My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Giving a star rating to this book is difficult. Do I rate it on content? (Is that even possible since I'm single and this book is on marriage?) Do I rate it on if I agree with everything? Do I rate it on if it kept me turning pages? In the end, the number of stars is always based on the overall book impression, but it would have been ranked differently based on all the above.
I wanted to read this book after reading a review that touted it as much for singles as married couples. I expected a bit more from the book than what I felt was there, so maybe had I not read that review I would be a bit more enthralled with the book. I know a variety of things can go into how one reads and judges a book.
Real Marriage starts out talking about friendship. While I've seen and even read a number of books on marriage, I do have to say this is the first that really emphasized the friendship that is needed within a marriage. I am not sure I agree with everything. The close friend of a member of the opposite sex warning reminded me of the dire warnings we received in high school and college that our close friendship with the opposite sex should be reserved only for marriage. I have a few male friends I consider close but we have Christ-honoring friendships, so I'm not sure I agree with this statement. I'm sure it can differ from person to person as to what is appropriate, and to make a blanket statement like this could help some and cause confusion to others.
The second half of the book was about sex. The authors were candid in their discussion of their sexual experiences prior to marriage, and I'm not sure that needed to be shared beyond a few basic facts. Also, I'm not convinced that the "Can a Christian _______" section needed to be in there. There are some things that Christians shouldn't do, but at the same time, what if someone uses this chapter as an excuse to do something they know is wrong for them? I feel some of these questions should be lumped together as a 'follow your own conscious'.
Overall, I found the book to be interesting enough I read it in about a week. I'm not sure it's a book I would recommend, I feel there are better marriage books on the market, including ones I agree with a little more. (There was nothing too blatant, but just in general there were just a few things that made me sit back and go "hmmmm".) If you want to read one of the year's most controversial Christian books, then by all means go ahead. If you are a big Mark Driscoll fan, then pick up this book. Looking for a good book on Christian marriage? If you are reading several on the topic, this one is worth adding to the pile, but if you are looking for just one book, then keep searching.