Monday, June 25, 2012

My Review of DATE YOUR WIFE by Justin Buzzard

Photo Credit: Crossway Books

Who the book is for: Husbands who want thriving marriages and happy wives
Rating: 5 out of 5

I married my wife Lindsey nine years ago after dating her for four years. She has always been incredible, loving me more than I can think possible or even understand most of the time. The tendency for many men is to pursue their wife in the pre-marriage dating stage, doing all the things to win her heart. It seems that men have a primitive drive to pursue that which they want most. In the case of Lindsey, I wanted her, wanted to be with her, wanted her to be just as excited about being with me, so I pursued her with almost single-minded focus. I bought her flowers, took her on dates, wrote her love letters, wrote songs about her. But the tendency among men is to slow down in the pursuit once we walk down the aisle with the woman of our dreams. Perhaps because we’ve got her, she’s committed herself, and maybe we somehow think that we don’t need to pursue anymore. Maybe our attitude becomes more about maintaining what we have rather than pursuing anything deeper and more meaningful.

But the pursuit shouldn’t end. I think men are natural pursuers, and there is no greater pursuit for a man than the heart of his wife. According to short yet insightful new book by Justin Buzzard called DATE YOUR WIFE, the pursuit of a wife’s heart is a man’s greatest and most important calling by God. I read DATE YOUR WIFE in a matter of a couple of days, and I’m sure it’s the most important book I’ve read this year, and one that I’m definitely going to be going back through immediately with a pen in hand.

DATE YOUR WIFE is a call for husbands to pour their hearts into their marriage, but Justin Buzzard makes it very clear that men cannot create a thriving marriage on their own. DATE YOUR WIFE is a very gospel-centered book, encouraging husbands to look at their lives and allow the gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection completely transform them into the kind of husband God envisions for a wife.

Buzzard puts an incredible amount of responsibility for a marriage’s health upon the husband and whether or not he trusts in empty works-based religion or gospel transformation. He first shows what is wrong in most marriages and attributes most of the blame to the husband, since he is called to be the head. Then he walks us through what is right when a husband is thoroughly transformed by the gospel, so that his beliefs and the actions that flow out of those beliefs lead him to pour love and life into the heart of his wife.

The central call of DATE YOUR WIFE comes from a refreshing look at the Adam and Eve narrative. Buzzard shows that just as Adam was called to “cultivate and guard” the garden God placed him in, he was also to “cultivate and guard” his marriage to Eve. Obviously, we know the story of how Adam failed to guard his wife from the lure of temptation. Just like Adam, we are to “cultivate and guard” our marriage. Dating our wives is about taking the time to cultivate a loving and nourishing relationship with our wives, as well as guarding against anything that would threaten that relationship.

It’s easy to become complacent in being a husband, but DATE YOUR WIFE dares me to dream of an ever-growing and ever-deepening future with my wife. The thought that kept running through my mind is, “Will my wife still be glad she married me when she’s seventy years old?” As a husband, I could waste her life, or I could breathe gospel-driven hope into her heart. I want to bring life.

The book isn’t just about theory, though. Buzzard encourages husbands to develop the air war and the ground war of dating our wives. The air war is the big events of our lives that we plan out to nourish our relationships with our wives, but the air war isn’t enough. We need the ground war, the things we do day-by-day and week-by-week to exhibit our deep affection for our wives. The book even closes with one hundred ideas for dating our wives. I’ll be putting several of these into practice, as well as coming up with my own.

DATE YOUR WIFE is an important book because husbands need to date their wives. They need to pursue their wives as if their marriage depended upon it. At least, that’s the calling I’m walking away with from this book. I’ll be recommending this book to every husband I know because not only is it a great book on how to develop a healthy marriage, it’s also a compelling presentation of the gospel message and our desperate need for a savior. Justin Buzzard has done a great service to husbands and wives who follow Jesus with this book.

I received this book for free for review from Crossway Books, and the opinions contained in this book are completely my own

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