Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace, talk about sex and marriage in down-to-earth terms, hitting issues other Christian books won't. While a wonderful wedding day is important, it's the last day of marriage that really counts. Will the last day of your marriage come prematurely through divorce? Will it be filled with regrets as you sit at the funeral of your spouse? Or, by God's grace, will the last day be a time to rejoice in the life you lived together?
Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace, want you to finish well on the last day. They share private and painful issues that damaged their own marriage-including his introduction to pornography in elementary school and her abuse as a teenager at the hands of a boyfriend-and how they overcame them to experience healing and joy with each other again.
Together they tackle the tough issues, such as:
Should I confess my pre-marital sexual sin to my spouse? Is it okay to have a "work husband/wife"? Can I say no to sex when I really do have a headache? What does the Bible say about masturbation and oral sex?
From fun date night tips to the most tricky "can we do that?" sex questions, Mark and Grace share practical help and hope with people just like them.
- Mixed audio performance
'With honesty and energy, William Dufris delivers Pastor Mark Driscoll's views.... In contrast, Tavia Gilbert's delivery of wife Grace's views ... is somewhat jarring.'
© AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine
- Real Marriage, Real Advice
This has been a very anticipated book, personally. For some years now I have been a listener of sermons and reader of books by Mark Driscoll. It is safe to say I am very familiar with one of the authors. We have not been familiar with the other author, Grace, until now. This is why I have been waiting in anticipation for this book ever since I heard it was being written.
If you are very familiar with the teachings of Mark Driscoll, especially The Peasant Princess sermon series, then you will not read a significant amount of new information from Mark’s perspective. Though I am glad that I can access it in book form now. The majority of new information comes from Grace’s perspective. This helps to bring context to what Mark teaches and some fresh insight from the woman’s perspective.
This book is not a run-of-the-mill marriage book. It is a “school of hard knocks” book with thorough theological and sociological incite. The several pages of footnotes, chapter notes, and appendixes reveal how much Mark and Grace weighed the perspective of others along with their own.
Real Marriage is very upfront and personal. The Driscoll’s do not hold back in talking about the serious subjects. They do not hold back in answering the tough questions. They do not hold back in putting the husband or the wife in their place. Where many marriage books will dance around many sensitive subjects, such as sex and abuse, Real Marriage hit these head on. If you agree with their perspective or not, it must be respected that Mark and Grace do attempt to take on these hard subjects.
The most refreshing subject that is discussed in the book is on friendship within marriage. They point out that they read part or all of 187 book while researching for this book and found no chapter or section discussing friendship in marriage. They say, “Husbands and wives who want their marriages to be enduring and endearing must be friends.” This chapter alone is worth your time and money for this book. Everyone should consider reading at least this chapter. The content on friendship has value outside of marriage relationships.
My expectations for this book were high and it did not disappoint. I highly recommend this book to anyone at any stage of marriage. I would also recommend it to anyone single that plans to marry one day.
The audio book version is not narrated by Mark and Grace. My preference is that the author does the narration. Personally, I have listened to Mark speak over hours and hours of sermons/podcast. I have heard him teach much of this material live and by video. In my opinion Mark and Grace not narrating does this good book a disservice. The unique thing about Mark Driscoll is that he is a tough man’s man. This comes out in his voice too. Most marriage material is taught by “nice” men. Men that seem to identify with the women better then the men. The material presented in Real Marriage is tough, open, and upfront. It needed to be presented in audio format by someone who can do the material justice. I usually count bad narration against the final rating, but will not in this case. I recommend reading the book over listening to it.
- This is an awesome book that all married couples should read together. If you are in a relationship but are not married yet this would be a great way to learn and understand what marriage is about and how men and women see SEX
When I decided to read this audio book, I was intrigued by the title of "Real Marriage - The Truth About Sex, Friendship & Lie Together" by Mark & Grace Driscol.
Even though I have been married for 11 years now, which I think qualifies me as a novice in marriage, I found this book to be very interesting. It was divided into 3 parts. Part I dealt with Marriage from Chapters 1-5. Then, Part II dealt with Sex from Chapters 6-10. Finally, Part III on Chapter 11 dealt with The Last Day.
