It started with a sermon series called “The Peasant Princess” about the Song of Songs. My husband and I started listening to this series a while ago when our marriage was in need of a serious boost. (Confession: we haven’t finished the series but hope to go back to it soon.) During that series, the pastor, Mark Driscoll, revealed that he and his wife, Grace, were writing a book on marriage. Based on the insights I was gleaning from the sermon series, I considered the book a must-read before I even knew when it was releasing.
When I had the chance to get my hands on Real Marriage: the Truth about Sex, Friendship and Life Together for free through the publisher’s blogging program, I grabbed it.
I would have paid money for this book, though. The Driscolls haven’t just written a book on marriage. They’ve written THE book on marriage. They pull no punches when it comes to the foundation for a successful marriage (friendship), how to have a fulfilling love life (serve one another), and keeping hope alive (plan and dream about the future). The book is part memoir — the Driscolls honestly talk about their mistakes before marriage, the early years of their life together when they weren’t living “happily ever after” and what it took to overcome and change all that — and part handbook. A good chunk toward the end of the book offers a blueprint for intentionality in marriage. It’s like homework, but I’m really excited to dig into it with my husband and dream about all our marriage can be.
If your marriage is new, Real Marriage can help you avoid some common — and maybe not-so-common — pitfalls. At the very least, it’s encouraging that no matter your past or current experience, a great marriage is possible.
If you’re in the pre-marriage stage — engaged or nearly engaged, then Real Marriage would be useful in a premarital counseling setting. I consider some parts of the book “for marrieds or to-be-marrieds only” so use discretion if you’re in the single-and-looking category.
If your marriage is seasoned with years, use this book as a way to connect with younger married couples and pre-married couples around you.
FAVORITES: The reverse-engineering plan at the end of the book. I love practical application. It would be a shame to have read this book and not known what to do with the information. The plan offers a lengthy and detailed examination of your marriage and where you want it to go. Like I said earlier, I’m excited for this.
FAULTS: The Driscolls take firm stances on just about everything. I disagreed with them on a few points, and at times I felt like they were portraying themselves as the only couple with the truth about marriage. It’s irritating but not a deal-breaker for reading the book. The Driscolls even give that as a warning in the preface “How Not to Read this Book,” saying that they strive to be biblical but are imperfect and will make mistakes.
IN A WORD: Real. Okay, so it’s in the title of the book, but the Driscolls are Real (capital “R” intended) about everything from their lives before marriage and the mistakes they’ve made since to the hyper-sexualized culture we live in. Seriously, there were times in this book I was almost blushing because of how frank they are in discussing certain topics. But an unwillingness in the church to discuss sex and the questions everyone’s thinking but no one dares ask can lead to an unhealthy and ungodly view of sex and marriage as God intended. I’m sure writing the book couldn’t have been easy, but bravo to the Driscolls for holding nothing back.
In exchange for this review, I received a free copy of Real Marriage: the Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together from Thomas Nelson Publishers.