Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together
Marriage can be considered fundamental to the growth of an ever-advancing civilization. It plays a significant role in building a healthy society. Unfortunately, the rate of successful marriages in the modern world is very low. According to the statistics of American Psychological Association (2015), from 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the USA end up getting divorced. Even though there are many different family therapists, courses, books, and other guides to a happy marriage in the modern world, almost half families fall apart. The goal of this work is to discuss and evaluate a book about marriage called Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together by Mark Driscoll and Grace Driscoll.
The authors of the book Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together are a Christian couple. They build their relationship according to the Bible and freely talk about such topics like intimacy and sex. The couple describes their struggle in the relationship and the way they found the solution in the only reliable source – the Bible. They state that friendship should be the fundamental to marriage; however, it is not easy to maintain. This book can be considered as a practical advice on how to be a friend to a spouse and carry this friendship through the whole life.
The book is divided into three parts: Marriage, Sex, and Last Day. In the first part, the authors describe their lives before they met and the beginning of their relationship. By using their own lives as an example, they show what it means to be a friend to a spouse. In this part, Mark and Grace talk about a role of man and woman in a family as well. In a significant portion of the first part, they described such important aspects of marriage as respect and honor.
In the second part, Mark and Grace discuss the sex issues in families. Unlike many authors of other Christian books, they are not embarrassed to talk about the different types of sex and compare them to what is written in the Bible about it.
In the third part, the authors provide guidance for those who want to improve their marriage and change their direction. They offer a plan, which they used for their marriage. However, they do not insist on using their model of marriage and leave readers free to work out their own way. They discuss various questions and issues that married couples might face and use their marriage as an example.
The book Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together is a reflection of the authors’ life experience and the mistakes they made. I cannot say that I agree with everything that is written there. However, I did find some parts of it really interesting and helpful. I must admit that the part of the book about friendship in marriage made me think about my personal life. I am married for six years and have two children with my wife. My work and taking care of my children and wife does not leave me much time for quality time with my beloved, which is not right. This book showed me the importance of spending more time with her and acting more romantic. Being caught with daily routine and problems, men long for comfort and rest and often forget that their wives need the same. Unfortunately, I am not an exception. Often, my wife offers me some activities when I get home after work but my reply is usually something like “Honey, I had a hard day at work and want to relax now”. This book makes men realize that women, even if they do not work, also have many things to take care about. It shows that being just a provider for a family is not enough for making a marriage happy.
There are many aspects and issues of marriage discussed in the book. Nevertheless, I disagree with the authors about some parts of their work. I think that they go overboard with a part about submission to husbands. For example, in the story about Grace cutting her hair without caring about what Mark would think of it, she tells, “I knew immediately by the way he looked at me that I had done wrong and burst into tears” (M. Driscoll, & G. Driscoll, 2013). In my opinion, it sounds rather ridiculous. Women should consider the preferences and tastes of their husbands, but they, as well as men, have their own tastes and preferences and have rights to follow them. The authors show that it is the best for women to stay at home and look after children. Being a father myself, I know what it takes, and I disagree with this statement. Women, as well as men, have rights to study, work, and develop their skills and talents. I agree that they should not work the full day when children are still small. However, getting to workplaces outside of their houses where they can communicate with other people and make friends will benefit them.
I also partly disagree about their vision on man’s responsibility to provide for his family, “Men, you have to work harder and smarter than the other man if you want to feed your family…If you want any men to respect you, if you want your wife to respect you, if you want your children to respect you, you pay the bills” (M. Driscoll, & G. Driscoll, 2013). Mark uses as an example his dad, who always looked for side jobs and provided for his family, but the author does not consider that life has changed since his childhood. He uses a verse from the Bible to support his statement “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8 New King James Version ). Unfortunately, nowadays it is not easy to find even aside job that could cover at least half of a family needs; besides, wives sometimes earn more than their husbands. Thus, I think in such case, it is more practical if a wife works and a husband looks after children at least for some time.
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Despite the parts of the book I disagree with, there is much useful and helpful information for married couples. For instance, the authors state, “Everything for a man is viewed as respect or disrespect. For a woman, everything is seen as loving or unloving” (M. Driscoll, & G. Driscoll, 2013). I read and heard about how it is important in marriage for a husband to show love to his wife, as well as for a wife showing respect to her husband. However, I could not imagine how these usual things shape the way men and women view marriage. I realized that showing love is more than providing for my family. Bringing some romance into the marriage such as dating, unexpected little gifts, flowers, and romantic dinners for two make a woman feel loved and wanted. As a result, it will benefit both spouses.
This book clearly shows what it means to be friends with a spouse. There is a section, which surprised me a lot about how to fight. I find this part very interesting and realistic because it does not say that spouses should not fight, but it shows how to deal with a conflict or disagreement in a non-harmful way. It is very important not to lose self-control when dealing with a conflict. It is better to walk away from the conflict to calm down and then return to the subject later than say each other things that both will regret afterwards. Sometimes, it takes much effort, courage, and patience to admit one’s own faults or discuss an issue in a peaceful way. Nevertheless, it is very significant to be able to talk openly about a problem instead of keeping it inside and waiting until it grows into a huge conflict.
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In conclusion, I would like to say that this book made me think about and evaluate my understanding of marriage. I want my wife to be my best friend. To achieve this goal, I am going to improve my quality time with her by not just watching a movie together, but talking or doing something together. I need to become more patient and attentive to her. I want to make her feel special as she felt while we were dating by making a romantic dinner for her and presenting some flowers. Even though it does not sound like much of the effort, I am sure it will help to improve our relationship.