Though I found myself wandering on some chapters, depending on their length, I was very pleased at the content of this information provided. This book was well researched and is definitely worth reading.
In fact, I really could have used this book prior to my marriage. While I believe my marriage has been wonderful for the past 11 years, it would have been helpful to consider the points that are raised. The book's authors interject their own life but they also provide numerous biblical scriptures as a reference point.
In Part I, Mark and Grace relay how their relationship blossomed and the difficulties encountered. In telling this story, Mark discussed what happened to them after they got married and a secret that made their sex life more problematic.
They also talk about marriage being about friendship and and how it glorifies GOD and also about how a person can be guilty of Emotional Adultery even if that person doesn't sleep with someone else.
Chapter three deals with Men & Marriage and it provides lots of interesting information. The requirement in the Bible of Women submitting to Men as a married person is followed up by the requirement of Husbands loving their wives as Jesus loves his father. In other words, while Women are supposed to submit to Men this is not supposed to be used against those Women by Men. Equally compelling was the statement that the Men are supposed to pick out a church to attend. However, it is supposed to be a place that challenges the Men.
I would have thought that the Husband and Wife would decide on a church together but this discussion certainly makes it appear that this is a responsibility that was given to Men. It's these provoking thoughts that made me think about the awesome responsibility that the Bible provides to Men and how they are supposed to take care of their Wives.
Part Two of this book discussed the 7 sex essentials that were found in the Bible. 1. God created us in his image and likeness. 2. Love is more like a song than a math equation. 3. Marriage is more like a song than a math equation. 4. God created sex. 5. Sex outside of marriage is a sin. 6. Sex is to be done in such a way that there is no shame. 7. Your standard of beauty is your spouse.
However, this part of the book also dealt with The Porn Path. The problem of pornography in all its forms and how yesterday's porn is today's main stream. In fact, the authors also discussed the 4 basic aspects to heterosexual pornography.
The most chilling aspect of this section was when the book recalled a interview that serial killer Ted Bundy gave to Dr. James Dobson shortly before his execution and how poronography led him down the road to his destruction. As the authors stated, "You don't control porn. Porn controls You. One of the most powerful lies in the suppport of pornography is that it does not harm anyone but that is a demonic lie. Porn hurts GOD. Do not be fooled - porn is not about sex it is about money."
Part III closed out the book in Chapter 11 by asking the most amazing question that can be asked about a marriage. It was about reverse engineering and said that the most important date of marriage is the last day. Will the last day be a day to rejoice? In other words, was our life together in marriage all that it should have been with no regrets? If so, it's a happy day because the goal is progress not perfection.
As I stated earlier, this book is well worth reading and discussing with your spouse or for those contemplating marriage.
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- Too much bad for all the good
There are plenty of solid, more thorough reviews of this book, so let me start with talking about the audiobook quality itself and then I will get to a review of the content itself.
ChristianAudio.com gave me the opportunity to review the "Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together" by Mark & Grace Driscoll audiobook with no obligations to write positively. I listen to several audiobooks a month and I, 99% of the time, enjoy the audio quality and voices of those who read the books on ChristianAudio.com. I have even heard past audiobooks by Mark Driscoll and enjoy them (audio wise) because the author himself reads the book, and this is always a plus to me.
This audiobook has a male that read the portions of the book by Mark Driscoll (William Dufris) and another for the portions of the book by Grace Driscoll (Tavia Gilbert), I liked that. However, the male's voice is so wacky and silly sounding that it is hard to take it seriously at times. I even found myself laughing out loud at how he emphasized certain parts of words in such strange ways. The women's voice was nice and easy to listen to, something that I have come to expect from audiobooks (especially if they expect one to pay $12.98 for it!)
The book itself:
There are high points of the book. It has an excellent explanations of:
practical complementarianism (what godly male headship and womenly submission look like)
being a friend to our spouses
dealing with conflict in marriage
the need for repentance and grace in marriage
help for those who have been sexually abused
dealing with one's pornography past (or present)
All of these where good, but the only one that I have never read in another book (or heard on a sermon dealing with marriage) was the chapter on friendship. Besides that the only thing that sets this book apart is how the Driscoll's deal with the controversial question posed as chapter 10, "Can we ____?" (the blank they fill in with a plethora of different sexual acts.)
