Real Marriage, by Mark Drizz-Cull Chapter 1

Cross posted from Free Jinger (I am still the OP)

Alright kiddies, gather round! It’s Halloween in a few weeks and Momma’s gonna read ya’all a HORROR story! This year, the book I have selected for your horrified amusement is: Real Marriage, by Mark and Grace DRISCOLL!

Don’t worry, though. I obtained it from the library. No money went to Mark or Grace Drizz-cull in the making of these reviews.

Let’s start with chapter one. Because introductions are boring, and basically just tell us all about what we’re already gonna read about anyway. (Actually, don’t usually think that way, but I skimmed this one and trust me, we’re not missing much.)

Chapter one begins with the story of Mark and Grace’s relationship, so that they will earn our trust.

Mark Blathers for a bit about that, and then Grace starts the story. The book is told by both of them, but so far is well marked when the viewpoint switches.

Grace starts off by talking about how the “seeds for the potential destruction of my marriage” were planted as a child. This is because she was PK, Pastor’s kid, and she felt this enormous pressure to be perfect. she grew up in a Christian home, but still somehow missed the memo on confession and repentance of sins. She felt like a no good dirty rotten sinner when she sinned, but, even as a PK, somehow missed the memo on God’s mercy and forgiveness.

When she would get in arguments with her sister, she would apologize because she wanted to get out of her time out, not because she was actually sorry. She never actually felt bad for what she’d done. Now when she sins she feels bad because she hurt people, and this empathy is prompted by the Holy Spirit, without whom she’d sound like someone who resembled a sociopath.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If you have to be prompted by an invisible sky-daddy into feeling sorry for doing something wrong, you have a problem, and the answer is therapy, not god.

Grace had low self esteem growing up because she didn’t realize her identity needed to be founded on God creating her in his Image and Jesus gifting her with righteousness. Because any other way of finding your identity is bad, mmkay?

Back to Mark, and this paragraph is so outrageous I don’t know if he’s embellishing or outright lying. He diens’t give the name of the town in which he grew up, describing it merely as:

a very rough neighborhood near the airport in Seattle before it was incorporated as a city. Without a local police force, it resembled the wild west… multiple strip clubs, seedy massage parlors, and… prostitutes brazen enough to knock on my car window seeking “business.

In other words: The “wrong” side of the tracks. And here is the part I find…. ?

These young women (the aforementioned prostitutes) attended my high school, and serial killers murdered some of them. Ted Bundy and the Green River Killer picked up many of their victims in my neighborhood, even dumping at least two of their bodies at my little league field.

It’s not enough for Mark to have grown up in a bad neighborhood, there must also be serial killers involved. How does he know they were women prostitutes anyway? Most of the prostitutes in my grandma’s town are actually male, even if dressed otherwise.

He goes on to describe all the men on his father’s side as criminals, uneducated, mental patients, and abusers. He’s pretty sure some of them have been on the TV show Cops.

This might all be true, but it’s sounding wilder and wilder by the minute.

Mark was determined to get out of all of this, to get an education and live across the river on the right side of the tracks. To this day (The day of this writing, what was it, 2005?) He has never smoked, drank, or did drugs. Congratulations, what does he want, a medal, or a chest to pin it on?

He was the “good guy” in high school, He graduated most likely to succeed, man of the year, editor of the school newspaper… bla bla I think I’ll give Mark a chest to pin it on. No, I’ll give him a medal, so I can stab him with it.

Oh, and his parents were Catholic. We all know what THAT means.

he met Grace when he was 17. Despite being a PK, Grace was into drugs and partying. He describes her as naive, and then goes on for a whole paragraph about how innocent is different from naive; the former is healthy, the latter is dangerous. I would agree, but this is a 17 year old we’re talking about here, and I would be surprised to find most 17 year olds actually being innocent. whatever.

Mark announces that neither he nor Grace was a virgin when they met, and that they had sex together before marriage. Sadly, this is not as detailed as they will get about their sex lives.

Mark declined a trip to Mexico because the company sending him said he would receive VIP treatment, which involved a lot of alcohol and women. he declined the offer to stay faithful to Grace. Yo dude, just because those things are there doesn’t mean you have to make use of them. That’s probably not why your company representative sent you to Mexico anyway.

Mark joined a fraternity in college, and the fraternity did nothing but drink, party, and have lots of sex. His pledge class ended up getting arrested. He doesn’t say what for, and it sounds like they all got arrested at once but that sounds hard to believe.

Mark said he got out just in time to avoid spending his nights and weekends in jail, prayze duh lawd.

God saved Mark while he was sitting in his dorm, reading a bible Grace had given him. He goes on to say that Grace should have broken up with him when she found out he wasn’t a Christian, but instead gave him a bible. Mark read Romans 1:6 “You are also among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.”

