Driscoll on Sex, Critics, and When to Cross the Line in the Pulpit

CL:  Mark, Your new book, Real Marriage, is a candid guide for married couples on building a healthy freindship and sex life–was it difficult emotionally or relationally to write this with your wife?

Mark:  She’s a better writer than I am.  Her degree is in PR with a minor in technical English, so she’s a much better technical writer than I am.  Writing it together was actually a unifying experience.  It forced us to have some deep conversations and revisit some things over our 27 years together, pray a lot more, talk a lot more, think a lot more. 

It was really beneficial to us.  My concern, quite frankly, is I’m used to being a public figure, and I’m used to being criticized, and I’m used to being really investigated like a Bible verse, parsed and examined at all angles.  But when it’s your wife, she’s a mother of five children, and she’s my wife.  She’s not in a paid ministry position. 

CL:  How is she handling the critics?

Honestly, she’s a really sweet gal, but stuff like that doesn’t bother her as much as it bothers me.  Certainly, I want to be humble.  I want to repent of sin.  I want to learn and grow, and sometimes, I think about people’s criticisms too much—especially if they really annoy me and I think they’re out of line.  

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For her, she says, “Oh, well, I’m just going to pray for them, and I love them.  Maybe they didn’t really mean that…”  She’s just a lot sweeter about it than I am, so it doesn’t seem to be taking a toll on her. 

CL:  Do you feel like there will come a point where you might need to engage some the criticism or deal with the people who are criticizing directly?

I do have some folks who are reading all the reviews and reading all the criticisms and giving me a summary.  Here are some of the big criticisms; here are the ones that you may be concerned about; here are the ones you may be able to learn from—and so it’s not that I’m totally insulated—but I’ve got a bit of a filter on that.  Part of it is just time.  There are only so many hours in a day with five kids and a church and everything else. 

Our goal in the book was not so that bloggers could talk with one another about issues of their sex lives.  Our goal was that husbands and wives could have those conversations.  That’s really the motive.  So bloggers and tweeters and Facebookers, they’re free to discuss it, but really, it’s for married couples.    

CL:  Is there any one critic that you really want to respond to? Have you seen any criticism come in that made you say, “That’s a good point, and I need to deal with this”?

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markdriscoll@churchleaders.com'
Pastor Mark Driscoll is the Preaching and Speaking pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He is one of the world’s most downloaded and quoted pastors. His audience—fans and critics alike—spans the theological and cultural left and right. Follow his updates at twitter.com/pastorMark.