[From Julie] I recently read Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll and for those of you looking for a marriage resource that is interesting and practical than this is a good choice for you. If you have watched the Peasant Princess sermon series that Mark Driscoll gave in 2008 than much of the book will seem familiar although explored more deeply. I find the Driscolls encouraging and straight forward in their ministry. If you take the time to pick this book up than you need to be prepared for some frank discussion but I would encourage you to read and consider it all. Both Mark and Grace are honest about the sin and lies in their own marriage and the damage that caused for them. They also give God the glory for their marriage as it is now. They made it through some tough years.
The book brings to light that friendship is a key component of marriage. Not many marriage books deal with this aspect of the marital relationship and yet it is very important. The Driscolls have many practical suggestions for how to work on the friendship aspect of your marriage. Both Mark and Grace take the opportunity to instruct men and women respectively to be Christ-like husbands and respectful wives. All very practical and helpful. The book has an excellent chapter dealing with repentance and forgiveness and the affects of bitterness if you have difficulty forgiving. This is applicable to all since we are all going to hurt our spouse and be hurt by our spouse at some point along the way. We live in a fallen world and we need to learn how to forgive well.
Mark and Grace deal with the issue of sex as a gift from God and intended for enjoyment. Grace also shares her history of abuse and her road to redemption. Mark discussed the issue of pornography and lust and the effects it can have on your marriage. I enjoyed the chapter on Selfish and Servant Lovers. I would encourage every married couple to consider this concept and discuss it together. The Driscolls have also included a chapter answering some of the sex related questions they have been asked over the years in an attempt to provide some Biblical guidance for couples. They have been criticized for being too frank and discussing some things that do not need to be talked about. I was not at all put out by their answers and I think that they have a good way to evaluated whether a particular act is appropriate. They suggest that a couple consider whether the act is lawful, helpful or enslaving. It’s good because it allows you to faithful discern Biblical teaching and apply it in your own life. This approach leaves room for couples to make their own decisions about what is okay for them. Some things may not be a good idea for some but enjoyable for others. You may not agree with all the conclusions they come to but this is a marriage book so we need to discuss all aspects of marriage including sex. This chapter is very bold but what else should we expect from Driscoll. Overall it’s a great read. Enjoy.
In addition to the book the Driscolls and Mars Hill Church have developed curriculum for small groups to go along with the book. At the present time Mark is also speaking through the book in a sermon series called Real Marriage that you can watch on-line at the church website. I’ve watched first five sessions so far and found them very good. I hope you all get a change to enjoy some of their resources.