The problem is power.

God gives men a mission. God commissions husbands to cultivate and guard—to date their wives. This mission requires responsibility and power. The problem with men isn’t the responsibility, the problem is men think they have the power to carry out the responsibility. 

Power

Men need to be taught about power, not responsibility. I spent the first five chapters of this book talking about responsibility so that I could spend the rest of this book talking about power. 

I bought my first car at age sixteen, a silver 1984 Toyota Tercel with one hundred thousand miles on it, an oil leak, and an aftermarket CD player. I loved that car. I kept my football pads in the trunk, and the whole car smelled like football. 

One afternoon, my car wouldn’t start. I couldn’t figure it out. I had plenty of gas. The car had been running great, and I had just checked the oil. I turned the key in the ignition and nothing happened. Then I realized—the battery was dead. No amount of turning the key would do anything. The power source of my engine was dead. I needed outside help.

That afternoon I got my first jump start. I waved down a truck that was passing by. The driver happened to have jumper cables. He pulled his big truck next to my small car, we popped open the hoods of our vehicles, he attached his end of the cables to his fully powered battery, and I attached my end of the cables to my dead battery. He turned on his engine and power started transferring from his truck to my car. Within a few minutes I turned the key in my ignition and, vroom vroom, my car started. I had power again. I thanked the man and drove home.

I think most men are fairly aware of their responsibility as husbands. They know they need to drive the car. But across our world men are sitting in their cars turning the key wondering why nothing is happening. Men don’t see that their battery is dead. Men don’t see that they need power from the outside, power that comes from someone else, in order to carry out the mission. 

I’ve told you the second-most-important truth to learn from this book: it’s your fault—you are the worst thing that ever happened to your marriage. You needed to hear that first. Now let’s hear the most important truth: Jesus makes men new—Jesus turns husbands like you and me into the best thing that ever happened to our marriages. 

My friend Ed hails from England. We smoke cigars together and talk about Jesus, life, and our dreams. Taylor and I enjoy going on double dates with Ed and his wife, Nicci. Ed and Nicci have a great marriage. They are a lot of fun, and they sound really smart and godly because of their British accents.

Last year, after ten years of marriage and five years of trying for kids, Nicci discovered she was pregnant with twins. Their excitement was so thick you felt like you could grab onto it and put some of it in your pocket. Ed and Nicci were giving birth to twin boys! The baby showers commenced. Nicci’s tummy grew larger.

I arrived at the hospital a few minutes after Joshua died, Ed and Nicci’s newborn son. Nicci had gone into early labor. There in the maternity ward at Stanford Hospital, Nicci gave birth to Joshua and, then, to Daniel. Joshua lived sixty-seven minutes outside of the womb. He died in his parents’ arms. Meanwhile, Joshua’s brother Daniel fought for life in the neonatal intensive care unit, with tubes and wires connected to every part of his body, a body that was the size of my hand. I’ve never felt so powerless as a pastor as the day I walked into that hospital room and wept with Ed. 

A few days later I officiated at Joshua’s funeral. I preached with wet eyes. I helped carry Joshua’s casket. I startled over the grief Ed and Nicci expressed over a lost son, the hope they carried for a living son, and the faith they exercised in a good and sovereign God. What struck me most from the funeral was Ed and the strength with which Ed loved his wife. Drained of his dreams, drained of sleep, and disoriented by death, Ed was seemed to come from outside him. It was like jumper cables were attached to him.