Real Marriage Participant's Guide: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together

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Overview

You planned for the first day of your marriage… Are you planning for the last?

While a wonderful wedding day is important, it’s the last day of marriage that really counts. Will the last day of your marriage come prematurely through divorce? Will it be filled with regrets as you sit at the funeral of your spouse? Or, by God’s grace, will the last day be a day to rejoice in the life you lived together?

Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace, ...

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Real Marriage Participant's Guide: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together

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Overview

You planned for the first day of your marriage… Are you planning for the last?

While a wonderful wedding day is important, it’s the last day of marriage that really counts. Will the last day of your marriage come prematurely through divorce? Will it be filled with regrets as you sit at the funeral of your spouse? Or, by God’s grace, will the last day be a day to rejoice in the life you lived together?

Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace, want you to finish well on the last day. Through their book Real Marriage and the eleven-week DVD-based study they share practical help and hope with people just like them—who entered marriage a complete mess—or who are planning to be married someday and want to avoid some sticky pitfalls in the future.

A companion to the Real Marriage DVD-Based Study Kit, this guide is uniquely designed for small groups, couples, and those who are considering marriage. Each session in the Participant’s Guide provides engaging group study questions and essential homework for husbands, wives, and singles alike. Together you, your spouse, and your small group will tackle the tough issues such as friendship with your spouse, pornography and sexual assault, submission and respect, and sexual intimacy in marriage.

God desires for your marriage to be full of joy and happiness as it glorifies His Son. Jesus makes such marriage possible through His death and resurrection.

The Real Marriage Participant’s Guide includes:

  • Eleven sessions
  • Homework specially designed for husbands, wives, and singles
  • Guides for conversations with your spouse
  • Ideas for date nights
  • Notes for small group leaders

Intended for use with the Real Marriage DVD-Based Study Kit (ISBN: 978-1-4185-5040-0) and the trade book Real Marriage

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781418550424
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/3/2012
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 167,030
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Driscoll pastors Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation. He is the author or coauthor of twelve books, including Real Marriage andDoctrine: What Christians Should Believe. Mark and his wife, Grace, have five children.

Grace Driscoll is a graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, Washington State University, where she earned a BA in Public Relations. She delights in being a stay-at-home mom, where she and her husband, Mark, raise their three sons and two daughters.

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Read an Excerpt

REAL MARRIAGE

THE TRUTH ABOUT SEX, FRIENDSHIP, & LIFE TOGETHER PARTICIPANT'S GUIDE
By MARK DRISCOLL GRACE DRISCOLL BRAD HOUSE

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 On Mission, LLC
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4185-5043-1


Chapter One

NEW MARRIAGE, SAME SPOUSE

INTRODUCTION

Has your marriage been everything you expected and dreamt about on your wedding day?

For most of us, marriage has been a series of surprises and challenges we didn't expect on the day we cut the cake. Circumstances change, and people change. But God doesn't call us to find a new spouse when these unexpected things occur. Quite the opposite. Scripture uses the image of a vineyard, or a garden, to illustrate the potential beauty, joy, and fruitfulness of marriage. It also illustrates its fragility and need for tending to keep at bay the things that can rob it of all that potential. Those of you who are gardeners can appreciate the imagery—often the most beautiful and fruitful plants need the most care and maintenance. We need to keep this imagery in mind as we go through the next several weeks of this study.

The truth is healthy, joy-filled marriages don't just happen; we must contend for our marriages as couples and as a community. The goal of this curriculum is to produce God-honoring marriages full of joy and life that reflect the truth of the gospel. During the next eleven weeks we will wrestle with tough questions and topics that we often avoid but desperately need to address.

As couples, you will experience a new vitality in your marriage with a renewed passion for each other and appreciation for what Jesus has done for your marriage. But experiencing a new marriage with your spouse will require humility, repentance, forgiveness, and a dependence on God. If you can commit to these things, you will be well on your way to experiencing real marriage.

You may be in a group of people that just met for the first time or in a group that has been together for years. Either way, you will spend some time getting to know one another better. If you have been together for some time, don't assume you know each other as well as you think. Take time to pursue one another and be prepared to learn something new. Before your first group session, read chapter 1 of the book.

WATCH VIDEO: REAL MARRIAGE VIDEO 1: NEW MARRIAGE, SAME SPOUSE

VIDEO RESPONSE

1. How long have you been married?

2. What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?

SCRIPTURE REFLECTION

Ephesians 5:21–33 is often quoted in Christian marriage ceremonies. With this in mind, let us take some time to read through the foundation for Ephesians 5:22–33, which starts in the previous chapter.

