This has opened up opportunities for Grace and me to speak to many members of the national media about Jesus and marriage. We thank God for these opportunities, as our goal in writing the book was to get it into as many hands as possible in order to help as many people as possible.
Most importantly, we’re hearing many stories about how the book is helping those who are reading it. I thought I’d share a few of those stories here.
“Your book is so needed. I wish it had been there to answer the questions that nobody had the guts to answer bluntly for us.”
“My husband and I started the book last Thursday. By Saturday, the walls started crumbling. Walls that we did not even realize we had built. We just celebrated 17 years of marriage and feel like we are returning to our first love with each other.”
“We eloped 12 years ago and never had any premarital counseling. This afternoon we talked about things we have never even thought to discuss in TWELVE YEARS!!”
“This book has helped us get further into living for Jesus in our marriage and everyday lives. I’m not an emotional dude at all, but to be honest, feeling so understood and encouraged by a marriage book brings me to tears.”
“I’m truly beginning to cherish my wife as my best friend instead of just the woman I married 8 years ago.”
“Thank you Grace and Mark for sharing your imperfections so honestly with us and being an example that we can serve one another and walk this walk side by side and face to face with our friend. I have been so encouraged by not just the wisdom from the Word, the other marriage gurus, and your own story, but mostly that you are REAL! Maybe that is what this world needs, not piety, or judgement, or criticism, but REAL!”
“My husband and I have been married for 23 years and have learned to grow together through trial and error. I picked up a copy of Real Marriage to see if there were any areas I needed to improve on and found it very helpful. I have been what is described in the book as a controlling wife for many of our years together. It was a great reminder to me on how a wife is to respect her husband. Because of past trauma in my life, I regarded all men the same. What I’ve realized is my husband is not like the men in my past who have hurt me. He is a blessing from God who has always loved me in spite of my imperfections. I am truly blessed to be loved by a godly man and it will be my privilege and honor to show him every day how special he is to me.”
“Want to thank Grace in particular for her chapter about disgrace. I really appreciate her honesty, and God had her words reach out to me as I read what she wrote. I see so much of God’s strength in her. And I feel like she is the big sister I never got to have. Love you, Grace.”
“I listened to about 100 sermons by Pastor Mark in two or three months and got all of my friends, and of course my wife, to listen to them too. I could not believe what I was hearing! The way he talked about women and marriage and being a godly man was like setting a broken bone for me. So, when I saw on Pastor Mark’s Facebook a few weeks ago that you could donate to Mars Hill and at the same time get Real Marriage for free, I was extremely excited. I immediately donated and just received the book a few days ago. I have already stormed through the first five chapters and have discussed them in depth and prayed about them with my wife. The first chapter was awesome because Mark and Grace outlined so many things that we have struggled with—and some that we continue to struggle with in our marriage. We are both so glad to have a marriage book that is so different from so many that we’ve read in the way that Mark and Grace keep it real while at the same time injecting so much Bible into the pages. I keep buying this book for my friends, and I even want to get it for my parents. I know that God uses Mark and Grace all the time for millions of people, but I really think that he used them specifically for us. This book has helped us get further into living for Jesus in our marriage and everyday lives.”
“Our intimacy issues were almost exactly the same as what you described with Grace during your tough years, and I remember the feeling of isolation, compounded by the fact that divorces were happening all around me. Yet, I was being withheld from making such a decision by the grace of the Holy Spirit. I was full of rage and hate, and last year we were at a breaking point. If I would have had Chapter 1 of your book last year, it would have worked wonders. You often hear about the woman who goes through issues in a marriage as far as men not “stepping up” but you never hear anything about men who are trying to be faithful but dealing with an extremely difficult situation. Hearing from Grace’s side of things helped as well, and it gave me hope that things can improve. We’ve been reading a chapter and stopping for discussion on each chapter, and the conversations have been fruitful, tough, but most importantly redemptive.”
“As a newlywed, I was very excited to read Real Marriage. My husband and I read it together and are so thankful for the valuable information we learned. We have already applied what we learned to our own marriage and are seeing it grow and strengthen before our eyes. It was inspiring to read Mark and Grace’s testimony’s and their past mistakes and struggles in their marriage—it helped my husband and me discuss some things that we would not had even thought about. Thank you for this book!”
