spare time means something to your relationship. Know that the depth of your conversations will be sweeter when your passions and desires complement one another. Know that unity in your values will spare you from what could later be severe sparks.
“Till death do us part” is a long time. What better way to spend your lifetime than with a best friend who’s in tune with your interests, goals, and values?
*Definition of flying: To give what your special other needs most instead of taking what you want not.
Caleb Breakey is a former journalist and author of Called to Stay and Dating Like Airplanes. He is a frequent conference speaker with a sincere passion to lead, challenge, and inspire others in discussions about relationships, the church, and radically following Jesus. Check out his website www.calebbreakey.com.