Real Marriage January 27, 2012Posted by clintcarter in Books.
Mark is not a gifted writer. He is a gifted speaker and teacher, but his writing doesn’t flow. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be writing books, but at the very least he needs to hire a couple of great editors and submit to their decisions.
Half of the book is about sex. If you’re familiar with Mark’s teaching, none of it will be surprising. If you aren’t, then you probably don’t want to read this book aloud in a coffee shop. I appreciate that Mark is willing to tackle the subject, because the predominant voices regarding sex in our culture are not Biblically based. He deals with sex in a frank way and for the most part it’s well thought through. There are a few areas of concern which I feel like Denny Burk did a good job at addressing.
3 things that I felt were most beneficial from the book.
1) Marriage as Friendship. This is one thing I’m thankful that Mark championed. Our culture by and large has lost sight of how important companionship is in marriage. I enjoyed the research Mark did into Martin Luther and John Wesley’s marriages – it was insightful. However, I would encourage people to check out Tim Keller’s sermon series on marriage for a more in-depth look at the importance and strategy of making your spouse your best friend.
2) Reverse Engineering Marriage. The last chapter of the book is a homework assignment for husbands and wives to envision what type of marriage and family they desire and then make intentional plans for how they will realize it. Carey and I have been doing this for years. It has been immensely valuable for us to stay focused on what is most important for our relationship and family.
3) Confession. The aspect I found unique about Real Marriage was the element of personal confession shared by Mark and Grace and I’m grateful that they were willing to be transparent about their sin and their struggles. There is a tendency for all of us to shy away from confessing our sins publicly and yet it is only in repentance that we find God’s mercy. It is only when we understand the depth of God’s grace that we are free to share our failures because we realize that in doing so we are making much of God and setting aside our “need” to impress others.
Overall, there are a couple of nuggets of wisdom to be found in Real Marriage, but I wouldn’t recommend the book unless I knew someone needed help in one of those particular areas. While it’s an entertaining and informative read, there are other resources I would recommend to couples first.