In short, I only made it through 20 minutes of this controversial 64 minute chapter. I honestly felt dirty listening to this part. I found it absurd how explicit this portion of the book was getting and had to, for conscience sake and to not defile myself, skip to the next chapter.
In short, the high points of the book do not make it worth getting this book for the bad stuff in the book. As has been well noted, Driscoll continues to use the Song of Solomon as a sex manual, and his framework for what is allowed in the marriage bed is based off poor exegesis (this has been well documented throughout the years, see here and here and here and here for some examples.)
As has been pointed out by some it really overlooks the foundation of marriage (Christ and the church) and has about 10x more statistics than it does Scripture (even though some of that Scripture is twisted, I would contend.)
Though the book has SOME great practical advice, there is nothing new (besides that 10th chapter and chapter on friendship.), and sadly this book is #1 on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles already (and it just came out today.) As a brother in Christ I urge you in no way to support this book. If the good stuff from above sounds helpful to you then let me suggest alternative books for the issues above (some even recommended by this book itself):
practical complementarianism (check out complementarian resources from the Centern for Biblical Manhood & Womenhood.)
Being a friend to our spouses (not sure where to go to find some good resources on this.)
Dealing with conflict in marriage (The Peacemaker or Resolving Everyday Conflict both by Ken Sande)
the need for repentance and grace in marriage (same two books as above)
help for those who have been sexually abused (Rid of My Disgrace)
dealing with one's pornography past (or present) (Sexual Detox by Tim Challies)
As for dealing with the foundations of marriage I would recommend John Piper's "This Momentary Marriage".
- Answers for those "Can we ___" questions
The Dricolls make a very poignant point when they point out that it the last day of a couple's marriage that is the most important. This in a day when thousands and thousands are spent on the first day of marriage to make it special. While a nice wedding is great, the Driscoll's point out that the longevity and love within the marriage is God's desire for us.
Many of the topics covered in the book such as love languages and date nights have been covered in many other books on marriage. Where the Driscolls have hit a home run in my opinion, is their use of scripture passages to justify and support very specific answers for some of the marital topics that few ministers will go near such as what is appropriate and acceptable in a couple's intimacy. They employ a threefold analysis of each topic comprising 1) Is this lawful (both by secular and God's laws, 2) Is it helpful (does it bring a couple together or push them apart), 3) Is it enslaving (does it pull one or both partners away from each other into slavery to the action.
The authors finish the book with a view toward marriage that they term "Reverse-Engineering Your Life and Marriage." The idea that they present is to look at where you want to be and then look at the ways that you can change or structure your life and marriage to get to the place that you want to be. In business we often set goals and develop action paths to obtain those goals but so often in marriage, we just kind of waffle along hoping that someday our marriage will be wonderful. Anyone who has been married for a long time understands that the meandering approach does not work. It is only with intentional effort, that we develop into true friends and lovers with our spouse.
William Dufris and Tavia Gilbert did an excellent job of narration. They really sound like a husband and wife discussing these issues of marriage.
Great job Mark and Grace Driscoll!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this audiobook free from Christianaudio as part of their Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
- A real book about marriage issues
I really enjoyed this book. Sometimes when I read marriage books I feel like we are dealing with perfect people. Mark is very open about his marriage struggles and offers advice on many topics.
I really liked how they talked about marriage being a friendship. To many times we overlook that aspect of marriage, but Mark and Grace really focused on that aspect and the importance of actually enjoying the man or woman you live with.
There is a lot of talk about Sex, but shockingly that is a huge part of marriage. Its about time we hear about sex from a Christian perspective. I know some people will disagree, but I found it refreshing. I would much rather read about sex than talk with my pastor about it.
I would highly recommend this audio book. Its nice that its read by two different people (a man and a woman). It helps break up the chapters.
