Research Briefs Extended Reviews of “Real Marriage” by Mark and Grace Driscoll [Review 1] -- By: Denny Burk
JDFM 3:1 (Fall 2012) p. 54
Extended Reviews of “Real Marriage” by Mark and Grace Driscoll [Review 1]
Denny Burk (Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate professor of biblical studies at Boyce College. Burk also serves as associate pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church and as editor of The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
Real Marriage: A Review
I am no connoisseur of marriage manuals, but Mark and Grace Driscoll’s recent contribution to the genre has to be one of the most provocative treatments ever penned for and by evangelicals. In Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship and Life Together, Mark and Grace share candidly about the significant sexual brokenness that afflicted the early years of their own marriage and about how the Lord delivered them from it. They also discuss in graphic detail the questions that couples frequently ask them about the marital bed. The two-hundred plus pages of this book focus on personal testimony and practical teaching so that readers might walk in biblical holiness and avoid the pitfalls experienced by the Driscolls. Real Marriage reads like a marriage seminar that has been put into book form, and there are hints throughout that this is exactly what the book actually is (e.g., xiii). Real Marriage has eleven chapters that are divided into three major sections: Part 1, “Marriage”; Part 2, “Sex”; and Part 3, “The Last Day.”
Part 1, “Marriage”: Chapter 1 begins with Mark and Grace’s story, in which Mark and Grace appear first as an unmarried, sexually active couple; second as an unhappily married, sexually dysfunctional couple; and third as restored and reconciled husband and wife. Their story is as gut-wrenching as it is honest. Chapter 2, “Friends with Benefits” instructs readers about the necessity of being best friends with one’s spouse. Chapter 3, “Men and Marriage,” is Mark’s effort to exhort men to grow up, take responsibility, and be the godly servant leaders that God has called them to be in their homes. Chapter 4, “The Respectful Wife,” is the corresponding exhortation to women to respect and to submit to their husbands. Chapter 5, “Taking out the Trash,” addresses conflict between spouses and instructs spouses to fight fair and to be quick to forgive and reconcile through disagreements.
Part 2, “Sex”: Chapter 6 instructs spouses not to regard sex as “God” (which is idolatry) nor as “gross” (which is prudishness) but as “gift” (which is God’s intention). Chapter 7 narrates Grace’s story as a sexual assault victim and offers some practical guidance to others who bear the scars of sexual abuse. Chapter 8 addresses the pervasive p...
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