“My wife and I are sharing Real Marriage, and last night while I was finishing up some work she sat in our living room chair laughing quietly as she read. Curious about what she found so humorous, I asked her about it and we shared a good laugh together about how real some of the examples you use are and how close they are to our own experiences. We are only a few pages in and already we are having fun and enjoying talking about our marriage. The biggest win is that we are actually taking time for one another and enjoying one another’s company along with some good teaching. We are both looking forward to finding out how Jesus continues to mold and shape our marriage as we pursue one another and together pursue his Holy Spirit.”
“We started reading Real Marriage together last week and it prompted me to ask my wife a few questions about our sex life. I mentioned to my wife that our sex life just wasn’t very sexy anymore. We’ve lost the spark when it comes to sex. It’s been in the back of my mind for a while and I decided to ask her about it. The conversation that came along with this brought me to confession and repentance with both God and my wife. She opened up and told me how spiritually alone she felt. How she feels like she’s going through trials alone and how frustrated she’s been with my lack of spiritual leadership in our home. We don’t have kids. We’ve tried to conceive for over two years now and a few weeks ago we got a cancer scare when the doctor found a lump in my wife's breast. She opened up more about those specific trials and mentioned how alone she’s felt. Even when we got great results back from the mammogram (no cancer found) she said she felt like she was rejoicing alone. She said even though we pray together it feels sporadic and repetitive. This floored me—no wonder the sexy is gone from our sex life. I’m failing my wife, and she not only doesn’t feel connected to me, she feels alone. We had a great conversation, and after, an emotional time of prayer together and repentance on my part. Tonight we are starting to go through the book of 1 Peter together. I’m thankful for books like Real Marriage that help initiate good conversations. Thank you, Mark and Grace, for being open and real. It has already helped expose my sin and helped to steer our marriage back towards Jesus.”
“I felt like I was getting the worst scolding of my life while I read your book. Line after line and story after story, the convictions started to hit me. I cried so many times reading the book realizing what I had been doing wrong and how selfish I was and how ungodly of a wife I had been. It was the morning of January 4 that I broke down to my husband and asked for forgiveness. I never knew exactly what a godly wife was supposed to be. I was raised in a minority family, I was taught to fight for what you want, to work hard to get where you want to go in life. When I thought that I was fighting for what I wanted, I was pushing my husband farther and farther away. It has been five days since I read the book, and my marriage has been nothing but beautiful. I can’t remember the last time my husband smiled for more than two days or wasn’t mad or angry. There have already been a number of tests that have come up where I respond in a godly, respectful way. I am sure we are going to fail, and there are times when I am going to be stubborn, 'cause we are all sinners. But there is no way that I would ever try to prove a point so strong unless it’s absolutely needed. I will respect my husband as the head of our house. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for your book and God, I have no idea where my marriage would be today. I am truly indebted to you and your wife.”
“My husband and I have been married for three years. We believed that sexual sin would be easier to put to death once we were married. We were wrong. We both continued in sexual sin on and off through the past three years and although we have repented to Lord Jesus every time by the grace of God, we have let pride prevent us from confessing to each other. We read Real Marriage and both of us felt convicted that we needed to confess to each other, bring our sins into the light, and be one by being honest. God has since blessed us immensely, redeeming our sex life to be something we couldn’t have imagined would be so good and so intimate. It is so wonderful to know you are one with God and one with each other.”
We also got a nice note from a Mars Hill member on the start of the Real Marriage sermon series.
“Since today is the official launch of Mars Hill Sammamish, and my friend’s 18th wedding anniversary, I thought you and Mark would appreciate this neat Facebook post (I copied below) that my friend posted along with the pic of the snowmen her kids made. The part that blesses me, and I think will bless you, is that this is a long time church friend from Evergreen Christian Fellowship who has been struggling along with us through the transition process. The cool thing is how their whole family is experiencing God’s blessings through the Mars Hill merge, and the series on Real Marriage.
Grace, thank you and Mark for your work, your honesty, your integrity, and putting yourself out there for the world to see, letting God use you and your story to help others (I’m reading your book now).
Here is my friend’s Facebook post:
In honor of our 18th Anniversary (today) and also the kick off of our Real Marriage series at church—our kids made this snow couple holding hands! They especially wanted to show Mark Driscoll!”
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