- Very Insightful
I am very glad that Mark and Grace Driscoll wrote this book. For years I have heard Mark say that their marriage was very strained in the first ten years, but he never went into details. In this book, they go into details about their struggles and they show from experience that problems are worth wrestling through. They walk the reader through their failures and struggles and how their reactions often deepened their marital conflict. This book tackles many issues from friendship to leadership to sex and it does so in the typical Mark Driscoll way. The section on friendship was very helpful. And it is my hope that my friendship with my wife will grow as a result of this book. They give very practical steps to help spouses reconnect as friends. This book can be very technical at times. And sometimes the statistics can be a bit excessive for an audiobook. I wish that there was more content that was coming from Grace’s perspective. The parts that she wrote were so insightful and I will listen to those sections again. Also, I did not think that the narrator was the right person to be reading Mark’s lines. There are many things which would not have sounded corny for Mark to say, but it sounded very corny when the narrator read it. This was a very challenging, instructive and thought-provoking book.
Thank you Christianaudio reviewers program.
- An Honest Look at Marriage
If you are looking for an honest view of marriage from a solid, respected, grounded couple, Mark and Grace Driscoll’s Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship & Life Together is the place to go. The first part of the book cover topics ranging from friendship in marriage and the roles of each spouse. The second part covers the reality of marriage in a fallen world. Finally, the third section (the final chapter) is a practical application, workbook style encouragement to actually apply the book to everyday life.
The Driscoll’s primary thesis seems to be that the foundation of every healthy, godly marriage should be friendship. They note that virtually no books on marriage written from a christian perspective emphasis the importance of, let alone how to develop friendship in marriage. I appreciate this insight and realize that every marriage that I respect and look to as a model of health, have at the foundation, a solid friendship. Who would have imagined that the junior high desire to “just be friends” would be the roadway to a healthy marriage? Certainly the Driscoll’s do not limit their helpfulness to this truth.
The Driscoll’s are radically honest in the book and, to some degree, provide an open book to the reality of the suffering experienced in their marriage. One cannot appreciate enough the humility, and courage, of this couple to expose themselves. As a pastor Mark Driscoll is accustomed to this, but to put it in writing seems to take significant humility. Grace Driscoll shares her experience of abuse in a previous relationship and an entire chapter speaks to those who have experienced similar abuse. As a pastor and counselor, I see daily the reality of sexual trauma that leaves lives in ruin, and value the ministry of Mars Hill Church and their efforts to plow the way of a Christian response to sexual trauma. They point readers to the Holcomb’s book Rid of My Disgrace and Wilkerson’s Redemption.
A final reflection is that the Driscoll’s go where many will not go when writing about marriage from a Christian perspective. They provide transparent answers about sex. The chapters on roles is biblical, and thus helpful. The second section of the book faces head on suffering that might impact marriages. For these reasons the book is accurately titled, and will be on my list of books to recommend to those I counsel.
The review is brought to you by the christianaudio.com reviewers program.
- Straight and to the point, an Excellent Read!
I was provided with an advance copy of this book through Christianaudio.com reviewers program.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was excited at the possibility that this would be the answer to my prayers for healing my marriage. While I am not sure it will actually change anything in a tired and worn out old marriage, it may just be what a newly married couple could use to start out strong.
I had never heard of these authors before and so I had no background information on them. After listening to this book I felt a disappointment that their church was so far away. It would have been a church I would have made a point to attend. I did feel an honesty and sincerity from them, that they really do care about their congregation and the marriages of each and every one of us. Its the most sincerity I have heard from a pastor and his wife in a very long time, if not ever. This book created a desire in me to seek out more information about their church, podcasts, and any other teaching tools they may offer. I have never read or listened to a book that stirred this much emotion before. I liked the honesty of these authors and their willingness to let us into their personal lives so that we can learn from their experiences and apply what they have learned to our own lives. They are sincere in their desire to help all couples get through the rough spots in their marriage and lead better, happier lives.
This book would be especially good for newlyweds, or perhaps even a strained marriage where both the husband and the wife would both read the book at the same time. I believe this book will produce better results if read by both partners and not just one. (I don't remember if they said so or not, but this is probably the intention of the authors as well.) The benefit of this being that you could discuss each chapter with your spouse and grow together in the direction of changing your marriage for the better. Personally I don't think this would benefit one person reading it without the other spouse participating. Especially in a worn out tired marriage on the brinks of unraveling. I do highly recommend giving two copies as a wedding gift for that newly married couple with hopes that they would read it often as a reminder of how to work together for a truly happy and fulfilled marriage.
