Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, & Life Together by Mark and Grace Driscoll could probably be better called "Sex: and a few other thoughts about marriage" since the vast majority of the content is in regard to some aspect of the sexual relationship within marriage. The authors have discovered in their ministry that a lot of Christian couples have many unanswered questions in regard to this matter. Is it any wonder in our increasingly sexualized culture that young people especially have a myriad of conerns? The nature of the topic, along with all the accompanying sexual deviances, make this an intense book, but well worth the read.
Pastor Mark and Grace really lay themselves open to criticism by being very forthright about their past in an attempt to a help to others. They spend a lot of time explaining their past failures and the abuse Grace had unfortunately been subjected to in her past. But finding actual help and healing in those particular areas fall outside the realm of this book. Other topics briefly covered in this book are the idea of being best friends with your spouse and prioritizing your life in a way that truly honors God. Most of the lessons in this book stem from their mistakes. In other words, it is sort of a we did this and were miserable, so don't you do it mentality.
For ministry leaders who would recommend this book to others I have a few things to keep in mind. First, it is sexually graphic and could be overwhelming to some people. Second, be aware that Pastor Mark takes Randy Alcorn's view on the birth control pill, which I still believe is a controversial position. Also, Pastor Mark writes of having "dreams" and hearing God speak to him (audibly). Lastly for those brothers and sisters in Christ to whom we may minister who have struggled with alcoholism, I will mention that he has several references to alcohol in this book as being a normal part of the Christian life.
I still give this book a solid 5 out of 5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.