Ephesians 4:20–24

But you have not learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

REFLECT: In what way does this lay the foundation for Ephesians 5? How does this change the way you read those verses?

GROUP DISCUSSION

In our discussion today, we want to start by laying some ground rules for the group since we will discuss some sensitive topics in the coming weeks. To reach the goals we have set for the next eleven weeks, we need to be committed to allowing the gospel to renew our minds, and we need to be able to count on one another to speak the gospel into our lives. It goes without saying that there is an expectation of discretion regarding our conversations within the group. That means no gossip, including not using prayer as a way to disclose the struggles of others. There is also an expectation that we come with a determination to submit our lives and marriages to the Bible and the kingship of Jesus. By committing to this study for the next eleven weeks, you are inviting the other members of this group to call you out if you are not participating in the group discussion or doing your homework. Obviously this should be done in love out of a desire to see transformation in one another's lives rather than out of duty, arrogance, or adherence to rules.

Today, we will also discuss the assumptions and expectations that we brought into our marriages to see what impact they have had on our marriages. Our goal over the course of this study is to align our expectations with those established by God. As we realign our expectations, we are preparing our hearts and minds for God to breathe new life into our marriages.

GROUP QUESTIONS

1. What expectations do we need to address within our small group to ensure that we can be transparent with one another and depend on one another as we work together toward healthier marriages?

2. What are we each hoping to get out of this study? What brought you here?

3. How do assumptions and expectations affect our marriages (especially when they are unspoken)?

4. What are the sources of our expectations? How does the origin of our expectations impact the effect they have?

5. How does our view of God affect our trust in His expectations for our marriage?

6. As we talk about a new marriage with the same spouse, what does Ephesians 4:20–24 reveal about the key to a real marriage?

7. Paul uses regeneration (the re-creation of the believer in Christ) as a backdrop for the expectations for marriage. How then is marriage a proclamation of the gospel? How are we doing in proclaiming it?

PRAYER

? As we begin this journey together, pray for new marriages (with the same spouses) that glorify the giftgiver, our Father in heaven. Recognize the gift that marriage is and thank Him for the spouse you have been given.

? Pray as well that the Holy Spirit would be evident in our community and that we would grow in our ability to encourage one another and contend for our marriages.

? Lastly, pray that we would set God's expectations for our marriages and that the gospel would be reflected clearly and accurately in the way we love our spouses.

HOMEWORK

INTRODUCTION

The goal of this week's homework is to reflect more specifically on assumptions and expectations and how they can affect your marriage. Unspoken expectations can cause bitterness and frustration. Take time to prayerfully think through the questions and prepare to share with your spouse. The exercises this week should help you pursue each other and align your vision and expectations for your marriage.

REFLECT: HUSBAND

1. Write down the assumptions you made going into your marriage.

2. How has the reality of your marriage challenged these assumptions?

3. How might God be using these challenges to make you a better husband?

4. Write down the expectations that you had going into your marriage.

5. How many of the expectations that you had were of yourself, and how many were of your wife? What does that reveal?

6. What are you praying God will do throughout the next eleven weeks?

7. Think and pray through your own life story, especially your life before marriage and your life before Jesus. (If you are not sure you have ever submitted your life to Jesus, take time now to talk to your small group leader or pastor.) Think through ideas and experiences that may have a significant effect on your marriage, such as your relationship with your father and mother, your parents' relationship, your previous relationships/experiences, your religious experiences, and so on, and prepare your story so you can share it with your wife. Don't assume that she already knows all of it, and don't assume you have anything in your story that she doesn't need to hear.

8. At some point this week, read chapter 2 in the book.

REFLECT: WIFE

1. Write down the assumptions you made going into your marriage.

2. How has the reality of your marriage challenged these assumptions?

3. How might God be using these challenges to make you a better wife?

4. Write down the expectations that you had going into your marriage.

5. How many of the expectations that you had were of yourself, and how many were of your husband? What does that reveal?

6. What are you praying God will do throughout the next eleven weeks?

7. Think and pray through your own life story, especially your life before marriage and your life before Jesus. (If you are not sure you have ever submitted your life to Jesus, take time now to talk to your small group leader or pastor.) Think through ideas and experiences that may have a significant effect on your marriage, such as your relationship with your father and mother, your parents' relationship, your previous relationships/experiences, your religious experiences, and so on, and prepare your story so you can share it with your husband. Don't assume that he already knows all of it, and don't assume you have anything in your story that he doesn't need to hear.

8. At some point this week, read chapter 2 in the book.

CONNECT

Discuss the following questions together as a couple.

