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Date Your Wife Paperback – June 30, 2012
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“Finally, here is a book that will not make men feel guilty.”
—Gary Chapman, author, The Five Love Languages
“For several years after retiring as a player in the NFL, I 'kept my helmet on', as my wife, Kim, would say. I only saw what I wanted to see and only heard what I wanted to hear about all that she was dealing with as the mother of our seven kids. Finally, I took the helmet off and learned how to really hear and see her. Had I only had this book ten years ago, we could have saved countless disagreements and discussions! It's a must for husbands who long to raise the communication and intimacy levels in their marriage.”
—Mike Singletary, NFL Hall of Fame Linebacker
“Whether you’ve been married a few days or 50 years, Date Your Wife is well worth the read. Justin Buzzard shows us the first step to loving your wife isn’t to try harder—it’s to be empowered by the gospel. Date Your Wife gives you biblical advice and practical tips that will transform your marriage.”
—Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family
“Finally here is a book to put in a man’s hands that doesn’t tell him ten things to do to meet his wife’s needs. Instead, Date Your Wife gives men a whole new paradigm for marriage: a paradigm of grace, freeing men to approach life and their wife in a whole new way. Once men understand this, everything changes.”
—Paul David Tripp, president, Paul Tripp Ministries; author, What Did You Expect?
“This book is for every man who wants a lifelong romance with his wife. Surely that is God’s good will. It’s why we fully expect God’s blessing to be on this book. Date Your Wife could be how your romance is renewed for keeps.”
—Ray and Jani Ortlund, Renewal Ministries
“Passionate. Personal. Practical. Poignant. Priceless. Thank you, Justin Buzzard, for reminding us of the passion and intentionality with which we pursued our wives while dating. Why should keeping our marriage covenant be any less passionate and intentional?”
—James MacDonald, Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel, Rolling Meadows, Illinois; author, Vertical Church
“I want every man I know to read this book. Date Your Wife has the power to emancipate men and liberate marriages.”
—Mark Batterson, Lead Pastor, National Community Church, Washington, DC; author, Wild Goose Chase and Soulprint
“In this book, Justin has done wives a great service. After being pursued by a husband who’s promised to love them, many wives have found that their husbands are now busy pursuing other things—from the NFL to corporate business plans—and that his interests really lie elsewhere. Justin offers the practical help and encouragement that men need to live out the depth of the vows they’ve made. He does all of this in the milieu of God’s grace to us through Jesus Christ. So thankful for Justin and how the Lord will use this book in many lives!”
—Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, counselor; speaker; author, Found in Him
“For a young, married man like myself, this is a much needed reminder! Date Your Wife encourages me to man up, trust Jesus, and love my wife well. I encourage all husbands to go grab a copy.”
—Trip Lee, hip-hop artist; author, The Good Life; pastor, Cornerstone Church, Atlanta
“Don’t you dare think Date Your Wife is a ‘been there, done that’ book. It’s revealing, eye opening, and inspiring. It’s fresh. I am certain Date Your Wife will positively alter thousands of couple’s futures. As a husband for 38 years, I applaud Justin Buzzard’s work and I would put it in the hands of every man I could!”
—Wayne Cordeiro, Senior Pastor, New Hope Christian Fellowship, Honolulu, Hawaii
“I need a book like this! I’m often in fits and starts trying to regularly date my wife, so I’m glad the Lord has given Justin Buzzard the vision and insight to write Date Your Wife for strugglers like me!”
—Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor, Anacostia River Church, Washington, D. C.; author, What Is a Healthy Church Member?
“Men, we desperately need this book, and our wives desperately need us to read it. This isn’t just a book about marriage, it’s a book about being a man who loves the gospel, lives the gospel, and leads his wife and children with the gospel. Married or single, young or old—if you’re a man—get this book, read this book, and then get a copy for every man you know.”
—Burk Parsons, Copastor, Saint Andrew’s Chapel, Sanford, Florida; Editor, Tabletalk magazine
“I am thrilled about this book for several reasons, first of all, my brother, Justin, thoroughly gets the gospel of God’s grace, and it decorates every page of this book. Second, he’s intentional about loving his wife well, and, therefore, we need Justin’s tribe to increase exponentially. Third, his book is so incredibly practical. He’s left me without excuse! Last, Justin’s writing, heart, and wisdom make me so glad to know that Jesus is the spouse I always wanted, and that, by his grace, I can love my wife as he loves me. This book, like my brother, rocks!”
