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Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands Paperback – March 26, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gary Thomas is a writer in residence at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, and an adjunct faculty member teaching on spiritual formation at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of over a dozen books, including Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways, Pure Pleasure, Sacred Parenting, and the Gold Medallion Award-winning Authentic Faith.


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Sacred Influence Copyright 2006 by Gary L. Thomas Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Thomas, Gary (Gary Lee) -- Sacred influence : what a man needs from his wife to be the husband she wants / Gary L. Thomas. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN-10: 0-310-24740-3 ISBN-13: 978-0-310-24740-1 1. Wives --- Religious life. 2. Influence (Psychology) --- Religious aspects --- Christianity. 3. Husbands --- Psychology. 4. Marriage --- Religious Aspects --- Christianity. I. Title. BV4528.15.T56 2006 248.8'435 --- dc22 2005023927 This edition printed on acid-free paper. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message. Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means --- electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other --- except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Interior design by Michelle Espinoza Printed in the United States of America 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 * 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 We want to hear from you. Please send your comments about this book to us in care of Thank you. Part 1 Your Marriage Makeover Begins with You Chapter 1 The Glory of a Godly Woman Understanding Who You Are in Christ I laughed out loud when I saw it. While waiting in line at a grocery store, I read the cover of a leading women's magazine and just had to write down the title of one of its articles: 'Why so many smart, good women put up with snarly, dreadful men.' You know what made me laugh? I can't even imagine a leading men's magazine --- say, GQ or Esquire --- with an article titled 'Why so many honorable, decent men put up with conniving, manipulative women.' It would never happen. Nor will you ever see books titled Men Who Love Too Much or The Men-Haters and the Men Who Love Them. There's a good reason for this. Historically, neurologically, socially, and even biblically, I believe one can make the case that women tend to be more invested in their relationships and marriages than are men. As my friend Dr. Melody Rhode, a psychologist and marriage and family therapist, puts it, 'Women are bent to their husbands; we just are.' This reality has its roots in the very first family. Back in Genesis 3, following the fall, God tells Eve, 'Your desire will be for your husband' (verse 16). Respected Old Testament commentators Keil and Delitzsch suggest that the Hebrew language here evokes a 'desire bordering on disease.'1 It comes from a root word connoting a 'violent craving' for something. Some women exhibit more of this than others. I recently listened to a talk program in which a woman described how her husband had carried on a secret affair for more than four years. The husband had acted cruelly on many fronts. He had introduced his mistress to his wife, for example, and in his wife's absence he had brought the mistress home. In fact, he even took his mistress into his wife's bed. The illicit relationship ended only when the mistress died. But do you know what most surprised me about the call? The wife seemed more concerned about losing this despicable man than she did about facing a life without him! Even though he had disrespected her as deeply as possible, trampled on their marital intimacy, and offended their marriage bed, she felt more afraid of waking up without him than of waking up next to him. In fact, she really wanted to find out more about the mistress! What did she look like? What kind of personality did she have? What did her husband see in her? Contrast this with a recent question-and-answer article in Sports Illustrated, in which a number of professional male athletes were asked if they would ever take back a 'runaway bride,' a woman who left them at the altar and embarrassed them in front of their family and friends. Not a single athlete said he would. One of the men responded so vehemently and colorfully that I can't even print his answer in this book. Why the discrepancy? In some cases, it may indeed be that women are more spiritually and emotionally mature, willing to forgive for the sake of the family and larger considerations. But in other cases, it might be less noble than that. Some women never rise above a sinful propensity to define themselves according to their likability --- or acceptance --- by men. Unfortunately, some men seem to have an ultrasensitive spiritual radar that picks up on this. They somehow intuit a woman's spiritual neediness and will exploit it for their own ends. Because of Christ's work and the conquering power of the Holy Spirit, however, Christian women can be set free from such psychological dependency and destruction. Listen to a passage from 1 Corinthians 7, as rendered by Eugene Peterson in The Message: 'And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life' (verse 17). Did you catch that last line? God, not your marital status, defines your life. Is this true of you? The more it is, the more success you will have in moving your man, because weak women usually forfeit their influence. Look at this from a very practical perspective: do you care much about what a person for whom you have little respect thinks of you? Probably not. So then, how is such a person going to influence you? When their opinion doesn't matter, they may communicate clearly, honestly, and practically --- but you're still not going to listen to them. In the same way, if your husband doesn't respect you, if you have sinfully put his acceptance of you over your identity as a daughter of God, then how will you ever influence him for the better? Now let's put a positive spin on this. If someone you really respect, greatly admire, and enjoy spending time with comes to you with a concern, aren't you going to give their words extra thought? Aren't you at least going to consider that they may have a point, and that you need to pay attention? Of course you are. This explains why the type of woman who moves her man is a woman who also impresses her man. I heard one husband gush about his wife's business acumen, while another raved about his wife's intelligence. Yet a third man went on and on about his wife's spiritual maturity and her ability to understand the Bible. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (March 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031027768X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310277682
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gary Thomas is a bestselling author and international speaker whose ministry brings people closer to Christ and closer to others. He unites the study of Scripture, church history, and the Christian classics to foster spiritual growth and deeper relationships. Gary's unique message will help you:

* Embrace the unique way that you interact with God.
* Partner in the spiritual growth and character formation of your spouse.
* Build a closer, grace-based family.
* Enjoy God with a new sense of freedom and delight.