1. What is the Holy Spirit revealing to you about your assumptions and expectations for your marriage?

2. Discuss what effects those expectations and assumptions have had on your marriage. How can you align them with the expectations that we see in Ephesians 4?

3. Share with each other your hopes for the next eleven weeks and write them down.

4. Take turns sharing your stories with each other. Listen specifically for the elements of the gospel in your spouse's story, either the truth of the gospel or the distortion of it. Help each other see what God has redeemed and what He wants to redeem in each of your stories.

5. Work together to come up with a vision statement for your marriage and family that is inspired by the gospel, glorifies Jesus, and gets you excited for the next twenty years of your life together.

REFLECT: SINGLE

1. Write down the assumptions you have about marriage.

2. How has hearing about real marriage in the first chapter of the book and in your group discussion challenged these assumptions?

3. How might God be using these challenges to prepare you for marriage and encourage you in your singleness?

4. Write down your expectations for marriage.

5. How many of these expectations are of yourself, and how many are of your future spouse? What does that reveal?

6. What are you praying God will do throughout the next eleven weeks?

7. Pray through your own life story, especially your life before Jesus. (If you are not sure you have ever submitted your life to Jesus, take time now to talk to your small group leader or pastor.) Think through ideas and experiences that may have a significant effect on your future marriage, such as your relationship with your father and mother, your parents' relationship, your previous relationships/experiences, your religious experiences, and so on, and prepare your story so you can share it with a trusted friend or your future spouse.

8. At some point this week, read chapter 2 in the book.

EXPERIENCE

In the weeks to come, this section will outline experiences that you will share together to take what you have been learning and put some flesh on it. This will help galvanize the work the Holy Spirit has been doing throughout the week, and at the very least, get you some alone time together. This week will be more about preparation for those coming experiences. Some experiences will require time out of the house, meaning you may need a babysitter or possibly to make other arrangements in order for the experience to happen. With this in mind, take a look at the list below and talk through what arrangements need to be made in preparation for the upcoming weeks. Don't wait until the last minute! Weeks with asterisks require time out of the house. Others can be done outside of the house but do not require it. (Husbands, this is your opportunity to get things started on the right foot—take it.)

Week 1: Planning

Week 2: Date Night

Week 3: Dinner and Questions

Week 4: Letters

Week 5: Taking Out the Trash

Week 6: Date Night

Week 7: Washing with the Word

Week 8: Prayer

Week 9: Celebrate Your Spouse

Week 10: Date Night at Home

Week 11: Reverse Engineering Getaway

SINGLES: These experience times will offer great opportunities to offer your babysitting services for couples in your group or church. Your offer might be accepted more readily if you are well-known to the family and if you and a friend babysit together. Don't be offended if parents decline, but this could be a great blessing for some families.

Chapter Two

FRIEND WITH BENEFITS

INTRODUCTION

The most important human friendship you have is the one with your spouse. Even if your marriage does not endure into eternity, your friend- ship will. Friendship is the one aspect of the marriage relationship that we can be certain we will take with us into eternity; in heaven, we will still hang out together as friends and recall our life together on earth, building new memories together in the kingdom of God.

Marriage starts out as a journey between friends, but often that journey gets off track. The key to a healthy marriage is to always be working on the friendship. Because, in the end, the rest of marriage seems to come together more easily and happily when you are working on it with your friend.

By living the life we should have lived, dying the death we should have died, and rising from the grave and conquering sin and death, Jesus made it possible for you and your spouse to be lifelong FRIENDS.

Fruitful: Friendship with one's spouse, like everything else, exists to glorify God and serve His kingdom.

Reciprocal: When both spouses make a deep heartfelt covenant with God to continually seek to become a better friend, the marriage is marked by increasing love and longing within both spouses.

Intimate: Deep friendships get beyond facts and opinions to the sharing of how we truly feel. Lifelong friends need to be transparent and vulnerable with each other.

Enjoyable: A friendship with an enjoyable spouse can make a world of difference. Any couple that hopes to exit this life still holding hands must be friends who have fun along the way.

Needed: We need human friendships in addition to friendship with God. The more a husband's need for his wife and a wife's need for her husband are celebrated as gracious gifts from God, the more oneness and friendship blossom in the marriage.

Devoted: Proverbs 17:17 says, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." In marriage, being a devoted friend in all of life's seasons is essential to building oneness, intimacy, and trust.

Sanctifying: As sanctifying friends, a married couple needs to lovingly, humbly, graciously, and kindly speak the truth in love to each other so that they may each grow to be more like Jesus Christ.

