Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Real Marriage

Have you ever wanted the truth about sex, friendship, and life together when it comes to marriage?  That’s exactly what Mark and Grace Driscoll’s new book Real Marriage is claiming to offer.

I have to say up front that I like Mark Driscoll’s doctrine and methodology a lot, not in relation to this book per se, but just in general, and so when the publisher offered this book for review, I jumped on it. 

Overall, I think the book is a great read for those Christians who are single wanting to get married, already married, or who’s marriage is in deep trouble.  The book condenses several Christian marriage books into one read, pulling out the relevant biblical insights and skimming off the fat.  I’ve read a few of these books, and so I recognized a lot of the names they threw out.  Even Andy Stanley recommends the book, and according to a lot of my Christian friends, that’s a big deal, though I only have a vague idea of who Andy Stanley is.

All that said, Real Marriage is a good Cliff Notes approach to a variety of thoughts on Christian marriage while working in individual stories about Mark and Grace.

However, the problems with Cliff Notes is that you lose a lot of the depth of thought you would have seen had you read the original, and I felt that way a lot throughout the book.  For example when it comes to Christian marriage books, I think there are two must reads: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas and Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.  The Driscolls talk about both of these books and some of the most important parts you’ll find in them but much of the power is drained without the originals’ wording and insight.

However, I still think as an overview of Christian marriage, Real Marriage has real value.

But then there’s the part that sets Real Marriage apart from every other Christian marriage book out there: the sex appendix, which answers some probing (forgive the pun) questions that they've been asked over the years on what’s Biblically appropriate when it comes to sex and sexual positions in marriage.  This part was fairly graphic, and while I kind of understand the need for it in today’s porn saturated culture, my imagination was much too vivid to read all the way through it.

It’s the sex appendix that ultimately leads me to not recommend this book.  Not because there isn’t sound Biblical teaching in it, but because the final few pages of the book are like reading the Kama Sutra.  

People can call it educational all they want, but that doesn’t mean it can’t act as a stumbling block just as much as sitting down in front of a porno on the computer.  For that matter, I wouldn't know what the things they talk about were if I had not looked at pornography before coming to Christ.  And that being the case, I can't help but wonder how those asking the questions know what to ask about, and why they want to use their spouse to fulfill those fantasies?

I think the Driscolls’ intentions were good, but it went a little beyond where it needed to in order to have a Christ-centered marriage.

But if you don't believe me, you can buy a copy for $14.94

I received a free copy from the publisher for review.  All opinions are my own.

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