This book has a lot of great information. I truly enjoyed listening to it and suggest sitting down with a pen and notebook before you start. There is a lot of information and biblical references you will want to jot down and make note of so you can look them up for yourself and apply them to your life. I believe there is even an accompanying journal specifically made for this book which I would highly suggest purchasing as well. Chapters 3, 4, 5, & 11 were highly meaningful to me and I intend to go back over these chapters often.
Chapters 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, & 11, are read by a man whose voice sounds nice and crisp.
Chapters 4 & 7 are read by a woman.
Chapter 1, 2, 9, are a collaboration of both authors each putting their thoughts into the chapter topic. The last three minutes of chapter 6 also contain her thoughts and input.
I would much rather hear this particular book read by the authors, that way I know the text is presented to me accurately and as intended. It also would add to the intimacy between the authors and the reader by drawing you in as though you are right there and they are talking directly to you. A book such as this, dealing with such intimate topics, would benefit from being read by the actual authors instead of hired professionals.
The way Chapter 10 begins it sounds as if the book slipped through the editing process and makes no sense at all. After re-playing it several times I finally understood the chapter was intentionally written to sound interrupted. It starts out "Can we...." then a quote is read and it repeats "Can we....." then more reading by the man. The chapter is then finally brought together as a chapter of questions these authors are often asked. This is one of the more graphic chapters in that it deals with the questions of what is allowed in a marriage or is biblically acceptable for a husband and wife to do with or to each other. Again this would be great information for a newlywed couple to give them a good solid ground to start out with. Knowing this information would have been a huge benefit to my own marriage, and I wouldn't be finding myself here over twenty years later trying to read a book to repair my own broken marriage.
Chapter 3 states that it is primarily for the husband, but the wife is more than welcome to listen to it as well, and I would highly encourage the wife to listen to it regardless. This chapter if listened to by the wife, will at least let her know what is expected of the husband and how or why he is doing the things he is doing, as well as letting the wife know what she needs to be letting him do. It will go a long way in the process of making a marriage work and flow smoothly.
The chapters of this book are:
Chapter 1: Marriage. Addresses rejuvenating your old marriage with the same spouse. This chapter doesn't give you any actual information on how to accomplish this with your own marriage, but you get to hear how the authors cleaned up and rejuvenated their own marriage. Perhaps some points could be gleaned from this chapter and applied to your marriage.
Chapter 2: Friend with benefits. Becoming a friend with your husband.
Chapter 3: Men & Marriage.
Chapter 4: The Respectful Wife. A very good chapter. One to go back and re-read over again and again.
Chapter 5: Taking Out The Trash. Getting the sin out of your marriage by repentance and forgiveness. An unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. How to have a healthy fight with your spouse.
Chapter 6 : Sex; God, Gross, or Gift? Discussion of sex as a God and defining the boundaries of this classification. The history of sex being gross and the interpretation of the Song of Songs. Good biblical information on this topic ending with sex being a gift from God to each other. Six purposes of sex: 1) Pleasure 2) Children 3) Oneness 4) Knowledge 5) Protection 6) Comfort
Chapter 7: Disgrace & Grace. The authors explain the abuse Grace went through before being married to Mark and discuss the transformation of their own marriage through the revelation of this information.
Chapter 8: The Porn Path. Graphic detailed information with studies & insight into this topic.
Chapter 9: Selfish Lovers & Servant Lovers. History of sex and marriage. Putting the time and effort into your sex life to make it the best it can be. Song of Songs in detail.
Chapter 10: Can We. A question and answer discussion in very graphic detail about common & controversial sex related questions. Excellent and to the point chapter, highly recommended for newlyweds. Explaning what a couple may do in their marriage, not what they must do. The author directs the reader who has more questions to the ebook part V or his website: www.pastormark.tv. Each question addressed is evaluated by three points 1) Is it lawful? Either by culture or by God. 2) Is it helpful? Will it pull apart a couple as one or push them apart as two. 3) Is it enslaving? Can it become obsessive, out of control, or addictive in an unhealthy way.
