Monday, January 16, 2012

Book Review: Real Marriage - The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together

Book Review: Real Marriage - The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together by Mark and Grace Driscoll

Disclosure: Occasionally I get access to books through a few different publishers who are willing to give you a free copy of a book for review. I haven't seen any that looked interesting for awhile until I saw this one on the list and the title intrigued me. A few days later and my advance reader's copy arrived new and shiny. . .

Real Marriage is not your average Christian marriage book. It strikes me as being radically authentic in a genre that is more so then most. Most books attempt to be authentic, but when the pastor and wife of one of North America's largest churches discusses their marriage failings in striking detail, you can't help but be impressed by their courage to share. Especially in the sexual department. I don't believe I've ever read a more vulnerable, exposing book on marriage. This frankness is applied to difficult topics in a way that is both jarring and refreshing.

The book felt a bit rough as well. I's so used to the spit and polish of self-help psychology books that I've recently been reading, that I was a bit turned off at first. Don't get me wrong, the authors are both great communicators, I think that the editor of this book stayed her hand more then is usual.

The authors approach marriage in a unique, Bible-centered, traditional, and explicit way. The first part of the book talks about marriage, the second about sex, and the third about what they call the "last day." In the same way that the couple is not afraid to share about their own intimate life, they share about the importance of love and submission. They also tackle sexual topics that have affected their own relationship including porn, sexual abuse, selfishness, etc. They include a great Q & A on sexual acts within marriage that ask 3 questions to each topic (modeled on Paul's thoughts to the Corinthians); is it lawful, is it helpful, is enslaving? Interesting that while the couple is traditional in their ideas of how men and women are supposed to relate, they are far from traditional on what they think is acceptable in married bedrooms! There is also great chapter on the topic of friendship in marriage ("Friends With Benefits") which I found unique and probably worth the price of the book. The last section is a unique exercise - reverse engineering your marriage to make it healthy and glorifying to God.

I liked this book overall - would be a great one to read with a spouse (can't really imagine reading it in a group setting, unless you know those people very well!). While it misses the research breadth of a therapist and the polish of a professional author, the book seems quite practical. I'm sure some would find it's understanding of roles difficult to swallow, and I didn't agree with everything they wrote, yet I believe the book has much to offer. I give it 4 ninja stars out of 5. Anyone else out there read it?

1 comment:

Terry L said...

Most of my reading is work related these days, or kids books. Mitchell especially likes Lil' Critter - To The Rescue! :)

Pretty dry stuff. Will have to make an effort to change that someday.

Any update on your Haiti excursion?