Let's get into what the book is about: #1 It's about marriage. This should be a no brainer since this is the title. However, it's not just about the good stuff in marriage, there are some real-life stories of pain in this book. Mark and Grace expose their marriage to the world and open up the harsh realities they've faced within their marriage. When it comes to talking about REAL marriage, this book is one of the best (Love and War being number 2)!
Mark and Grace share with supreme transparency the shame, mistakes and horrendous attitudes they held towards one another during their marriage. Grace goes on to discuss how her shame shut her down from Mark and how her shutting down Mark confesses he desired to shut her out.
Never in a book have I seen such openness with the pain and shame. Marriage is tough and requires work. Secondly, this book is about Friendship.
Mark and Grace contend that marriage, in order to be lively, effective and lasting needs to have friendship, a deep loving friendship. Mark and Grace explain how they failed and found success int the realm of friendship and they lament the fact that no marriage books they read (over 180 by the way) had a lengthy explanation or admonition of friendship in marriage. That point scared me too, so I am excited that Mark and Grace wrote this book, highlighting friendship within marriage.
Thirdly, the book is about sex. Real Marriage has the most frank sex talk I have read in a "marriage book". Mark and Grace tackle issues that many others gloss over and go into specific, biblical detail about what types of sex is OK and not OK. They answer tough questions, many Christian couples ask about oral sex, anal sex and on for married couples. They are true to the Word and make sure one knows they are rooting what they say about sex and marriage in the Bible.
My favorite quote from this book is "Your spouse should be your standard of beauty" which they quote throughout the book several times. It means that your wife or your husband is what is beautiful to you, do not measure them against others but make them to be the most beautiful person you know.
Many of you who read my blog know I like Mark Driscoll and admire much of what he says (although not agreeing with all of it, nor in the tone he presents it). This book is no exception. Although I don't always agree with everything he says I admire his courage and agree with most of what he discusses both in ministry and in this book.
Much of the negative controversy surrounding this book is unfounded, stated by people who read a chapter or maybe two but read it with their own filter. I give it a 4/5 and would recommend it to most married couples I know.
I think the only thing that really bothered me in the book was nearing the end where Grace and Mark are sharing their differences that have caused contention in their marriage. One of them is about time. Grace is perpetually late and Mark is the 15 minutes early is on time kind of guy. Grace states that she now sees her perpetually late attitude as sin, but Mark simply says he has to be more patient with his wife and mentor her better in time management...yet does not confess his frustration and downright mean anger with his wife as being a sin.
To some, this may seem a moot point, and I think Mark would say: "I think it's a sin" (at least I hope so). This only elevates his critics rebuke of him being the great husband who is patient with messed up wife (which was a criticism of this book).
All in all it's a good book and worthy of the read. If you want to get a copy, here is the best place: http://www.amazon.com/Real-Marriage-Truth-Friendship-Together/dp/140020383X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326398926&sr=1-1