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Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,139 Ratings  ·  330 Reviews

Most marriage books assume the author did it right. Most marriage books barely mention friendship. Most marriage books use "intimacy" as code for "sex." This is not one of those books.

In Real Marriage, Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace, share how they have struggled and how they have found healing through the power of the only reliable source: the Bible. They believ

Kindle Edition, 297 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2012)
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JR. Forasteros
Jan 03, 2012 JR. Forasteros rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If Love Wins was the most controversial book last year, Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll is set to win the award this year. Mark Driscoll has long been in the public eye as a confrontational, no-holds barred pastor who likes to shout. Theologically, he's part of the New Calvinist movement and a staunch Complementarian when it comes to gender roles. It's this stance that's drawn him the most attention, from his popular, candid and sexy Song of Solomon tour to blaming Ted Haggard's public ...more
Jan 02, 2012 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In the Evangelical world, you would be hard-pressed to find a figure more polarizing than Mark Driscoll (except for maybe Rob Bell. Those crazy, Mars Hill Pastors!). Those of a more moderate or progressive bent, find Driscoll’s theology too narrow, judgmental and misogynistic; Many conservatives stand with Driscoll in his theological commitments, but find his bombastic style, insensitivity and general jerkiness, off-putting.

Personally, I have some fundamental disagreements with Driscoll and conc
Warning: Because the book is TMI, this review might be TMI.

I...can't even GIVE this any star ratings, it was so bad. So let it be known that, NO, I did not forget to rate it. That zero star highlighting IS my rating.

This was so bad, I wish I listened to my friend who told me not to read this.

I can't even begin...Grace needs to knock it off with the victim-blaming thing. She still feels guilty. They're obsessed with HER sin, what caused the (admittedly) unwarranted abuse, and also what she brough
Jan 12, 2012 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't resist all the controversy so I had to just read it myself. Instead of doing an in depth review, I'll just say that I agree/support/affirm much of what Doug Wilson (natural law) & Denny Burk (poor exegesis of the taxonomy in Ch. 10) have said.

Instead, I'll do a classic pro/con list.

Pro: 1) the chapters on Men, Women, & Marriage were all excellent. Basically, for the entire first half of the book I can't see why anyone would have any real disagreements outside of a couple of th
Daniel Henderson
Jan 22, 2012 Daniel Henderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems every time Mark Driscoll gets up to speak, writes a blog post, or publishes a book there are droves of people who are against it even before viewing the content for themselves. While I agree that a lot of criticism towards him is warranted I do think a lot of it unhelpful and presumptuous. The same has been true with Real Marriage: The truth about sex, friendship and life together. On the first couple pages we are presented with numerous glowing reviews from some of the big guy of Chris ...more
John Vanbrunt,
May 29, 2012 John Vanbrunt, rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012

quotes that interested/inspire me:

"Marriage either gets bitter or gets better."

"It is common to hear married people speak of "falling out of love" with their spouses, and "falling in love" with someone else in adultery. In using the language of "falling" they are cleverly avoiding any responsibility, as if they were simply required to follow their hearts. But the Bible tells us not to follow our hearts, but rather "guard" them because they are prone to selfishness and sin"

"Husbands and wives who
Apr 29, 2012 Lindsey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ultimately, this book was just kind of boring to read and I found myself skimming often. I suppose this book would be a good intro to anyone who doesn't have the time or motivation to read all the much better books that are referenced in this one, but there's nothing really new here that you couldn't find (and written much better) in other books. But then, I'm probably not the audience for this book. There wasn't much I'd disagree with in the first part; I've just heard it better elsewhere.

Jan 01, 2012 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-book-list
One of the reasons I liked this book so much is that it talks about an aspect of marriage that is rarely discussed -- friendship. Of the 187 books on marriage that the Driscolls read in preparation of writing their own book, not one of them had one chapter or section on marital friendship. And yet, the determining factor, by 70% according to one study, of whether husbands and wives feel satisfied with the romance, passion and sex in their marriage is the quality of the couple's friendship.

Alexis Neal
A day late and a dollar short is better than never, right?

Mark Driscoll, the shock jock of the Reformed world, waded into the marriage book fray earlier this year with Real Marriage, which is essentially his sermon series on the Song of Solomon distilled into book form. And not distilled all that well, honestly. I suspect many interns were involved, which may explain the rather scattered and disjointed feel of the book.

