/**/ The Purposeful Wife: Book Review: Real Marriage

Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: Real Marriage

I have been really quite intimidated to write my review of Mark and Grace Driscoll's Real Marriage. Since it came out in January I've seen it everywhere, and everywhere it goes it seems to be creating a stir. So, for whatever it's worth, here are my thoughts.

I am encouraged. The Driscolls had a lot of obstacles in the way of developing a happy, healthy marriage. Personal sin, past hurts, and difficulty in relating to one another kept them miserable and distant for a very long time. And yet God in His grace was merciful to bring them to repentance, restoration, and rejoicing. Their testimony screams, "Where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more." And that is very encouraging. Wherever your marriage is, there is hope for improvement. The Driscolls found that hope in Christ, and it is to Christ that they point you.

I am challenged. Am I asking my husband if he thinks I am submissive, respectful, and loving? Mark and Grace tell us to ask our spouses how we are doing, because if my husband doesn't feel respected, then clearly I need to improve. Sometimes our own perceptions of how we treat our spouse are tainted, and I've found that respect can mean something totally different to a man than it does to a woman. This is excellent advice.

I am impressed. Pastor Mark's analysis of our tendency to treat sex as either gross or god was right on. Rather, it is a gift from a loving God. When we treat it as god, we are sinning. When we treat it as gross, we are also sinning. I appreciated the call to be a servant lover and not a selfish lover.

I am skeptical. Chapter 10 is the controversial chapter in which Mark and Grace discuss what married couples can and cannot do when it comes to sex. To be fair to the Driscolls, I think they were trying to carefully examine the Scriptures and make Biblically informed calls where Scripture is silent. That being said, some of the conclusions they come to in this chapter I strongly disagree with. I debated going into specifics here and chose to refrain, as it is not the type of content I want on this blog :). I recommend reading with caution and discernment. A review that I found helpful specifically concerning chapter 10 can be read here.

Parts of this book are helpful. Other parts maybe not so much. Whenever you read any book you must mentally engage and use your discernment. It is important to remember that no human being is infallible, and the only inerrant book is the Bible. Even though Mark Driscoll is right on about many things, he is not without weak spots.

For example, as a reformed Christian committed to the Lord's Day as the Christian Sabbath, I was disappointed with Pastor Mark writing off the fourth commandment as the only one of the ten no longer applicable today. It bothered me when he talked about "sabbathing" with your spouse as simply resting and relaxing, when that was only half of the Lord's design (Sabbath= rest+worship). This was a very minor component of his book, yet because of its importance to me personally, stuck with me as an irritant. I know that I am on a rabbit trail now, so maybe we can save this topic for another time :).

Read with discretion and wisdom. I think some critics of this book have been too harsh, and others too accepting. There is definitely good to be reaped from it.  That's my two cents :).

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