Chapter 11: Reverse Engineering Your Life and Marriage. Working on your marriage so that the last day of your marriage is a day to rejoice in a life lived together with the gift your spouse was to you, and not a day ending with regrets or divorce. Creating a plan to make your marriage the best one ever. This chapter is filled with history of the authors life and his life changing insight to help you repair your own marriage.
- Some helpful content, but not recommended overall
This is a substantial book, excellently narrated by William Dufris and Tavia Gilbert.
Note: this review is suitable only for adults.
The subject matter is arranged into three sections; one which focuses upon concepts of marriage, one that focuses specifically on sex, and one which looks at planning life and lives as a whole. Particularly central in the earlier discussion is the theme of friendship as an interpretive key to a good marriage- this is particularly useful and a very helpful insight into marriage; I hope to hear more on this topic as it is a great way to look at the many underlying dynamics of a marriage. The way in which this introduces fresh Scripture to our understanding of marriage is particularly encouraging.
Later portions of the text focus upon pornography and abuse, both important topics. The treatment here leans heavily upon psychological and sociological concepts, but is (so far as I can tell) well researched and seems helpful. The Biblical response offered is, in general, based upon ‘confessing and talking things through’. Whilst there are useful examples and illustrations, Biblical work here is light, and I was left confused as to the Scriptural foundations behind what Pastor Driscoll teaches.
The final section seems to drop the Bible almost entirely as the teaching text, and presents the authors’ own method for ‘reverse engineering’ a life. (In mitigation, I should mention that the text does explain that this method was revealed specifically by God to Pastor Driscoll via a message God gave a friend of his.) I have not tried the method recommended so I cannot speak to its merit, although it seems (in general) like a fair mix of common sense, thoughtful advice, and the concept that some planning is better than no planning.
In terms of genre, my impression is that this book tries to be a Biblical commentary, a sociological text, and a how-to marriage book – all in one. This means that as you read it, there will be sections which are derived from Scripture, sections which lean quite heavily on contemporary sociological theory and research, and sections which are the Driscolls telling you things they think might be a good idea. In places, you will even find all three intertwined.
Personally, and it may be just a reflection of Pastor Driscoll’s specific church context, to me the book seems very unbalanced. To put it crudely, if a married couple spend half an hour every single day enjoying carnal relations – that’s 2% of their married lives… yet, this book gives the impression that marriage is all about sex. Sex comes up just about everywhere, and even gets the major section of the book devoted to it. In fact, if I were to guess what Pastor Driscoll thinks marriage is mostly about (based on this book alone), I’d have to say that it seems he believes that marriage is about sex… and that the more this features in a marriage, the better the marriage is. Somehow, sex seems to be offered as both the underlying problem (lack thereof) and solution (more thereof) to too many of the problems discussed in this book.
In fact, it goes further. This book does not just discuss sex. The authors saw fit to go through a list of specific sex or sex-like acts they think married couples might possibly want to engage in. In turn, they discuss whether other people are doing these things, and whether they fit into a specific Biblically-derived grid. If the Scripture (according to Pastor Driscoll) technically allows something – then he gives it the green light, with cautions as he thinks required.
What did I think of that section? I’ve had difficulty working out how to put the statement best, so I’ll try analogy. Imagine you sat down to watch a DVD entitled ‘Moses’, as recommended by a respected pastor – only to turn it on and find it to actually be pornography. That response of shock, betrayal, and disgust approximately matches mine in sitting down with great hopes of learning about Real Marriage from a highly respected pastor only to find it to contain such open and explicit sexual crudity that it I sincerely doubt it could be legally read aloud on television. St. Paul writes to the Ephesians saying “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29). I suggest that the right place for this kind of discussion is on occasions where those who hear will be built up by the discussion, and given grace – such as in a private pastoral counselling session or in pastoral counselling resources: not in a mainstream publication for all married couples without distinction.