—Scotty Smith, Teacher in Residence, West End Community Church, Nashville, Tennessee
“I am a big fan of Justin Buzzard and this book. I champion any call for men to step out of passivity and dominate the things that matter most—Date Your Wife beckons me as a man to do just that. The primacy of being a great husband is undeniable in Scripture and I appreciate this gospel-centered, practical, and powerful resource to help us men step up in the most noble of all roles. I pray God uses Date Your Wife to call up a generation of men who are first and foremost great husbands. I can think of no greater gift to our children, our churches, and our cities than men whose wives are pursued well and have marriages that flourish and go the distance.”
—John Wiley Bryson, Co-Founder and Teaching Pastor, Fellowship Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee; Leadership Coach, Fellowship Associates
“Otis Redding sang ‘Try a little tenderness’ and some husbands want to—but don’t know how. Justin Buzzard gives sound theological and practical advice. If more husbands learn to date their wives and, through God’s grace, truly love them, many marriages will be saved.”
—Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief, World Magazine
“Justin reveals a gift for combining challenge with encouragement. In Date Your Wife, he manages to propose provocative and practical ideas without making me feel like a marriage dunce. So, I hereby confer to Justin the title of ‘Professor of Creative Marriage.’ May his students learn well!”
—Greg Spencer, Professor of Communication Studies, Westmont College; author, Awakening the Quieter Virtues
About the Author
Justin Buzzard (MDiv, Fuller Theological Seminary) is the founder and lead pastor of Garden City Church in Silicon Valley. Justin writes regularly at JustinBuzzard.net, speaks widely at conferences nationwide, and is part of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. He is the author of many books, including Why Citites Matter. He lives in Silicon Valley with his wife, Taylor, and their three sons.
Top customer reviews
Within his book, Date Your Wife, author and pastor Justin Buzzard addresses this marital problem directly. With the simple command found in the title, readers are shown how to keep their marriages fresh by taking a page from their past. The process of getting to know one's spouse and showing sacrificial acts of love is never to end. Such a work is impossible to carry out with human effort, but the transforming power of the gospel of grace changes everything. In the freeing work of Jesus Christ, husbands can embrace their God-given role while relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to make a good marriage possible. At the end of the book, a practical game-plan is given for both special events and day to day actions.
The book reaches the apex of its message in a great explanation of the gospel work of Jesus Christ. The concept of justification is covered with great detail and theological precision. Unfortunately, the resulting process of sanctification is not explained well and comes across as deficient. Fearing a label of legalism, the book simply asks husbands to live in the grace God has granted. Therefore the chapters simply ask husbands to create a big dream for their marriage and pursue it. The Biblical pattern for growth and sanctification is ignored. The Bible is very clear in its expectations of God's role for the husband. It reveals to us what actions and behaviors are proper and fitting for a growing believer. These verses are omitted and the result is a pragmatic list of things that secular books could provide. Spend time with your wife. Take her out for a weekend away. Give her time away from the kids. These are all good suggestions, but lack the great impetus found in the passages of scripture that lead to spiritual oneness. The deficient view of sanctification leads to some problematic passages, but does not detract from the book having some value. Better resources exist, but some gleanings can be made from the content provided in this particular literary work.
Read this book...your wife will thank you for it whether she knows you read it or not.
While the premise of the book is simple and straight forward as the title suggest, the path by which the reader is taken is one that we often would generally not expect when it comes to most treatments of the topic of dating. Justin is thoroughly gospel centered. I never thought I would see a book that expounds how and why to date one's wife so undergirded with a basic "two-Adam" scheme that is central to the gospel story line. To this I cannot say "Bravo" loud enough.
Justin writes out of a rich theology that is found in the pages to Scripture yet his style is conversational, down-to-earth, and pastoral. This means those who like theology will be enriched, but those who rarely read books and hate theological tomes will find this book winsome, applicable and engaging.
The basic plot line of the book is creation-fall-redemption-restoration although the actual divisions are titled: "Good" (two chapters on God's creation of marriage), "Bad" (three chapters on what's wrong with husbands), "The New" (six chapters, first with the gospel, then with practical applications for action) and "The Perfect" (a final chapter on the goal of marriage and the future of our glorification).
If you are expecting a book that makes you feel guilty, this one will but not in a legalistic sense. Most relationship books make you feel guilt for all you are not doing by telling you everything you should be doing. This book gets right to the heart of the problem: the problem is sin. The problem is that every husband is in Adam. The problem is every husband has a "religious" view of marriage. We think if we just try harder God will bless our lives.
