Off the Shelf | Date Your Wife
Last weekend, Pastor Paul taught on Matthew 5.31-37 in our summer Sermon on the Mount series Build Your House on That! In his message, Beyond the Syllabus, Paul engaged a difficult topic, one that has affected many - if not all - of our lives: the reality of divorce.
You may recall, in his message, Paul pointed out that though some in his day were looking for an easy way out of their marriage commitments, Jesus turned the nature of the conversation from loopholes in the law to reinforce the gift that God intends marriage to be.
Faced with questions by those looking for permission to treat marriage lightly, Jesus states in Matthew 19,
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
By sheer coincidence, I read a book on new book on marriage last weekend as well. Written by an old college friend, Justin Buzzard, Date Your Wife challenges men to continue pursuing their wives with the same energy as before the big day. With as many books as there are out there these days, I could have very easily missed Date Your Wife, if I hadn't known about it from Justin.
I met Justin as an undergraduate student at Westmont College, when he served as a friend and mentor to me. In fact, I probably wouldn't be who I am or do what I do if it weren't for Justin. And in the same way Justin encouraged 19 year old Curtis to a life of following Jesus wholeheartedly, his book is profoundly encouraging for 31 year old Curtis in the same way. I believe Date Your Wife will encourage countless men - and the marriages they're blessed with - in the same way.
Justin masterfully frames men's call to date their wives by engaging Genesis 2.15:
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
This "working" and "caring for" - or "cultivating and guarding," as Justin puts it - extends from our careers into our personal lives, especially in our relationships with our wives. While we men can so often rest on our laurels after we've gotten our bride to say "yes," indeed, we need to continue "cultivating and guarding" our marriage!
The same weekend I read his book, I had the pleasure of officiating a marriage ceremony for a couple who are a part of our community. As we signed the marriage license while family and friends celebrated at the reception, marriage all made sense to me in a new way. How many of us would stop striving after Christ after being saved by him? Then why should we stop learning about and seeking to wholly love our wives!? It's no mistake that the Apostle Paul ties our relationship with Christ to the mystery of marriage (to see what I mean, check out Ephesians 5.21-33).
In a promo video, my old college friend and mentor puts it better than I ever could:
Looking back, that first date was a blast. But now, nine years into marriage, it's better. The dating's better, the adventure's better, the relationship's better. Men, you know how to date your wife because you've already done it. It's in you. Somehow, you did something right. You got that woman to say yes. You got her to the altar. You've already done it.
What if the best the best romance, the best sex, the best passion, the best memories, the best intimacy, what if that lies ahead?
Maybe the most important thing you can do, as a man, for your marriage and for your family, is to date your wife.
So, men, here's my challenge to you:
Purchase up Date Your Wife. It's less than 10 bucks! In fact, I believe in this book so much, I'll buy it for you!
Then, read it. It's 160 pages. No big deal. In 15 minutes a day, you could easily read it in a week.
Then, put it in to practice. Why not start with a date this Saturday night?!
And if you'd like to talk about anything you read there - or anything else, of course - I, or any of the other pastors or staff, would be honored to talk with you.