Genesis 2:22-24 (CEB) With the rib taken from the human, the LORD God fashioned a woman and brought her to the human being. The human said,“ This one finally is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She will be called a woman because from a man she was taken. ” This is the reason that a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife, and they become one flesh.
Pastor Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington and is one of the world’s most-downloaded and quoted pastors. He was also named one of the “25 Most Influential Pastors of the Past 25 Years” by Preaching magazine, and his sermons are consistently #1 on iTunes each week.
I was given his book, “Real Marriage” by his publisher for a fair and honest review and to be perfectly “honest”… I originally thought I was going to hate it. As a Pastor myself, I don’t always agree with Mark’s doctrine – especially when it comes to women. I feel Mark’s belief’s about women don’t truly reflect what the bible teaches thematically and so I felt that his book on marriage would carry that same message.
But I didn’t hate the book.
Mark and his wife, Grace are writing a book about how the marriage partnership works. And all through the book, Mark emphasis that both the husband and the wife are equal partners, but with different roles, “like the left and right hand,” Mark states. “Although one is dominant.” I liked that example and it helps explain the relationship.
Mark and Grace take turns writing chapters and explaining topics and their voices are certainly easy to listen to. I think the material covered was great, the quotes and study that make this book a good read are well researched and there is a lot in this book for a couple with questions, or even as a reference book for marriage counseling.
The only issue I have is with the underlying message of the book. Mark and Grace also share about their own marriage and often tell their own stories. Grace’s story comes across as being “the sinner” of the relationship. She “cheated on him” before they were married, she was sexually hesitant during their marriage and she had a history of abuse…
But Mark’s story is squeaky clean. There is a great chapter on porn addiction, but Mark says it was never an issue for him. And while the book never deemphasizes the husband or the wife, it certainly makes a strong argument for the wife being a sexual servant. The book strongly emphasis the role of the wife as being the one who “strips” for her husband, or who wears revealing clothing to get him in the mood. In fact the one time where I thought Mark might actually confess sin for being distant and moody with his wife, it turns out it was actually her fault for withholding.
I think the book Real Marriage is a summary of Mark’s hours of marriage counseling, his sermon series on Song of Solomon and his various talks and tours. Content wise, I think there is valuable information here. But as far as the testimony, I would have appreciated a more transparent voice from Mark or a less transparent voice from his wife.
If the book tries to make a case for equality, it doesn’t support it through the author’s own marriage.