Theologically, I do not think that Pastor Driscoll does a good job answering the questions either. Without being willing to discuss the details of such crude topics, I will say only that he neither engages properly with Scripture nor applies a theology of natural law to his answers. A simple interpretive grid is a useful tool, but it cannot ever replace proper Biblical theology that takes into account all of Scripture; and it is this latter work that Mark Driscoll, as a pastor of Christ’s flock, should be doing.
As to the rest of the book, although there is a major focus on ‘one-ness’ (particularly through sexual activities), we hear very little about the true foundation of marriage: the reality of man and wife being actually and entirely united by God as one flesh. This being the case, I felt disappointed that the whole shape of the book was one in which couples work to transform ‘where they are’ into a ‘real marriage’, rather than couples already joined by God in ‘real marriage’ working to live out the spousal vocation into which God has called them to His Glory. Stylistically, the lives of the authors are used as examples and illustrations throughout the work, which has the advantage of giving the text some specifics, but the disadvantage of making it seem to be all about Mark and Grace Driscoll rather than all about marriage.
For many of the reasons above, and despite substantial sections of useful and edifying content, I can’t recommend this book to anyone.
christianaudio were kind enough to offer me the chance to review the pre-release version of Mark Driscoll’s latest book, ‘Real Marriage’, co-authored with his wife Grace.
- Real Marriage gets real in classic Driscoll style
Depending on what circles your in, Mark Driscoll is sure to create a reaction – despite controversy however, many evangelicals acknowledge respectfully, and affirm Mark’s ministry and call. With Mark you can be assured of a shock factor, and in our culture today of 140 characters or less, smartphones and anti-intellectualism, people don’t stop long enough to meditate on life and Mark & Grace remind us again, this time in the biblical context of a covenant marriage.
What I appreciate about Mark’s ministry is that he/they comes out swinging, and in the ‘Preface’ he does it with “How Not to Read This book” - addressing the sin we bring to marriage books/materials sometimes. It reminded me of the many times I read something in a marriage book and highlighted it so when I passed it onto Connie she would ‘get’ the gentle nudge of the ‘holy spirit highlighter’ and make a change. With the controversy over this book and series, he also addresses an area I don’t see quoted – “If your reading this book to feed your sexual perversion, then don’t read it” which probably would have knocked out 75% of the reviews I have read.
This book was timely, interesting, and was very convicting in especially the first six chapters. Connie and I had some great discussions generated by this material, and after my second listen, I will be passing it along to marriages that I think could benefit as well. It did challenge, inspire, and enlighten me in ways that I was NOT loving my wife, which is a good reminder as I find the tendency sometimes to have an ‘I already know that…pride’ when coming to discipleship materials. The Driscoll’s also made me think about the continued importance of having Connie with me in marriage discipleship sessions and giving her more shared teaching moments to assist men to love their wives.
As always, Mark holds your attention and the information was presented in a cohesive, yet appealing manner, with real language and speaking about the elephants in the room, something I appreciate about Mark’s ministry and call. I am also strongly convinced that the Driscoll’s successfully conveyed Biblical truth, however references to the 5 Love Languages and Arteburn’s work were not helpful when there is better biblical material out there to drive home the same points without giving us tasks, check boxes, or psychobabble. I would recommend this book to others and will, in all forms to serve the audiences that Connie and regularly interact in.
Another fantastic review of this work can be found here, and some further marriage resources can be found at;
Biblical Counselor Newsletter (Marriage & Parenting)
*live links can be seen at: http://diakrinomusings.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/real-marriage-the-truth-about-sex-friendship-and-life-togethermark-grace-driscoll-audiobook-review/
- Real, Thorough and Helpful Book on Marriage
My first experience with authors and pastors Mark and Grace Driscoll was through their series called The Peasant Princess, which focused on the poetic book of the Bible, Song Of Solomon, and its application to marriage and in particular sexual relations in marriage. Real Marriage in many ways is an extension on this solid teaching, as well as containing further teaching on male and female roles in a Christian marriage.
The initial chapters on their marriage testimony and the area of friendship were quite inspiring for their incredible honesty and dedication to share their failures and hard earned principles, so that other marriages will not have to suffer the same problems. Latter chapters build on this sometimes brutal honesty to create a truly real book on marriage that can be used for the benefit of many marriages.