REVIEW: Share with the group how God has used your conversations regarding expectations last week and what you learned from sharing your stories with one another during your reflection time as a couple.

WATCH VIDEO: REAL MARRIAGE VIDEO 2: FRIEND WITH BENEFITS

VIDEO RESPONSE

Why are friendships so important to a healthy marriage?

SCRIPTURE REFLECTION

Our American culture often puts marriage, friends, and sex into three separate and mutually exclusive categories, but the Bible does not. Read from Song of Solomon 5:10–16 and see how the Bible puts them together.

Song of Solomon 5:16

    His mouth is most sweet,
    Yes, he is altogether lovely.
    This is my beloved,
    And this is my friend,
    O daughters of Jerusalem!

GROUP DISCUSSION

Today's discussion will focus on what it means to be friends with our spouses. Friendship provides a foundation for a lasting relationship and is vital to a healthy marriage. We need to be honest with one another regarding the state of our friendship; and if we are struggling, we need to be willing to receive help from one another. Friendship, like our marriages, is a gift from God to be nurtured, celebrated, and enjoyed. Help one another see the value of this gift from our loving Father.

GROUP QUESTIONS

1. Is the importance of friendship in your marriage a new concept for you? Explain why or why not.

2. Which of the seven attributes of friendship (see the FRIENDS acrostic) most resonates with you, and with which do you have the hardest time identifying? Talk through why that might be the case.

3. How can we, as a community, help one another be better friends without being condemning and without enabling unhealthy relationships?

4. How does the Bible's view of marriage, sex, and friendship contrast with that of our culture?

5. How does seeing marriage as God's tool to make you and your spouse holy change the way you would approach your marriage?

6. How does the gospel make friendship with your spouse possible?

7. What will it look like for you to receive the grace of God and pursue friendship with your spouse as a response to what Jesus has done, rather than pursuing that friendship out of duty?

PRAYER

? This week, begin prayer by thanking Jesus for making friendships possible and designing us to be and need friends.

? Pray that we as couples would be honest with one another regarding the state of our friendships.

? Finally, pray that our friendships with our spouses would grow in a way that would honor Christ and fill us with joy.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from REAL MARRIAGE by MARK DRISCOLL GRACE DRISCOLL BRAD HOUSE Copyright © 2011 by On Mission, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

How to Use This Guide....................5
Introduction....................8
Session 1: New Marriage, Same Spouse....................9
Session 2: Friend with Benefits....................21
Session 3: Men and Marriage....................31
Session 4: The Respectful Wife....................41
Session 5: Taking Out the Trash....................51
Session 6: Sex: Gross, God, or Gift?....................59
Session 7: Disgrace and Grace....................67
Session 8: The Porn Path....................75
Session 9: Selfish Lovers & Servant Lovers....................85
Session 10: Can We _____?....................93
Session 11: Reverse Engineering Your Life & Marriage....................101
Appendix I: Leader Thoughts....................109
Appendix II: Reverse Engineering Questions....................117
Appendix III: Helping Victims of Abuse or Assault....................127
Appendix IV: Date Night Tips....................131
"Getting to Know Your Spouse" Questionnaire....................135
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    good content, but be careful which format you buy

    I meant to buy the book but bought the workbook instead. Not a horrible mistake (they are both good) but this is twice this summer that I have accidentally purchased the wrong version of a book. Seems like I would learn!

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  • Posted March 20, 2012

    As I quoted Mark Driscoll’s words “Marriage is for o

    As I quoted Mark Driscoll’s words “Marriage is for our holiness before our happiness. Your spouse is the most sanctifying, and often most frustrating, relationship you will have. God will use our spouses to expose our selfishness and make us to be increasingly more humble servants like Jesus Christ” in my last post reviewing their book “Real Marriage – the Truth about sex, friendship and life together”

    So now, I return with a review on the small group DVD study based on this book and it really was an insightful study on the sanctity of marriage. In my previous post I mentioned that Mark and Grace, really revealed much of their journey in their marriage to readers and now to viewers alike and I do believe this was a very brave endeavour. The DVD study for small groups covers all the chapters highlighted in the book and Mark and Grace (either together or alone) expand on the ideas set out in the chapters of the book. Still, this couple’s heart for marriage is evident and I believe their views grounded in the Word and Truth of God are extremely insightful. I listened, I thought and I believed what they were saying. I do believe that marriage is our biggest challenge in terms of enduring, growing relationships and this couple put themselves out there to share some of their hard learned lessons. A great study for anybody wishing to see their “last day” together as an event of celebration in the same way that the “first day” together was.

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