But let's be honest: Average-to-below-average writing is not exactly unheard
Good book with lots to think about. Of course, not all of it will apply to everyone but parts definitely had me nodding my head in agreement and identification.

I borrowed this from the library, but I'm thinking about purchasing a copy for our home.

Edit - I've just read some of the other reviews. (I try to avoid other reviews until I've finished reading and formed my own opinion.) I had no idea this book was considered so controversial. Wow. Some opinions seem to come from a non-Christian perspec
Jan 03, 2012 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-2011, reviews
I don't quite agree with all the views in this book. I appreciate the authors backing everything up with how they've interpreted things, but I don't think everything they said quite has the backing for it. I don't think everything is quite in the same category of sex as they label it. With the way they choose to define sex you could almost make anything sex. Just because oral, and anal include sex in the titles doesn't make them actual "sex". This book makes the definition of sex, and virginity ...more
Feb 16, 2012 Hope rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian, marriage
There were parts of this book I liked and parts I didn't like. More specifically, I think that the book in it's entirety just didn't speak to me the way I expected. I think that the authors actually wrote a fantastic book, very thorough, and I commend them for tackling some very tough topics. However, for me personally, the only part of the book I felt I got anything from was the first part. But the remainder of the book kept my attention and I ended up reading all the way through. I think that ...more
Jan 09, 2013 Josie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, fantasy
I ended up skimming large portions of this book. I got sick of the stereotypes and a lot of the trite advice ("pray together!" "read your Bible!" "Bring your problems to God and He will help you!"). Unfortunately, so many peoples' problems are way more complicated. Yes, the overall message that you should put in effort and try to communicate is great...but generally two people who are willing to put in effort and communicate are going to be fine anyway. From my experience, the issues arise when ...more
May 17, 2013 Justin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
For another helpful review, see Denny Burk:

Marriage books tend to not go far enough. Whether they fail to face the realities of our brokenness or really address the meaningful questions married couples have when it comes to being sexually intimate, they often fail to address the real and felt needs of their readers. Mark & Grace do a good job of addressing both of these, but in doing so they also go to far in some ways. If it was just one or two conce
Cameron Rebarchek
Apr 27, 2015 Cameron Rebarchek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family
I enjoy reading Mark Driscoll’s books and listening to his sermons. Part of the reason is that he is not afraid to call things like they are; he tackles some difficult issues; he speaks candidly. At the same time, that is part of the problem. He stirs controversy; he says things that are disagreeable at times; he sometimes causes offense. Without a doubt, I disagree with Driscoll on several fronts. I believe he states some things defiantly (gender roles) where God allows more grace.

That said, if
Mar 04, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone having issues with their marriage
I am thankful for Mark and Grace Driscoll for writing a book that I'm sure was not an easy one to write. In this book they share some of the hardship they experienced in their marriage. They were both very forthcoming and honest. They also shared about what other couples are dealing with that they have counseled. Some of the things I can see being issues many are dealing with, but others were rather shocking. The Driscoll's try to answer a lot of questions that past generations
Zoe Schoppa
Nov 15, 2015 Zoe Schoppa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I wish that I had this book available to my husband and I when we were first married. I can guarantee you that I will give it to my four children and their fiancé when they are planning their marriage.

I picked it up in order to counsel a friend who was struggling with medical issues. These made her insecure and tired and she was avoiding sex at all costs. This book confirmed scripture.

"Do not deprive on another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to pr
Eh... Something in the author's tone didn't sit right with me and made much of the book hard to get through. There were three sections: Marriage, Sex, The Last Day. Each was somewhat distinct, although they built on each other. My recommendation if the book's concept interests you would be to read section 2 and ignore the rest.

