In Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together, Pastor Mark and Grace Driscoll seek to present a real and honest book about marriage. In typical Driscoll fashion, this is a book that does not shy away from the difficult topics with regard to marriage and sexuality. Real Marriage has clearly been influenced by Driscoll’s popular sermons on the topic and includes a depth of resources from the almost 50 books and many articles that he and Grace have read in preparation for this book. This makes Real Marriage a good book for additional resources on the topic from both Christian and secular sources.
The underlying theme of the first segment of the Driscolls’ book is the importance of friendship in marriage. If a couple is going to last in marriage, they must be friends who are seeking to love each other and serve each other through the biblical description of marriage in Ephesians 5. With chapters specifically to men and specifically to women from Ephesians 5, the book wrestles with what it means to be a godly spouse in a practical manner.
The second segment of Real Marriage seeks to deal with the topic of sex. This is the section that will cause many readers to struggle with the Driscolls’ views. This segment contains a detailed exegesis of Song of Solomon from his Pleasant Princess series. It also contains answers to many controversial questions about sex and sexuality, a chapter on sexual abuse, and a chapter on pornography. Though I do not agree with everything the Driscolls say in this section, I think their approach is helpful. All questions regarding sex and sexuality are addressed through the following three questions:
- Is it lawful?
- Is it helpful?
- Is it enslaving?
I think that these are helpful questions that form a good framework for addressing questions that are not specifically addressed in scripture.
In the final section, the Driscolls challenge couples to have a strategic plan for their life and marriage. This is done by encouraging communication, setting priorities, and seeking to live a balanced life. This section contains many helpful questions and suggestions to put these principles into practice in your own life and marriage.
Real Marriage is an in-your-face look at marriage and relationships that challenges couples to have a biblically thriving marriage. It has the typical shock and awe effect that many of Driscoll’s books are known for, but it is also very helpful and practical. It is a challenge that seeks to be grounded in the Word and to encourage couples to make their last day of marriage better than their first.