HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Date Your Wife: A Husband’s Guide
Author: Justin Buzzard
Cover Illustrator: John Wilson
Publisher: Crossway, 2012
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Adults
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Buzzard, Justin. Date Your Wife: A Husband’s Guide (published in 2012 by Crossway, 1300 Crescent St., Wheaton, IL 60187). What can a husband do to help make his marriage what it ought to be? Justin Buzzard, who has a M. Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary and is founder and lead minister of Garden City Church which is a new church plant in the Silicon Valley of California, says that husbands should date their wives. For me, this is nothing new. When I was growing up, and through the years since I’ve been an adult, I’ve heard a good number of gospel preachers who have made this same sort of suggestion when dealing with the husband-wife relationship. What Buzzard’s book does is to offer suggestions and give examples and illustrations regarding how to do it. According to the Foreword, the purpose of the book is “to help men think about how the gospel empowers them to be the romantic leaders in their marriages.” First, let me deal with a few negatives.
Many of us who come from a deeply religious background may find the suggestions to take our wives to a dance club or on a wine-tasting trip to be a little surprising. While they may be fewer than in previous times, there are still believers who have strong scriptural convictions against such activities as being conformed to this world. I’m not sure that I concur with all of Buzzard’s conclusions as to what happened in the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane, and not everyone will agree with his explanation of how to be saved and what place baptism has in the process. However, my greatest objection is his dichotomy between husbands who look to “religion” to fuel their marriages and those who depend on the gospel of grace to set them free. He even says, “Religion destroys men and marriages, but the gospel makes men new and marriages now” (p. 79). I think that I understand this to mean that the power to have a good marriage doesn’t come from only ourselves and even our own religious efforts but from trusting in God, and this is certainly true.
However, God’s word NEVER condemns “religion” per se. It even says that there is a “religion” which is pure and undefiled before God (James 1:27). One’s religion can be based upon the grace of the gospel. This kind of “anti-religion” diatribe is typical modern, inter-denominational, community mega-church newspeak. Finally, there is a lot of emphasis placed on sex—nothing really vulgar, but some of the language is rather blunt. Now, I fully realize that the sexual component of a marriage is an extremely important one, but Buzzard almost implies that unless a couple is having sex at least four times every week throughout their lives, one or both of them is failing and their marriage is in trouble. Having said all that, the book still has some very valuable advice for husbands. “Husbands, this is important for us to remember. Throughout this book I’m calling you to do one thing. The action I want you to take is summed up in three words: date your wife….Even if you haven’t been on a bike in years, you still know how to ride one. It’s the same with dating your wife. My aim is to get men back on the bike and to get us there in the best shape of our lives, exercising the best possible form” (p. 22). Date Your Wife could be quite useful as the basis of a Bible study for married men.