Monday, 27 February 2012

Book Review: Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship and life together

In Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship and life together, Mark and Grace Driscoll openly communicate the reality of their marriage, sharing their difficulties, struggles and success (how they overcame their difficulties) to the world. This book is frank, transparent and pastoral in that it aims to help marriages to stand on the solid rock which is Christ and to be rooted in the Gospel. It emphasises friendship to be a key factor in a good marriage. They write “All the talk about spending time and doing life together, making memories, being a good listener, growing old and taking care of each other, being honest, having the long view of things, repenting and forgiving can be summed up in one word—friendship." Repentance and forgiveness are to be continual in a marriage because both are sinners. A refusal to endure in the willingness to forgive and repent may result in living a bitter marriage and a loveless ordeal. Commenting on the story of John Wesley’s marriage which some biographers have called the “30 years war” the Driscolls write “The painful story of the Wesleys reminds us that there are no loving marriages apart from repentance and forgiveness, Marriage either gets bitter or gets better.”

The book is divided into three parts which have chapters consequently related to the title of the different sections. Part 1 deals with Marriage, Part 2 Sex and Part 3 The last day. Each chapter of the section will appeal to different audiences and because the book is written by the couple, there are different addresses directed to only one part of the sexes. Mark and Grace are complimentarian in their views on marriage but even those with differing perspective can learn and gain an helpful insight into marital issues and how to overcome them biblically.

Part 2 of Real Marriage deals heavily with sex answering questions of what a married couple may do in their marital bed. Mark and Grace list a variety of sexual acts and using three criteria’s to judge whether these acts are permissible. Mark and Grace promote a positive view of sex declaring that sex is a gift from God rather than sex being gross. Sex is to be enjoyed and should be used to God's glory.

Reading this book as an unmarried man, I have enjoyed the openness and frankness of Mark’s and Grace portrayal of their own marriage. In some way it has prepared me for some of the challenges that are likely to occur if one day I do get married and the best ways to prevent some of the problems occurring and how to tackle them when they do. This book has benefits to all, those in marriages and those thinking about marriage. One has to be aware of the explicitness of the details prescribed in chapter 10 where the authors answer questions on what sexual activity are permissible. In approaching these chapters one has to be prepared and guard their heart from wandering into fantasy of what these acts entail but rather if married to talk it through with their wife and if single and know not of these things to seek out their meanings in non-pornographic materials.

Purchase Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship and life together at


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