Real Marriage, reviewed by Real People {Preface, Introduction, Chapter 1}

Do you know these folks?  They’re real people.  People like you and me and Ondria and our husbands.  Their names are Mark and Grace and they have a real marriage–a marriage about which they have shared transparently in a new book by that name, Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, & Life Together.

We’re excited about the opportunity to attend their book tour event Real Marriage 2012 in Lynchburg in April.  In exchange for blogging about our experience, we were given tickets for the conference, but are not being paid to write these posts and all opinions contained therein are our own.

Please join us! They will be speaking at several locations across the country, but, as I said, we’re attending the one in Lynchburg, VA in April.  The cost is very reasonable, and a night away with your spouse is so refreshing!

In preparation for the conference, we going to be reading through and blogging about the book.  It’s not too late to get your own copy of the book (follow the imbedded link–it’s on sale!) and read along.  Discussion in the comment section can only help us all as we seek to create marriages that glorify God and demonstrate the Gospel.  Our goal is to post about the book each Wednesday between now and the conference: we’ll try to let you know ahead of time which chapters we’ll be discussing each week.

Ondria and I, the faces behind OTH, are great partners–but (or maybe because?) we are very.different.people.  Have you ever met us?  then you know.  Haven’t met us, but been reading here for awhile?  you’ve seen it.  New to oth.com?  it’s just that obvious.  So you can imagine, our husbands are very.very.different people, and frankly, our marriages couldn’t be more different!  [I believe the word “aliens” may have been used by the Jones to describe the Hills (and perhaps vice versa!) on more than one occasion!]  But those differences have made us fast friends, and are used by God as sharpening agents (Proverbs 27:17).  As we blog through this book, all four of us (Ondria, Josh, Laura, and Nate) will take a turn: hopefully, you will benefit from our differences, unique giftings, and perspectives.  We are unified in our love for Christ, in our commitment to God-honoring marriages, and to learning all we can from this book/conference/blogging experience.  We pray that this unity will overcome any distractions caused by our personality and relationship quirks. 🙂

You may not need to read the preface: I think it may have been written just to me.  They called me out for my cynicism and critical spirit before I even got started.  LAURA, don’t be critical–“take whatever gifts you find…, and…leave the rest” (p.xi). LAURA, you may have tried it, you may have heard it, it may be redundant, but “if it’s rooted in biblical wisdom, keep trying” (p.xi).  LAURA, young children, pregnancy, busy, epilepsy, fatigue, blah blah blah: you are not the exception. I needed this attitude adjustment before I even started!

Mark and Grace begin with “their story” to make them relatable–to gain credibility with their readers.  We (Jones & Hills) will try to do the same as we get to know each other in these posts over the next 8 weeks.  Marriage has been relatively “easy” for Nate and I, so we can’t really relate to the more dynamic elements of their story–the dishonesty, the premarital fornication (our first kiss came only after we were pledged in marriage! haha.), the prolonged emotional estrangement–but some descriptions of their relationship did ring true:  “more life partners than lovers and friends, working . . . to serve others” (p.10) and “our marriage was functional but not much fun” (p.11).

Nate and I have often characterized our marriage this way.  Frankly, I am not yet convinced that it’s a problem.  Perhaps this can be attributed to my practical and utilitarian nature, but the Driscoll’s don’t offer much (enough?) scriptural support–at least not yet–to justify to me that marriage should be “fun,” that happiness and great sex are legitimate goals for the relationship.  The Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, the initiation of the marriage relationship in the Garden of Eden, and the Gospel offer additional insight on this topic–and studying those have prompted us to work on that aspect of our marriage this year.  Helpful resources for us have been Mark’s Peasant Princess sermon series and Matt Chandler’s teaching in The Mingling of Souls.

I acknowledge (as do they in the preface) that the Driscoll’s story is to be illustrative–not prescriptive.  (Too bad!  Because I think hiring a housekeeper would solve all my marriage problems! (p.17) haha.)  They share these details to give context to the instruction that (hopefully) follows.  But in this chapter, I repeatedly found myself losing interest with their belaboring of the circumstances (and, perceived by me, justification for their problems). [e.g., Mark even goes so far as to call Grace’s past as “a root issue” (p.16).  I thought a wicked heart was always the root issue?]  I would have preferred to have read “our marriage was terrible because of sin, namely dishonesty and bitterness [without 15 pages of illustration].  Now we have learned to repent and forgive like Jesus does. Here’s how to do that.”  That’s what I need.  My marriage needs sincere repentance of sin, ungrudging forgiveness, and an understanding (and living!) of the Gospel that changes everything.

Next Wednesday, March 14, Ondria will share with you about Chapter 2, “Friend With Benefits.”   Get your copy today and read along!

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Posted on March 8, 2012, in Real Marriage. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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