Editor’s note: This excerpt is 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.

Chapter 6: Where Marriages Go Right, Part 1: The Husband

Every time a boy is born, we should think of Genesis 2:15. The moment we see the ultrasound picture, the moment we hear the cry of a boy exiting the womb and entering the world, we should recite in our minds:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)

Boys are born with a mission: to work and keep, to cultivate and guard. God put Adam on the earth, and God pushes boys out of wombs to be cultivators and guardians.

I’m the father of three boys—Cru, Hudson, and Gus. Cru entered the world at 8:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning, a scheduled C-section because he was upside down in his mother’s womb. Less than two years later, Hudson arrived on a Sunday afternoon during the fourth quarter of a San Francisco 49ers football game. The Niners won. The night of Hudson’s second birthday, Taylor woke me up at 1:00 a.m. and we raced to the hospital, just in time for the arrival of Gus. All three Buzzard boys were born at the same hospital, delivered by the same doctor. When the doctor presented me with each of my sons, I thought of Genesis 2:15. I thought about the mission God’s entrusted to these three men in training. I thought about the twin pillars of their mission: responsibility and power. 

Responsibility

God gives men enormous responsibility. And the weightiest responsibility he gives to a man is a woman—a wife. In this union, a man’s ability to cultivate and guard is put to the greatest test. Will the man lay down his life in order that his wife may flourish? That is the question that measures a marriage. In order for the garden of marriage to be properly cultivated and guarded, a man must give more than he’s ever given. 

Many men avoid this responsibility. Some men abandon this responsibility. A few men appreciate this responsibility. No man can handle this responsibility.

This is the place to revisit what I said in chapter 3: 

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.

Everybody knows there’s something wrong with men. The man problem has been in the news for decades. For decades society has told us that the problem with men is a responsibility problem—that if men acted like men, acted responsibly, things would be better. 

I disagree.

Yes, responsibility is part of the problem. The world is full of irresponsible men. Genesis 2:15 gives men a responsibility that is shirked more often than it is embraced. Ephesians 5 further defines this responsibility for husbands: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25), a verse many husbands aren’t quick to quote or execute. Responsibility is a problem, but it isn’t the heart of the problem.