Mark trotted off to find himself a church. He didn’t know what to look for, and, rightfully so in my opinion, was afraid of getting caught up in a cult.

by the grace of God, I ended up in a solid bible teaching church, where I was taught about Jesus, marriage, sex, and family.

Alright kids, let’s play a game! It’s called, “Which word does not belong?”

A) Jesus
B) Marriage
C) Sex
D) Family

Seriously? Jesus might be first on the list, but you can tell he’s only mentioned as an after thought. Because the REAL spirituality of the church is measured in their teachings on the last 3. Most people I know of, when the first came to church, talked about how they learned about Jesus and his love, Jesus and his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus taking the punishment for our sins…. other basic gospel stuff, bla bla. No, Mark was excited to find this church because Marriage (which involves sex) sex, and family (which is created by SEX!) Oh and Jesus. Jesus does not have to do with sex, except in kinky porn novels.

Meanwhile, Grace got converted too. No, we don’t get to hear about it. She gave up drinking and partying, which, I don’t see why alcohol was so important to give up, as in moderation it isn’t a bad thing, and I didn’t THINK Mark and Grace were of the sort that think alcohol is ob da debbil and should never be consumed by a living soul.

Grace transferred to Mark’s college (Heaven forbid it be the other way around, I guess) and they began going to church together. and it was then that Mark began learning about sex and marriage from the bible.

the previous church I attended was Catholic, with a priest who seemed to be a gay alcoholic. He was the last person on earth I wanted to be like. To a young man, a life of poverty, celibacy, living at the church, and wearing a dress was more frightful than going to hell, so I stopped going to church.

That, folks, is Mark’s definition of the catholic priest. I could understand an aversion to being an alcoholic, but oh my gosh, I gotta go find some pearls to clutch, because heaven help Mark if he turns out GAY because apparently being gay is a moral issue in the same category as being an alcoholic.

By contrast, the pastor at this new church had been in the military, earned a few degrees, was smart, humble, and bow hunted. He had sex with his wife. I don’t know how Mark knew that. I mean, I generally ASSUME pastors who have wives are sexually active, but it’s not like it’s anything they or their wives talk to me about. Not that I’ve ever been close to any pastors (SDA ones all scare me) but I’ve gotten close to a few of their wives, enough to hear some TMI stuff. However, none of that TMI stuff has been at all about their sex lives. That was a closed door, and I never sought to open it. I don’t know if Mark here is just assuming the pastor has sex with his wife, or if he knows for sure. Either way, it’s a very odd thing to bring up when talking about how good a person is.

Mark describes the men at this church as godly and masculine. Because masculinity is next to godliness, clearly. He and Grace met a family with 13 children, 11 girls and 2 boys. I wondered briefly if they were the Duggars, but then realized the boy/girl ratio was off.

Mark heard a bible study given by a pastor who taught from the bible about “the f-word.” No, of course not. The F-word means FORNICATING, silly. What were you thinking?

Anyway, Mark finally learned about how fornicating is wrong even if you’re in a committed relationship, so he and grace stopped, got engaged, and got married before their senior years of college.

And now, the REAL what the fuckery begins. *plays ominous music* :violin: There, now the mood is set. Don’t read this in the dark, children, or you may see monsters in the shadows.

Anyway, after marrying Grace, things were different. Before marriage, Grace had been free and fun. After marriage she was “a frigid and fearful wife.” She didn’t undress in front of him and insisted marital relations, if performed at all, were to be done in the dark. She also experienced physical discomfort due to tension.

I will admit that it does seem like there is a problem here, though I’ve no idea what it could be. Perhaps Grace should speak to a trained therapist about it, and in the mean time see a gynecologist to make sure it IS tension making things painful downstairs and not something more serious.

All of this made Mark bitter against God and his wife. He felt they had both tried to trap him. he was the good guy, and since he’d only slept with a few other people, he felt God owed him because he had been holy enough.

I felt God had conned me by telling me to marry Grace, and allowed Grace to rule over me since she was controlling our sex life. I loved grace, but in the bedroom I did not enjoy her and wondered how many years I could white knuckle fidelity. Grace was so full of shame and hurt from previous relationships that she didn’t trust that i loved her, no matter how many times I said it. she became afraid of me and felt used as i tried to explain how she frustrated me sexually, which added to her feeling less valuable. we both needed help but didn’t know where to turn.

Couple of things here:

1. Jee, no wonder Grace felt unloved. Love is an action, not a word. You can tell a person ” I love you” over and over again, but if you constantly treat them like a piece of trash “Grace was ruling over me” “Grace was controlling our sex life,” etc. No one is going to believe you.

