420 of 461 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together (Kindle Edition)
This is the first book I've read by Mark Driscoll. I'll admit it: I was drawn in by a desire to see what all the fuss is about. After reading it, my conclusion is that there's more smoke than fire. Sure, some of the content is going to be shocking to some folks, but other books on Christian marriage also cover the same topics--better.
The first part of the book is about marriage. Mark and Grace share bluntly about their marriage and sexual history, including Grace's history of sexual assault. Mark also talks quite bluntly about a period in their marriage when Grace was what he describes as "frigid." On one hand I appreciate their transparency. Their story shows the difficulties our sexual pasts can put on a marriage, and the hope of finding wholeness despite our pasts. On the other hand--well, we'll get that in a minute. They also emphasize the importance of friendship in marriage. Mark writes a chapter to men and Grace writes a chapter to women, both from the complementarian or male headship perspective. Chapter 5 talks about sin and how it affects our marriage relationships.
Part two is about sex. Chapter Six is a theology of sex. Chapter 7 is written by Grace and talks about healing from sexual abuse. Chapter 8 is a great explanation of the dangers and exploitation associated with pornography. Chapter 9 talks about the attitude we should have toward marital sex--servant as opposed to selfish. Chapter 10 is the infamous "Can we___" chapter--less shocking than some reviewers have made it out to be, though I disagree with some of his conclusions. And his approach. And his exegesis. We'll get to that in a minute, too.
The last chapter is a sort of "reverse engineering"--imagining what you want your marriage to be like in the future, and planning backwards so you live in a way that will get you there.
There were some things about the book I liked. I appreciated the candor with which Mark and Grace shared their story. I liked the emphasis on friendship within marriage. As I said above, I thought the chapter on pornography was well researched and well written. I also liked the reverse engineering concept as applied to marriage.
But there were a whole bunch of things I didn't like.
I really felt sorry for Grace in the first part of the book as I read Mark's treatment of her and emotional reponse to learning she had cheated on him--when they were in high school. Granted, he admits that he was sinful and has repented and been forgiven. Fine. And as a pastor's wife I know that no pastor's marriage is immune from conflict. One of the things that bugs me though, is that during this period of pretty intense marital and sexual conflict, he was apparently teaching on sexual freedom in marriage through the Song of Solomon--one of the series that really started garnering him serious attention, as well as counseling other couples on sex in their marriages. I'm not saying that pastors shouldn't preach on issues they don't have total victory in, but preaching on an area you're experiencing strong crisis in is not wise. I'm also not over the paragraph where he talked about a pregnant Grace cutting her hair as putting her needs as a mom over her role as a wife. Really?
I'm also not over the part where he tells men that they need to be providers so their wives will respect them and that a man whose wife works outside the home is worse than an unbeliever. Really?
I also disliked that in the chapter on selfish sex, every example of selfishness Driscoll gives is about *witholding* sex. Is it not also possible to be selfish in the way you *demand* sex? Or selfish in seeking your own pleasure without taking into consideration your spouse's needs? I felt this chapter was very much written from a male point of view.
Chapter 10--"Can we ____?" Heh. I had a couple thoughts here. Again, Driscoll does a great job in chapter 7 talking about the dangers of pornography. I wish that he had made the connnection that the reason folks are asking questions about the practices he discusses is because of the influence of pornography, whether directly or indirectly. I also think his grid: is it lawful? is it helpful? is it enslaving? is incomplete. Amongh other things, I'd add: is it holy? Driscoll also follow the evangelical trend of finding specific sexual acts described in the Song of Songs. It's poetry, people. Get a grip. There is one specific practice I can't name directly or I won't get past the filters that Driscoll winds up saying may be okay if both husband and wife are in agreement. On that issue I think he should really have stressed more the physical risk to the wife. I much prefer the discussion on the same topic in Kevin Leman's Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage.
There's some good stuff here, but it's so interwoven with problematic material that I'd have a hard time recommending this book to anyone, really. There's better books on marriage out there, folks. If you want to read something by Driscoll, great. If you really want a book about marriage or sex from a Christian perspective, go elsewhere.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 11, 2012 5:39:15 PM PDT
Shari Hopkinson says:
is there a book would would recommend?
Posted on Mar 12, 2012 7:35:21 AM PDT
It depends on what you're looking for. I recently read Happily Ever After by Gary Chapman and it was pretty good. It focuses on six common conflict areas and how to resolve them. One thing I appreciate about Chapman's writing is that he includes examples where _he_ was plainly wrong and needed to change, rather than presenting it as if it's always his wife's fault. Tim Keller's the Meaning of Marriage is on my to read list--I've heard very positive things about that book. For Men Only/For Women Only are good books at presenting the differences between men and women, and His Needs Her needs is a classic.
For something on sexuality in marriage, check out Sheet Music by Kevin Leman. It covers some of the same topics as Real Marriage, with a much more balanced and pleasant tone. Leman's book also talks about the different ways men and women view sex and how _both_ spouses can be less selfish in their attitudes toward sex. It's a vast improvement over that chapter in Real Marriage that heavily implies selfishness is the wife's problem.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2012 11:23:26 PM PDT
Dwight Hasbrouck says:
Chapter 10! YIKES! God does NOT approve of sodomy! That body part was created ONLY for elimination NOT penis and or toy penetration! Some sick stuff in this chapter! Not healthy true Christ centered advice!!!!!!!!!!!
Avoid this book at ALL cost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2012 7:43:09 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 1, 2012 1:21:26 PM PDT
In fairness, Driscoll has some good things to say in this book. In my opinion, however, the opinion outweighs the positive, hence the two star rating. And yes, that particular issue is one I think he gets wrong. As I said in the review, I think he should have emphasized better the physical risk to the wife. It illustrates for me that his rubric is incomplete.
Posted on Mar 31, 2012 7:47:53 PM PDT
Canuck Monk says:
Great review. I just finished reading the book a few days ago but I must have totally skipped through the part where Driscoll talks about a woman working outside the home whose husband is worse than an unbeliever. Would you happen to know the page number for that?
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2012 1:20:25 PM PDT
On my Kindle it's page 51. Ch 3, under the "Honor Your Wife Financially section." He quotes 1 Tim 5:8 and then goes on to apply it to the "weakest, most worthless men" who are shirking their responsibility as men by asking their wives to work outside the home.
In fairness, he does say "a wife working before kids are born, or who finds a way to make money from home without neglecting her first God-given responsibilties of Christian, wife, and mother is acceptable." "Acceptable." How generous of him. :-)
In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2012 12:44:42 PM PDT
And God said to the exclamation mark, "Be fruitful and multiply."
And yea, it was so.
Posted on May 16, 2012 11:35:40 PM PDT
J fin says:
I have read/listened to driscoll. I like him and his hard views...but after reading this review.. I think I may look elsewhere
Posted on Oct 10, 2012 9:17:55 AM PDT
Nate & Frances says:
Thank you for your review. I think it was very well put. I have not read the book and want to out of curiosity. Thank you
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2013 1:51:07 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 19, 2013 1:51:57 AM PST
I would note that in general, when the Bible speaks of sodomy, it is either referring to male to male penetration and/or ritual homosexuality, it never says it is wrong between a man and a woman specifically, this was an issue I struggled with for a very long time, and I am still not sure I am one way or the other on it, I think, everyone just needs to read the Bible and come to their own conclusion on it, as with anything.
God Bless ~Amy
PS: Ritual homosexuality is actually the definition of sodomy, in regards to the Bible in the New Testament...