One of the books I finished reading together with my husband before 2012 ended was Real Marriage, The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together by Mark and Grace Driscoll. I have quite a handful of thoughts about this very controversial book. While I would love to tackle on each and every controversial detail, I am only limited to a number of words. Since as a Thomas Nelson book reviewer, we are not encouraged to be lengthy, and make the review too informative.
Amongst all the books we have read, Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll is hands down the most brutally honest book on marriage. And that is not an exaggeration.
Just to give you an idea, here’s the book description from Thomas Nelson:
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 day to rejoice in the life you lived together?
Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace, want you to finish well on the last day. From the importance of date nights to answers to the most tricky “can we do that?” sex questions, they share practical help and hope with people just like them—who entered marriage a complete mess—or who are planning to be married someday and want to avoid some sticky pitfalls.
Together Pastor Mark and Grace tackle the tough issues, such as:
–Why being your spouse’s best friend changes everything and how to achieve it.
–Pornography and sexual sin inside and outside of marriage.
–Submission and respect – marriage’s most misunderstood tenets-and what they should really look like.
–Honoring your spouse emotionally, technologically, and financially.
–What the Bible says about masturbation and oral sex.
–The “Can we do that?” questions you’re too embarrassed to ask your pastor.
–How to deal with intimacy issues and create the joyful and fun sex life God intended you to have.
–What type of man or woman are you? What type of lover are you? And what type of marriage do you have?
While some might criticize Mark and Grace for possibly over sharing things (e.g. Grace’s premarital infidelity), I think this can be an avenue where some couples who had been in a similar predicament can be ministered to. Reminds me of the verse, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Allowing us to see that sexual struggles are everywhere and there actually is a way out.
One of my personal favorite parts of the book is the chapter where the Driscoll couple answered questions about marriage, sex, family planning, sex toys, even cosmetic surgery! Topics you will not normally encounter in Christian books but must have thought of what the Bible says about them at one time or another. In each and every topic, the questions “Is it lawful?”, “Is it helpful?” and “Is it enslaving?” are asked. Giving us, readers, more than just answers but thought provoking questions that will lead us to truths behind the answers.
It was also the first time I have read about The Pill having not one but three purposes for birth control. Reading through this chapter has allowed for me and my husband to have a definite stand on The Pill being a method of birth control.
1. First, The Pill exists to inhibit ovulation which is its primary means of birth control.
2. Second, The Pill thickens the cervical mucus with the effect that it becomes more difficult for sperm to travel to the egg.
3. Third, The Pill thins and shrivels the lining of the uterus so it is unable or less able to facilitate the implantation of the newly fertilized egg.
On the third function of The Pill, Reproductive Endocrinologists have demonstrated that Pill-induced changes cause the endometrium to appear hostile or poorly receptive to implantation. Furthermore, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that the endometrial lining of Pill-users is consistently thinner than non-Pill users – up to 58% thinner.
While the first two purposes of The Pill can be contraceptive in nature and are acceptable to Christian couples, the third function is potentially abortive as it can disrupt the ongoing life of a fertilized egg. This fact, I believe, a lot of people are clueless about – like I was. Other birth control methods that are abortive in nature are the Morning-Pill (RU-486) and Intrauterine Device (IUD). Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers of Mayo Graduate School of Medicine studied and eventually concluded that “The primary action of the IUD must be classified as an abortifacient.”
I was not meaning to blog a lengthly review on The Driscoll’s Real Marriage. But believe me when I say, that there are so many things to learn in this 249 page book. I love their transparency and their heart to minister to couples and families like no other minister has attempted (as far as I know) before, in this area, at least.
And despite the one issue that I do not exactly agree with in this book, I strongly believe that it is a good book filled with Biblical principles married and engaged couples can greatly benefit from. 🙂
Disclosure: I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishing for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.