Date my wife? Why should I, as a married man, date my wife? After all, I thought dating was something you do before marriage Those are questions, that if they were honest with themselves, many married men would likely ask. Once the wedding vows have been said and the newness of marriage has worn off and replaced with the daily grind of life, wooing and continuing to get to know your wife seem to fall by the wayside. In an effort to help men correct this wrong approach to marriage, Justin Buzzard has written Date Your Wife which provides men with a helpful guide to addressing what it means to put the “wooing” back in the marital picture.
There is much to appreciate in this book and many important takeaways I gleaned from its pages that can be put into immediate action within my own marriage. This speaks to the extremely practical nature and approach of this book. Weaving stories, personal examples, and most importantly the truth of Scripture, Buzzard reaches right to the heart of the matter by discussing respectively the good, the bad, the new, and the perfect when it comes to marriage.
Most men when they were younger likely had some dream of that perfect woman, that beautiful maiden that you as the knight in shining armor would whisk away in your arms into the forever happiness of love, riding off into the sunset. For most, the first step towards that whisking away comes with an awkward request for some coffee or perhaps a movie which begins the process of getting to know this person who just might become your wife sometime in the future. As the potential suitor, you go all out to shower her with gifts, to open the car door, and to spend as much time as possible in her company. Next comes the nervous moment of asking for her hand in marriage, followed by fervent wedding plans and the big day of the wedding. A week or so of a wonderful honeymoon filled with romantic dinners and lots of memories soon leads into the reality of everyday life and the grind that it brings. Anymore dates and romance after that? Quite often the answer is no.
After establishing the good of marriage and the vibrant dreams of roses and romantic dinners each night of the week, Buzzard next explores what often goes awry in marriages, that time when romance and wooing gets lost in the shuffle of work, laundry, kids, and bills. Since this is a book focused on men, Buzzard gets right to the source of the issue, namely men falling prey to the same thing Adam did, failing to do the job of the husband, that of cultivating his wife, protecting her from danger. Buzzard rightly notes “Dating your wife means to cultivate and guard your wife and your marriage.” This, it is far more than just rose and chocolates. Dating your wife in part requires men to do their job as the husband, a job given to them by God. Recognizing we have been deficient in that area is a first step towards restoring the dating relationship with our wives.
With the bad stated, Buzzard next moves into a discussion of what goes right in a marriage. As with the bad, this section starts with the husband. The problem is often thought to reside in a lack of men being responsible. While that is true in part, Buzzard rightly notes this often incorrectly places the impetus for right behavior as something men can accomplish on their own accord. The reality is “You crush a man if you only take to him about responsibility. You empower a man if you talk to him about response-ability – about living life in response to the power and ability of God.” This places our focus on God who provides husbands with the ability to be the leader He desires them to be in the home, to nurture and love their wife following the example Christ has set for us.
With that as a background and a firm foundation, Buzzard then provides men with some excellent practical ways to date their wife, using some very common scenarios to drive home ways to implement what he calls the ground and air wars. Since this is a battle, the ground and air war motif is highly appropriate. The examples Buzzard provides are useful for marriages with or without children. Practical suggestions such as scheduling a monthly getaway can be accomplished with any budget in mind and goes a long way towards cultivating that needed level of intimacy and relationship necessary for a marriage to survive the conflicts of daily life. This takes planning and effort but Buzzard rightly reminds men of the time and effort God put into wooing His people to Him and the cost Jesus paid for his bride on the cross.
Finally, Buzzard points the reader to the perfect. He aptly declares, “The point of your marriage is to date your wife in such a way that showcases Jesus and his power to a world of husbands and wives, men and women, boys and girls, in desperate need of a God who can rescue, reconcile, restore, and redeem their broken lives.” That statement is truly the crux and foundation of this book. We date our wives not to score brownie points or to get out of the doghouse for a time. We date our wives because we have been called by God to declare His glory through our marriages, to point people to the perfect Bridegroom. Our marriages are to be a reflection of the relationship Christ has with us.
Men – I highly recommend this book as a must read. We all struggle with being a godly husband and more often than not fall very short of what God desires. The truths found in this book are biblical, practical, and timely. Read this book with pen in hand, take note of the practical application, and put into practice in your marriage what Justin Buzzard has shared. Woo your wife!
This book is available for purchase from Crossway Books by clicking here.