Real Marriage Participants Guide Paperback – Jan 2 2012
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About the Author
Mark Driscoll is one of the 50 most influential pastors in America, and the founder of Mars Hill Church in Seattle (www.marshillchurch.org), the Paradox Theater, and the Acts 29 Network which has planted scores of churches. Mark is the author of The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out. He speaks extensively around the country, has lectured at a number of seminaries, and has had wide media exposure ranging from NPR’s All Things Considered to the 700 Club, and from Leadership Journal to Mother Jones magazine. He’s a staff religion writer for the Seattle Times. Along with his wife and children, Mark lives in Seattle.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Completely useless without the DVD that comes with the non-Kindle version.
Thanks for the heads-up, Amazon!
Driscoll focuses on the idea of too many marriages being a contractual partnership. With helpful advice and intimate revelation of their own marital problems, Pastor Mark and Grace humbly present a biblical path toward real intimacy in marriage.
The first half of the book covers the marriage as a whole, insight for men and women, and practical ideas on how to grow together. The second half of the book focuses on sex. As usual, Driscoll holds nothing back and, perhaps, for the first time, a Christian author presents truly helpful advice and clarity on sexual issues. Many of which have been avoided or outright ignored within the Christian community for far too long. The book ends with a powerful and true chapter about how the last day of your marriage is the most important - not the first. Thinking like that helps clarify greatly how we ought to think about marriage.
If I had to pick something about the book as a weakness, I would say I would have preferred two books, each more realized on the two major subjects Real Marriage covers. But this is a tacit complaint and one that is easily overlooked.
Please help your marriage and get Real Marriage today and for a friend. I'll be handing one of these to my children one day knowing it will be a tremendous help on the front end of a life-long marriage.
The following chapters deal with sex -- how to overcome issues and trauma, how to enjoy this most intimate of activities, and where it can all go wrong -- and how to avoid those disasters. The emphasis here is definitely on cultivating a deep and exclusive sexual friendship within the broader context of family.
One remarkable aspect about this book is that it very nearly requires you to open up really deeply -- sometimes I even wondered if the authors' weren't in fact rushing things a bit. (Yes, marriage can provide a safe sanctuary for nearly any self-disclosure, but some couples have very real psychological and spiritual limits.) But if you can actually open up that much, that's great.
Readers should be aware, however, that this is a companion workbook for the DVD group study. So if you don't have the DVD, or a group to study with, you might find this book somewhat less useful. But even without the DVD or a group, it is still full of a lot of useful information and ideas.
So, who should read this book? Most likely couples who have been married for at least a few years, who have been "knocked around" a bit by the challenges of marriage, will find this most useful. The emphasis here, though, is squarely non-urgent. The focus is on developing your friendship.
If you need to get some "relationship first-aid" fast, you might want to check out The Relationship Rescue Workbook by Dr. Phil. For more in-depth (and correspondingly longer-term and more challenging) marriage work meant to root out your marriage's most destructive patterns, also check out The Couple's Survival Workbook by Olsen and Stephens.
Each session begins with a short introduction to be read on the topic followed by a short 10 minute video discussion between Mark and Grace. Then the group is to answer questions that delve into the video, Scripture, and topics brought up within the book. Finally, homework is given to both the husband and the wife (also singles). The homework is in the form of questions to answer on their own and later meet together to discuss their answers. The last part of the homework is a special experience the couple is to have together (date night, prayer together, etc.).
It seems that this course is very well thought through and I believe that it could work powerfully with couples of all ages. It does seem to me that this course is mainly focused on couples that have been married at least five years and can relate to the issues that are brought up. Although singles are included and questions for singles are part of the homework, I'm not sure that this would work well unless it would be part of a pre-marital counseling of some sort.
The topics are very applicable to every marriage and they dig pretty deep but this course will only work if both husband and wife are willing to open up on a pretty deep level. The openness and honesty of the authors as they grappled with these issues in their own marriage was extremely helpful and I believe it helps other couples to open up as well. I was personally touched by their frankness and struggles revealing that it's "normal" to have these difficulties in marriage.
The only negative I have about reviewing this course is that I was not supplied with the book itself. So whenever they refer to what they wrote or whenever the participant's guide talks about reading the chapter, I was unable to do so and I missed out on a lot of content. For that reason I wasn't able to fully review the contents of this course.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers for providing this copy for evaluation. This is a part of BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program.