Justin Buzzard challenges us to find our sufficiency and identity as men and husbands in Christ and his work. The best part about the book is how it takes you back to the gospel at the core. So when Buzzard convicts you and motivates you it is always with an eye to Jesus.
As I read this book, I was impressed by how personable and relatable the book was. Often the basic content is wrapped in a story or example. The book is also quite practical with actionable solutions to build an "air war" and a "ground war" in cultivating your marriage. Each chapter concludes with a series on introspective questions. There is an appendix of 100 suggestions for dating your wife. The creative husband will be pushed to think of more in order to tailor things to his marriage.
I highly recommend this book. I would give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
This is the kind of book that you can give to husbands but pastors can give in the expectation that it not just builds husbands but will build disciples. This is also the kind of book you can read quickly without getting bogged down but you can also read richly finding deep gems to ponder. Justin's first main goal is to make you love Jesus more--and the book accomplishes that task while it teaches us how to date our wives.
Three minor theological points of question or disagreement:
1. Buzzard makes Genesis 2:15 as central to the husbands mission that he guard and cultivate his wife. Technically though, Genesis 2:15 is not instructions for how we relate to our wives but how Adam (and humanity) relate the the Temple-Garden and exercise vice-regency. The wife is the helpmate to that mission not the object of it. Justin's point is right (men should guard and keep/cultivate their wives by ministering to them) but his use of this Scripture is at best an implication rather than the command of Genesis 2:15 he wants to make it. That said, husbands should guard and cultivate their wives. One would probably be better making the point from Song of Songs or Ephesians 5 since Genesis 2:15 relates to the garden of Eden.
2. Buzzard confused me with his imprecise notion that there was "gospel" given in the pre-fall state. He writes the following:
"Adam's Genesis 2:15 calling was meant to flow out of Adam's Genesis 1:31 identity. God told Adam what he thought about him; he gave Adam his approval--before Adam lifted a finger in the garden. Adam received his God-approved identity before he had a chance to do anything to prove himself. This is what we call grace, or the gospel--the good news of receiving favor from God that we don't deserve or earn." (p.73)
Buzzard is right that Adam had a royal endowment as being made in God's image. Adam had an identity in God. However, Adam was, I think, put on probation. Not all theologians and scholars agree with a covenant of works, but if true Adam was certainly not created in the eschatological glory state. His full identity was not there yet. So Adam's job obediently finished would have secured the garden had he obeyed (see Beale's A New Testament Biblical Theology). Adam didn't have it all and even then failed. Thus, Christ had to be second Adam passing the covenant probation by offering Adamic-obedience as well as atoning for sin. Buzzard seems to have a notion that Adam's fault was he tried to earn his identity, a salvation by works. But this to me misses the clear covenant probation in the garden.
More important, while Adam was gifted with a role in the garden, and that was from the kindness of God, it was neither grace nor gospel. Grace should clearly be seen as post-fall. Grace is generally defined as favor extended where wrath is deserved. There was God's favor in the garden on Adam pre-fall but not grace, which is post-fall. There is certainly not gospel until Genesis 3:15. That said, Buzzard's over all point seems true that Adam should have believed and accepted his identity as an empowering to do the task he was given.
In his attempt to get sinful husbands today to stop thinking they will "earn" their marriage's health and cultivate it in religion's 'salvation by works,' I think Buzzard pushes the "we can't earn it" paradigm too far back into the garden where clearly covenant works were both possible and noble.
3. Buzzard states the following about God's resolution in Genesis 3:
"God listens. Then God curses. God doesn't curse Adam; God curses the Serpent" (p.75)
Buzzard's larger point is there is gospel in this passage when the serpent is cursed. The seed of the woman will crush the seed of the serpent. Amen. Yet it is a misstatement and false to say Adam is not cursed. Yes, the passage surprises us that Adam is not cursed first and even given hope in the curse of the serpent. But Adam is cursed. This is why cultivating and guarding is a failed endeavor in creation now. This is why Adam is removed from the garden. This is why there is death in creation.
With those concerns, the book is still excellent. It grounds dating one's wife in Biblical theology and the story of the gospel. It gives practical advice. It motivates not through guilt but through the sufficiency of the cross. It relies on justification: my identity is secure in Christ, I have all I need because of His work. It relies on sanctification: the Holy Spirit empowers us and changes us to respond to our wives.
Over all, again, a very good book. I would gladly pass it on to men in my church. Husbands: please get this book.
Most recent customer reviews
- Justin presents the gospel as the solution, not just trying harder or getting better strategies
- At the end of...Read more