Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together” as Want to Read:
Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  4,577 Ratings  ·  341 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
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 2nd 2012 by Thomas Nelson (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Real Marriage, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Kim I am listening to it and also heard an issue with a reference to all of the 10 commandments transferring to the New Testament except the Sabbath.…moreI am listening to it and also heard an issue with a reference to all of the 10 commandments transferring to the New Testament except the Sabbath. Whaa? That really gave me pause when we see so many references to Jesus observing the Sabbath in the New Testament - Matt. 12: 1, Matt. 28: 1; Mark 1:21; Mark 16:1 . . . (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
J.R. Forasteros
Jan 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
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 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Daniel Henderson
Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 12, 2012 rated it liked it
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
John Vanbrunt,
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was ok
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.

Alexis Neal
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.

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
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm having a hard time knowing how to review this book. While I did find quite a bit of helpful points and appreciated the extensive use of Scripture, I have to admit that I struggled with some of the perspectives regarding a woman's responsibilities in a marriage.

Let me clarify- I have a very traditional view of husband/wife roles. I believe that God designed men and women differently (though they are equal receivers of God's grace and image bearers of God), and as a result, their duties and r
James Lynch
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some sections of this book were 5 stars ++, others were hardly 3. The friendship section was top-notch. The "what can we do in the bed" section, not so much. Driscoll fails to incorporate solid hermeneutics and a balanced understanding of Christian history and theology in a number of spots when writing on sex. Nonetheless, sections of the book have immense value and it would be a big mistake to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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
Zoe Schoppa
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Cameron Rebarchek
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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!
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Heather Williams
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It really put things in perspective for me as a Christian woman, looking to seek God in my relationship. Mark is an incredible Pastor and I have enjoyed meeting him at my church Saddleback in Lake Forrest CA. Such a down to earth man, writing about what he knows best.
George Dimitrov
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Книгата вървеше добре докато Марк не се изказа за аналния секс. Тогава ми се стори че всичко което словесно не е отречено и забранено в Библията ще ни е позволено. най-вече ако и сегашната култура го одобрява.
Michelle Martini
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith-books
Great for a group study. It starts a dialogue about marriage on topics such as friendship and servanthood in addition to sex. It's a bit on the conservative side, but mostly middle ground. I found it helpful.
Heather Ott
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The was insightful, helpful and will mosst certainly be re-read over and over!
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent look at marriage from a Christian perspective. Lots of "meaty" info here, not a book to race through.
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a very good book overall about marriage. I could've done without having all of the statistics but great book nonetheless!
May 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Having a good home and being under the unmberella of truth 1 13 Nov 02, 2012 10:30AM  
  • God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation
  • Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault
  • Community: Taking Your Small Group off Life Support (Re:Lit)
  • Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know
  • This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence
  • Total Church: A Radical Reshaping Around Gospel and Community
  • What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage
  • Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry
  • Intimate Issues: 21 Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex
  • 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged
  • By the Light of the Silvery Moon
  • Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission
  • Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace
  • Preparing for Marriage
  • Each for the Other: Marriage as It's Meant to Be
  • Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself
  • Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage
  • The Language of Love and Respect: Cracking the Communication Code with Your Mate
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...
“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
“If my words don't flow out of a heart that rests in God's control, sovereignty, then they come out of the heart that seeks control so I can get what I want.” 15 likes
More quotes…