2. Grace was ruling over Mark by controlling their…. OH GOOD GOD! This just smacks of “women must be available for sex at all times and never say no.” After all, would it still be a bad thing if MARK was the one controlling their sex life?

They were poor for a few years after graduation… bla bla bla, I don’t care. They felt called to start a church in Seattle. For the first 2 years they couldn’t afford to pay Mark.

Grace talking now. She realizes she never followed the biblical command to leave her family and cleave to Mark as her new family. She called her mom daily and complained whenever she and Mark were fighting.

It is odd for a married woman to call her mom daily, I think. I’m moved out, and I call my mom once a week, maybe twice if something big is going on. And there can be value in being able to talk about issues with one’s husband with a woman who is older and wiser than you and been there and done that and can help out and give a little advice.

However, if she was complaining about Mark every single day to her mom… ehhhh. I know a person who got married and then spent dates with her new husband texting her mother. Even though they could afford to do otherwise, this girl insisted they move in with her mother. And then her mother posted on facebook, all joy and smiles, that she was waking up her daughter to go to school because it was her daughter’s first day as teacher.

Seriously? After I hit my teens, my mom only woke me up if she thought my alarm clock had failed me. That only happened on average of twice a school year.

So it can be very devastating to a marriage to still be super dependent on your mom, and that sounds like waht is going on here.

Grace’s parents also had the keys to the house, and would stop by any time, unnannounced. This lack of privacy frustrated introverted Mark. Well yeah, that would frustrate me too. I mean, if my mom lived nearby she would have the keys to my house, but that would be with the understanding that they were only to be used in emergencies. Like when I was sick with flu and couldn’t take 5 steps without feeling like I was going to faint. That does not sound healthy.

I called them “My family” which made Mark feel as if he and I weren’t family. I had to learn to… refer to Mark as “my family” and others as our “extended family.”

Is… is this a thing in real life? do people actually do this? As an aromantic asexual I highly doubt I will ever marry (it just doesn’t appeal to me) but if I did, I could NEVER refer to my dad, mom, and brother, as “extended family.” Heck, I don’t even refer to my own GRANDMA that way. To me she is “my family.” My cousins are “my family,” my really grouchy step grandma, though not biologically, is “my family.” The only people I personally refer to as extended family are relatives I never see, and even then, I tend to see them as “family I haven’t met yet.”

I would NEVER want to permanently attach myself to someone who was so insecure that I couldn’t even refer to my own mother and father and grandma and cousin as “my family.” Oh good god.

I’m taking a small vodka break. I’ve got about another 8 pages to go in this chapter, and it’s my goal to get it done tonight. We’ll see, though, as I’m in minor amounts of pain, and not just from reading this horror story.

Now I’ve got more vodka, I’m ready, I think. Mark is still talking. He said they did ministry in their home every night a week. Mark is an introvert, who prefers home to be a refuge where he can have his alone time.

For once I actually agree and sympathize with Mark. I would feel the exact same way. It sounds like something he needs to discuss with his wife so they can set appropriate boundaries between home and ministry. All during the ministry their sex life was suffering, even as they taught premarital counseling for young couples.

Then Grace got pregnant. She suffered a lot of stress from her job, so she came home from work and they lived on odd jobs and support. which probably means free stuff from people trying to support to their ministry.

In this season we shifted into ministry and family mode, neglecting our intimacy and failing to work through our issues. This became apparent to me when my pregnant wife came home from a hair appointment with her previously long hair (that I loved) chopped off and replaced with a short, mommish haircut. She asked what I thought, and could tell from the look on my face. She had put a mom’s need for convenience over being a wife. She wept.

It’s one thing not to like your wife’s new haircut. That is allowed. Even with friends, I’ve been known to say something like, “well, I liked it the other way better, but having short hair is more convenient. And I don’t think it makes you look ugly. I just liked it better before.” Because I’m not the type to tell them I like it when I don’t. Though I do try to remain tactful.

It’s another thing to act like your wife has totally betrayed her wifely duties by cutting it. I just…

Oh my god, I thought THAT was bad. We’re coming up to the paragraph I believe has been discussed here before, but I’ll quote it anyway because someone might not have read it.

One night, I had a dream in which I saw some things that shook me to my core. I saw in painful detail Grace sinning sexually during a senior trip she took after high school when we had just started dating. It was so clear it was like watching a film–something I cannot really explain but the kind of revelations I sometimes receive. I awoke, threw up, and spent the rest of the night sitting on our couch, praying, hoping it was untrue and waiting for her to wake up so I could ask her.

I asked her if it was true. She confessed it was. Grace started weeping and apologizing, but I honestly don’t remember the details, as I was shocked. Had I known about this sin, I would not have married her.

The first time I read this, I kind of skipped over the whole “I had a vision part.” Now it’s leaping out at me. Before, I was too busy with the last sentence, “If I had known about this sin, I would not have married her.”

