Our friend and regular FTC contributor Darrin Patrick has written a new book with his wife Amie that releases today — The Dude's Guide to Marriage: Ten Skills Every Husband Must Develop to Love His Wife Well. To celebrate the release of this important new work, we're sharing Paul Tripp's foreword to the book below.
I have to say, “I love this book,” this is why I have written this foreword. Yes, Darrin is a friend in ministry and I have recommended other things that he has written, but that is not why I decided to write this forward. I was willing to take my time to do this because I so appreciate both the subject and the content of what you are beginning to read. Let me explain:
If you’re committed to a ministry life, you will be exposed to things that make your heart grieve. This has happened to me over and over again in one particular area. I will be somewhere doing a marriage weekend and during one of the breaks a wife will come to me and say, “This is such helpful material, I wish I would’ve been able to get my husband to come with me.” It crushes me every time I hear it. How can a marriage be healthy when the husband is so detached and inactive that he is unwilling to give up one weekend of his life to focus on it? Could it be that there really are men out there who would rather spend a weekend with their golf clubs, fly rod, shot gun or tennis racquet than they would at a marriage conference with their wives? What must his wife think when he says “no?” What must she be thinking as she takes in the content of the weekend? And what must she be thinking as she hits the driveway loaded with new hope and enthusiasm for her marriage that she knows her husband doesn’t share?
Here’s why this is profoundly more important than missing one marriage conference. I am deeply persuaded that the number one reason that marriages fail is not adultery or abuse, but neglect. Long before adultery takes place, shattering trust, and long before abuse makes the marriage a dangerous place, neglect has already sucked the life out of the marriage, and in so doing, set it up for difficulty and dysfunction of some kind. You see, you simply cannot have a sinner living with a sinner without focusing and working on your marriage all the time, anymore than you can plant a garden and expect it to produce beautiful and healthy flowers without being committed to watering and weeding it.
Now, what I am going to write next it painful to write, but I must. It is my experience in almost 40 years of pastoral ministry that dudes tend to be way more neglectful of their marriages than their wives are. There are hundreds of thousands of men every day who when they punch out from work essentially punch out from life. This means when they get home what they really and secretly want is to be left alone. They aren’t arriving at home willingly and lovingly engaged in the daily maintenance work that it takes to make be marriage all that God designed it to be.
So, that’s why I love this book and think that it is so important for you and me to read, consider and live. In this book, my friend Darrin not only has written a very provocative call to men to give themselves to their wives and their marriage, but he has also show us in beautiful and practical detail what that looks like.
Sin makes all of us selfish. It gives all of us anti-social instincts that are destructive to marriage. So God, in his amazing grace, not only forgives us, but welcomes us to a brand new way of living toward him and with one another. This new way of other-centered love is not natural for us. Selfishness is natural, entitlement is natural, demandingness is natural, disinterest in others is natural, irritation and impatience are natural, but it is simply not natural for us to willingly and patiently serve and love our wives as Jesus loves us. Men, for that to ever be natural we need help.
Finally, I love this book because it preaches the gospel to every married dude who picks it up and reads it. I mean, come on, what man could honestly consider the lifestyle of self-sacrificing love that this book calls all of us to in our marriages and say, “Sure, I can do that, no problem”? When I read this book, I immediately thought, “This standard is too high, there’s no way I am going to pull it off,” and then I remembered the right here, right now message of the grace of Jesus. This grace is the hope of every husband. “Why,” you ask, let me explain.
This book is insightful and practical for every married man because it requires you to make one very humbling confession. What is that confession? It’s that our biggest, deepest, most long-term problem in marriage, one that none of us can escape, is us! Now you can run from a situation, you can run from a location and you can run from a relationship, but you can’t run from yourself. I’ve found that when I try to run from myself, I always show up with me at the end of the run! So beneath the loads of wonderful practical advice that you will find in this book is something deeper. It’s a call to man up and admit your need for help and to seek and savor the help that is only ever found in the forgiving, enabling and transforming grace of Jesus. That grace is yours for the taking, and with it a brand new way of living. That new way is beautifully and clearly laid out for you, in the context of marriage, in the book you are about to read. Don’t burn though it quickly. Take your time and let Darrin’s words sink in and then watch what God will do in you and in your marriage.