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Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together Hardcover – January 2, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 600 customer reviews

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About the Author

Pastor Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington and is one of the world's most-downloaded and quoted pastors. His audience--fans and critics alike--spans the theological and cultural left and right. He was also named one of the "25 Most Influential Pastors of the Past 25 Years" by Preaching magazine, and his sermons are consistently #1 on iTunes each week for Religion & Spirituality with over 10 million of downloads each year.

Pastor Mark received a B.A. in Speech Communication from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University, and he holds a masters degree in Exegetical Theology from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of fifteen books.

In 1996, at the age of twenty-five, Pastor Mark and his wife, Grace, with the vision to make disciples of Jesus and plant churches, started a small Bible study at their home in Seattle, which at the time was the least churched city in America. Since that time, by God's grace, the church has exploded with upwards of nineteen thousand people meeting across thirteen locations in four states (Washington, Oregon, California, and New Mexico). Mars Hill has been recognized as the 54th largest, 30th fastest-growing, and 2nd most-innovative church in America by Outreach magazine.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140020383X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400203833
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (600 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Leigh on January 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover
This book disturbed me, so much so that my visceral reaction was "I want to protect my daughter from men like Mark Driscoll."

The first half of the book is an intermingling of personal narrative and pastoral counsel. The personal narrative is primarily a specific and detailed litany of Grace's sins against Mark (i.e., cutting her hair, being late, lying during premarital counseling, withholding sex, and not being adventurous enough in the bedroom). There is no corresponding litany of Mark's sins. The only sins Mark admits to are: a) purity code violations prior to marriage; and b) sinful responses to Grace's sins against him.

Mark does tell how he has changed his behavior, replacing sinful responses with godly responses. But, he never takes the next step of rewriting his story in a way that acknowledges his full complicity in the Driscoll family sin drama. Grace remains the lead sinner, while Mark plays only a supporting role. Despite a chapter title to the contrary, there's precious little grace in this story.

This is very important because it is the personal narrative in the first half of the book - not the pastoral counsel in the first half of the book - that becomes the implicit framework for the practical counsel on sex in the second half of the book. Mark did/men do struggle with purity, so there's a great discussion of porn. But apart from that, selfishness in the bedroom is assigned to Grace/the wife. Chapter 9 is ostensibly a general discussion of selfish versus servant love in the bedroom. In principle, that could have been the jumping off point for a balanced discussion of the variety of ways in which husbands and wives struggle to be selfless in the bedroom.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A Church home group I am in used this book for a series of meetings. Here is the review I wrote of this book after that experience:

My response to reading the book Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll:

Prior to beginning this home group study I had never heard of Mark and Grace Driscoll. After having read the first four chapters of the book I have come to the conclusion that there is a pervasive and significant underlying belief in the doctrine of male dominance throughout the work. I personally do not believe this is an accurate representation of God's intent for the roles of men and women. The doctrine of male dominance, simply stated, is that it is God's will that women are to be ruled over, controlled by, and dominated by men - particularly their husbands - in family, Church, and civic life.

While the belief in the rectitude or correctness of male dominance has long been held by many in both secular and Church circles, I along with many Biblical scholars, theologians, and teachers disagree with this belief. Much of the history recorded in the Bible demonstrates the reality of male dominance. I believe that a proper understanding of scripture demonstrates that this is a result of sin entering into the world rather than being God's intent for mankind. The Genesis account of the fall of man clearly states that man's rule over women was part of the curse brought about by sin and not part of God's original intent for marriage or man-woman relations. Before the fall, God directed man and woman to collectively rule as equals, with neither one being appointed ruler over the other (Genesis 1:26-28). After the fall it was proclaimed as part of the curse of sin that man would rule over woman (Genesis 3:16).
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