What’s wrong with your marriage? What’s broken? Think back to some of your answers at the end of chapter 1. If you had to summarize it in a single sentence, what’s wrong with your marriage? Write that sentence down.
Men across America just wrote hundreds of different answers to that question. Men, that’s not good. We don’t need a sentence to answer the question. All we need is one word. And, men, we should all have the same answer. Let’s try this again.
What’s wrong with your marriage?
I am what is wrong with my marriage.
You are what is wrong with your marriage.
It’s your fault. This is the second most important truth to learn from this book: it’s your fault. You are the husband. You are the man. And God has given man the ability to be the best thing or the worst thing that ever happened to a marriage. Before you can be the best thing that ever happened to your marriage, you must see that you have always been the worst thing that happened to your marriage. If you want to change a marriage, change the man. Why? Because the man is what is wrong, and the man is what, made right, alters the course of everything.
Before God gave the first man a wife, he gave him a job. God took the man and put him in a garden and there gave the man a two-fold mission:
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Gen. 2:15)
Fundamental to his manhood, God gave Adam this double calling: work and keep. These Hebrew verbs can be better translated: cultivate and guard. God commissioned the first man to cultivate the garden and guard the garden. God gave the first man immense responsibility, immense power, to cause the garden to flourish or to fade.
God gave this to you, too. God gave you this same calling, this same responsibility, this same power. Your ancestry goes all the way back to Adam. We are all related to the first man. We are men, and whatever garden God has put us in, we have been put there to cultivate and guard that garden. To be a man is to be entrusted with enormous privilege and responsibility. To be a man is to be a cultivator and guardian. To be a man is to know God put you on this planet to cause life to flourish.
God created Adam, and God created you to cultivate and guard.
And Adam screwed it all up. And so have we.
God gave Adam a job before he gave him a wife. So when God presented Adam with his bride, what did Adam know he was called to do as a husband? If you had to summarize it in a sentence, what was Adam called to do for his marriage and for his wife?
Cultivate it and guard it.
This is exactly what the first husband failed to do. Adam failed to cultivate his wife—he didn’t cause her to flourish. Adam failed to guard his wife—he didn’t protect her from danger. To date your wife is to cultivate and guard her. Dating your wife means to cultivate and guard your wife and your marriage. Cultivate it and guard it. You haven’t done it. One way or another, you and I are just like Adam. We’ve failed to be the man that God has created and commissioned us to be.
What’s wrong with your marriage? Until you can authentically answer, “Me,” until you can feel that answer deep in your guts, this book won’t help you or your marriage.
1. Ask God to show you, very specifically, how you have been the biggest problem in your marriage.
2. Take your wife on a date and speak two powerful words to her: “I’m sorry.” Before this week is over, make time to confess your list to your wife, the list of ways you’ve hurt her and failed to cultivate and guard her. Ask for your wife’s forgiveness and God’s forgiveness. Cultivate a new habit of being the first person to say, “I’m sorry” in your marriage. This can only be done through God’s grace and power, so rely on God’s strength, not your own.
3. Make love to your wife.
4. Repeat steps 1–3 for the rest of your marriage
Taken from Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard copyright ©2012. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org.