Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review: Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll

In Real Marriage, Mark and Grace Driscoll are giving the talk that your parents should have been having with you. And they're giving you the marriage counseling that your church should have been offering you. And this is both a good and a not-so-good thing.

Good: On the one hand, the Driscolls' point is well taken that if today's generation can't get (or isn't getting) their questions answered by their parents or their church, then they will simply go to the internet for answers.  So the need for a book like this is greater now than perhaps ever before. They address the issues at hand with honesty, vulnerability, and a clear sense of wisdom gained from past mistakes.

Some of this content may be familiar for those who have trafficked in any of Driscoll's past blogs, books, or podcasts, but it's also some of his most tested and proven marriage material. And there's enough new content here to make the book worth the money for all but the most avid Driscoll followers.

Grace Driscoll's contribution to the book is a welcome addition as she gives us a fresh perspective to the marriage of a man who has been both a firebrand and a lightning rod in evangelicalism. No matter what you may think of Mark, both his strengths and flaws, successes and failures, have almost always been very, very public. Thus Grace gives us a peek behind the curtain and reveals that, whatever else he may be, Mark is genuine. 

Not-So-Good: I think my first critique is that the book isn't as comprehensive as I would like, given the title. A whole 50% of the book was about sex, and though that's not bad but rather necessary for many people living in our culture today, it seems a little imbalanced.

The central problem I have with this book, however, is that I feel this is still a talk that churches should be having with their members (especially those considering or already in a marriage). Much of this content, detached from a personal sense of what needs to be addressed and what needs to be skipped, verges on the edge of being too much information. Of course the Driscolls would argue that these are the questions that my generation is going to the internet to answer, but I would counter that not all of them are asking all of these questions. And there's the danger of the book: without the grace of a local church shepherd delivering this content with  prayerful wisdom and discretion, this book could remove stumbling blocks for some while creating them for others.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Recommended for: Pastors, marriage counselors, church leaders

This book was a free review copy provided by Thomas Nelson.

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