The narration is brilliant, at first I thought it was actually Mark and Grace reading the book because they used similar mannerisms to the Driscolls and the audio book flowed smoothly even with two narrators.
This book is a must for any married couple who really wants to improve their marriage and a helpful resource for single people who plan to be married in the near future. It provides real examples and helpful suggestions on how to improve already good marriages and guidance to get marriages back on track that have deteriorated over the years.
This audio book was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. More information can be found about this and other Christian audio books at christianaudio.com.
- Pleasantly surprised
When they named this Real Marriage, they meant it. No holds barred. Mark & Grace are both very open about their personal lives, as well as topics they face in ministering to the current blunt, and for the most part, untrained in any morals generation.
But my surprise was in how graciously and biblically they dealt with and conveyed these issues. I didn't agree with all Driscoll's conclusions, but I felt he treated them all graciously, and truly tried to deal with the issues biblically, unlike many so-called "Christian" marriage books do. (So many are merely pop psychology with a Christian label on them.)
I liked that both a male and a female reader were used for reading the appropriate sections by Mark and Grace, but didn't particularly care for the style of the readers (particularly male). But rather than grating worse as it went on, I got more used to it.
I don't know that I heard anything that wasn't in other marriage books, but appreciate the solid biblical approach of this one. I've not been a fan of Driscoll in the past, therefore the "pleasantly surprised."
- Real and honest
I have been a listener of Mark Driscoll's podcasts for years and have enjoyed listening to him preach. This book is his (and his wife's Grace) first book on marriage, which is apparently also launching their first nationwide marriage conference tour. I found the book to be rather engaging, much like Driscoll's preaching style. The Driscolls' aim in the book seems to be to present a modern relevant "Biblical" view of marriage to modern Christians.
The good: Much of this book is very good. The narration was quite excellent as there was a male and female narrators to read the relevant sections of the book that either Mark or Grace wrote. It was clear and understandable. Grace gives much of her back story that many of us have never heard through the Mars Hill podcasts. It helps us men to appreciate loving our wives even more and reaching out to them. Mark gives a lot of information as well about his story and how Grace and he came together and where they are at now. Much of this book is more autobiographical than anything else, which is very helpful. The Driscolls are very honest about how their marriage was falling apart and how it was put back together through God's grace and the help of Godly people.
The bad: While the book may be culturally relevant to the people of Seattle, and maybe the rest of the West coast, I'm not so sure how relevant it is to those of us in the deep South (Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi). The chapter on sex and what's lawful and helpful is mostly what I'm referring to. I like how Driscoll frames it in the form of questions as to whether it's lawful (most is lawful), and helpful (he comes to the conclusion that most is, within the context of marriage). However, I don't think I do agree with him that most of it's helpful. I've heard this stuff before from him through his podcasts and I didn't find it helpful then. Basically, I think he's going a little far. Tim LaHaye came close to what Driscoll is doing with a little book on marriage in the '70s, so this isn't anything new. If you easily get embarrassed, then this section of the book will definitely get to you.
Overall, the book is well-written and should provide for a new perspective on marriage from a couple who has been through tough times. Much of the book is helpful and should help couples to examine their marriages and bring them closer together. As others have expressed, and I express now, there's one section of the book that will bring lots of debates in the months to come.
- A real guide for real people
Real Marriage is written by Mark and Grace Driscoll and narrated by William Dufris and Tavia Gilbert. Mark Driscoll is the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. Mars Hill is one of the fastest growing churches in America. I've heard multiple sermons by Driscoll and he stays very faithful to the Bible. While he might be unorthodox to some, he is focused on Jesus and helping people meet him.
The premise of the book is that its a book about marriage for real people. They've nailed it. To me, this book makes all other Biblically based marriage books seem like theory. In college, there are two types of professors. There are those who have been teachers their entire career and those are who teaching after being successful in their field. The former teach theory and the latter teach application. The Driscolls are teaching application. They help answer common questions about what marriage is really about. They discuss common problems, practical solutions, and potential pitfalls. I highly recommend this to teenagers, young adults, parents, and even grandparents. If I took one thing from this book is that marriage takes effort and God's grace though Jesus.
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