Ow. Oh ouch. And I don’t mean my knee, which incidentally is why I’m here instead of touring a 3 story haunted house.

It happened in HIGH SCHOOL. When they had JUST STARTED dating. Her cheating on him in high school would have stopped him from marrying her during their senior year of college. Don’t get me wrong, I think Grace should’ve been honest with him from the start. But I still think he’s being a big baby about it. I mean, they were children in high school for buddha’s sake, he’s going to hold a grudge over… I was enraged when I first read that.

It showed he didn’t see Grace as a person, with her own personality. He didn’t say something like, “you know what, that was a long time ago. You are the love of my life. I am a little hurt, but you know what? I was so in love with you I’d have married you anyway.”

It felt like Mark saw Grace as tarnished by her cheating, and therefore not worth having as a wife.

Grace picks up the narrative, talking about how Mark had “righteous anger” about the subject and felt totally betrayed. Mark didn’t know what to do, Mark felt, bla bla bla shouldn’t MARK be the one narrating how HE felt?

Grace felt guilty. They both felt stuck in the marriage. Grace felt awful knowing Mark wished he hadn’t married her.

Grace admits they should have gone for counsel, but they didn’t. Grace thought that exposing the deepest sin would help heal her and Mark and bring them closer together, but it didn’t happen for another 7 years. They were trapped in the marriage because divorce is ob da debbil because BYE-BULL.

Grace goes on to say some people will use that story against her and Mark, but they wanted to share it anyway so they could help others.

Mark talking: he was mad that Grace chose not to reveal that sin in their premarital counseling sessions….

you know, I feel like if God was going to reveal that to Mark, it should have been either before they got married, or saved it for such a time as they could fully heal and deal with it. It just seems odd for God to give Mark the revelation even though he knew they’d have to wait 7 years to heal properly, and shouldn’t God have waited fro Grace to tell Mark, anyway? Wouldn’t it have been a lot better for Grace to wait a little longer, but open up to Mark herself, than to have sky-daddy tattle on her?

This story does not paint God in a good light. Juuuuuust sayin’.

Mark felt like a total fool after he discovered Grace’s sin, and ended up demonizing Grace and doubting God.

Grace said she knew she should have told Mark, but believed that telling him would only hurt him more, and it was just a one time mistake anyway.

Grace began to fear that God was too good for her, that she didn’t deserve such a good husband. She grew emotionally distant because she was afraid he was going to leave her.

I think one of my house mates is watching a horror movie, because the ominous music just left my head and entered reality. OH wait, that’s not ominous music, it’s American Idol and they really do sound that badly. Whoops. Back to Drizz-Cull.

Mark made a decision not to turn to porn, adultery, or masturbation. Which is sad because I think he could really use a good wank. Instead, Mark poured all his energy into his ministry and children. No I don’t mean his sexual energy.

lots of long paragraphs about trust issues…

They were both very bitter… Grace wishes she’d listened to God’s voice leading her to repentance… right, because Mark’s behavior is totally appropriate either…

Mark preached on song of sons… snicker snicker. Lots of people went to Mark for counseling. Lots of sexual abuse victims…

God kept Mark and Grace together. They had mediocre sex which resulted in 5 children and one miscarriage. They both say they still loved each other, and maybe that’s true but it doesn’t seem like it.

Then God spoke to Mark and told him that He was Grace’s father and had chosen Mark for the important mission of rescuing, protecting, and loving His daughter. This made more sense to Mark, because Mark had a newborn daughter, Ashely, and he realized that God loved Grace like Mark loved Ashley.

And finally after about 7 years or so, Mark found out (hopefully not via more tattling by sky-daddy) that Grace’s problem was that she was a victim of sexual assault and had never told anyone. Mark talked about how much all of this hurt him as they worked through it. To his credit, he realized he had been overbearing and boorish.

Details about Mark’s ministry at the time… they did a bunch of new things with the church and lost around a thousand people due to changes and criticism (no, he doesn’t spell out what the issues were, exactly.) They laid off a lot of people, many of whom Mark says were great people, and decided everything in the church would change or they would walk.

It kind of sounds like half the problem was Mark putting in too many hours, but then why would you lay off people like that? This don’t make no sense!

Finally, he and Grace got some professional help. They now have a healthy sex life and are very close to each other. They never cheated on each other during their married years.

Parts of this book are things Mark has preached about in… he proceeds to list different countries…. *stabs Mark with medal*

Mark and Grace pray that the contents in the book lead to the healing of your soul and of your marriage if you suffer from bitterness, past sexual sin, porn, fornication, sexual abuse… etc.

Tune in next time to read the next chapter: Friends with Benefits!

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