Part 1 Marriage was more a narrative of their own issues and solutions for marriage than a broad helpful discussion. If you want guidance from an older couple, find one y
Mar 03, 2014 Alexia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've already learned a lot from the "Love and Respect" series by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. My husband and I will be married for 5 years in May 2014 and we are currently in the best part of marriage thus far. It took me realizing my husband needs respect and he realized that I need love. I enjoy Mark Driscoll's preaching and points of view, especially biblically. This book is intense; believe me. However, if you are married, read it. If you are about to be married/close to the wedding, read it! The ...more
Jonathan Kelly
Hard to simplify my thoughts on this book. As a speaker and teacher, Driscoll is exceptional. He is gifted in those areas. His abilities to speak about the Word of God were not what got him into the hot seat in Seattle. Oddly enough, it was partially due to this book that he was in the hot seat!
The book starts well. The beginning gives a foundation for what a godly marriage should be. If they stayed there and wrote more about that, I think it would have held my interest more.
I'm confused as to w
Britt Freeman
Jun 03, 2016 Britt Freeman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Super lame and patriarchal. scriptures taken out of context; which even the minimal gleaning eye can see does not support the claims, but needed support to make it sound biblical. full of contradictions and lazy thinking such as the line of thinking that begins with "God created sex and God is love. therefore sex is good and godly" but then moves into the notion of people who have sex(best i can tell; outside the very limited way the author claims the bible outlines) are worshipping sex and ther ...more
Justin Tapp
"The goal is progress, not perfection."

This is the most comprehensive book on marriage that I have seen; it is a combination of several books that I have read and would recommend. It is both written for pastors from a pastoral perspective as well as Christians young and old. It is helpful in developing a theology of marriage and looking at everything in marriage as something that is intended to glorify God. There are tools useful in planning and conflict resolution as well as developing friendsh
Ed Powazki
Jul 05, 2014 Ed Powazki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since Mark Driscoll makes a habit of being controversial, I expected this book would do likewise. Yes, it had it's share of explicit content, but all in the context of marriage. His chapter on "can we do that" was pretty interesting, addressing questions married couples have today that wasnt even on the table for discussion a generation ago.
And there needs to be more discussion on this topic in the church, although this setting is probably better than sunday morning sermons.
All in all, I really
Ryan Jankowski
Great book and highly recommended.
Apr 01, 2013 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it! Though I don't agree with mark on some of his positions regarding the spirit gifts and social drinking this book deals with neither. This book is a very candid look at marriage and the struggles of a 21st century couple! It is honest, real and very helpful. I feel it is a book that will come in handy as I continue to pastor people in Las Vegas who have many questions about sex and marriage! Worth the read! Especially if your marriage is hurting!
May 20, 2015 Ralph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good book overall about marriage. I could've done without having all of the statistics but great book nonetheless!
Katelyn Brown
Overall, This books was an interesting read. I have both good and not so good conclusions on the ideas in this book. Some things I liked were that it provides MANY opportunities for reflection, tries to stay true to the teachings of Scripture and gives straightforward answers on some of the most challenging issues of our day.

Some of the things I have seen in the books that I have read on relationships include stating cultural ideas as the meaning of the headship of the husband without Biblical
Feb 26, 2016 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
You know what... I actually really enjoyed this one. I know it is a controversial book and that Mark Driscoll has not been doing so great lately. But I didn't know all of that when I started reading, and I actually really liked this one. I liked the honesty. I liked that he and Grace didn't hold back when they talked about sex. And I didn't mind the way they wrote about women and their role in marriage. I didn't find it misogynistic. A lot of the complaints I've seen online are taken out of cont ...more
Apr 13, 2014 Crystal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good book. I found the discussion a bit frank, but honestly somewhat refreshing after stuffier books on Christian marriage. Didn't care for some of the language, and honestly a few chapters were hard to read {like the one on pornography; mentioning children quite often}. Probably not a book I would own or refer to often, but I did enjoy the read for the most part. I liked their honesty.
Jul 18, 2012 Kelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I could, I'd rate this book 3.5 stars. While I don't agree with some of Mark Driscolls more conservative views regarding gender roles in marriage, there were several insightful and convicting parts of this book that have helped me have a renewed view of my own marriage and a better understanding of how God uses marriage to transform us.
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Having a good home and being under the unmberella of truth 1 13 Nov 02, 2012 06:30PM  
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  • What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage
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  • Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace
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  • Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself
  • Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Mark A. Driscoll is the founder and teaching pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, as well as the co-founder of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network where he also served as President for a short period. Driscoll continues to serve on the board of Acts 29. He has contributed to the "Faith and Values"
More about Mark Driscoll...

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“Stop looking for the path of least resistance and start running down the path of greatest glory to God and good to others, because that's what Jesus, the Real Man, did.” 32 likes
“Any religious person who says he does not really need human friends because God is his Friend is calling God a liar because He's the One Who says we also need human friends.” 13 likes
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