Find out more at:

Customer Reviews

It is very inspiring and gives lots of great advice.
This book has helped me a lot to understand what and how my husband thinks about certain things and how he thinks and feels towards me and my actions.
Michelle Y Evans
Sacrificial life for God to love as God first loved US.
Amanda Hagy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

135 of 143 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Sacred Influence addresses a woman's role in marriage as designed by God. This book is Biblically sound and doctrinally accurate. Gary Thomas' ability to tell women how be the wives that husbands need them to be and the women God designed the to be in such a kind and gentle way demonstrates his skill as an author and his understanding of love defined in I Corinthians. He does not compromise the truth regarding the requirements God sets before a woman in her marriage, or the roles for which we are designed. However, instead of beating down a woman's spirit, he mananges to motivate women to do their duties, in even the most difficult circumstances because it helps a husband be the man she wants and needs him to be. When I finished this book, it was very clear to me how much men need their wives in every facet of life. The better a wife treats her husband, the more likely she is to be treated better in return. The level of success of this priciple is of course relative to the humility of soul in both people in the marriage, and Thomas does not back down from that principle, either. Being valuable and needed is necessary validation for all of us. Thomas suggests that wives look for how their husbands might be trying to give them that validation, rather than assume the husbands aren't because they aren't doing it the way the wife thinks they should be. Furthermore, he suggests living by example in that regard--don't demand what you're not offering. If wives treat husbands like they are men, instead of wishing they would be something else--namely women, then they come to a point where they cannot live without us. Many women who are dissatisfied in their marriages complain that their husbands aren't men they want them to be.Read more ›
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116 of 124 people found the following review helpful By A.R.T. on June 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
I must first and formost admit that this is was a very difficult book for me to read. The TRUTH presented in it hit home like a tone of bricks! I really appreciate Mr. Thomas's point of view and I really like that this book is written from a man's point of view. I really feel like God has chosen me to do a good work in my husband's life. This book has helped me see how I have not been cooperating with God in being a Godly influence to my husband. Here's the thing: I'm not sure I would recommend this book for women who are being neglected or emotionally/physically abused by their husband. Women in this position are in a very delicate state and need to be built up in God and receive a stronger foundation in Him before being able to take a look at themselves throught the lens of this book. There are elements in this book that may inadvertently reinforce a woman's belief that her mistreatment is her doing and her responsibility. A woman's abuse at the hands of her husband is his choice and his choice ALONE. There are so many woman out there who need to be empowered FIRST, before one is able to pick apart their roles in their abusive relationships. There needs to be a greater awareness of this issue and it needs to be addressed more openly in books that deal with the woman's role in the marriage.

Although there was a chapter on husbands who are unsaved, it was not adequate. This kind of union has different needs from a christian union and I felt that this book did not provide this different perspective.

Another bad taste that was left in my mouth after all this was that in my readings of so many of the Christian lit on marriage (including this one), men seem to not be held accountable for ungodly behavior as much as women. Despite this very valuable point of view from Mr.
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119 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Erin Z on July 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was really excited about this book, but I ended up feeling more frustrated than anything else. To be fair, the book is not poorly written and indeed is more engaging than many Christian advice books out there. However, I think that Mr. Thomas simply lost control of the tone--in the end I had the feeling that he sees marriage as nothing more than a long trial sent from God, the rewards of which we will reap only when we get to heaven. In all of the other marriage books I've read, the authors praise their own wives highly and seem to be genuinely happy in their marriages. I get no such sense from Mr. Thomas (this is not to say his marriage isn't happy, simply that it doesn't come across in the book). If he explains in great depth the mechanics of the first fruit of the spirit, love, he neglects entirely the second, joy.

My other complaints with the book involve Mr. Thomas's treatment of genders. While I appreciate understanding a man physiologically, I don't want my understanding of my husband to end there. Nor do I want him to understand me only from a biological standpoint (i.e., I am one of 3.5 billion females). Also, I felt like women are held to a much higher standard in this book than men are, and that wives are often held accountable for their husbands' behavior, or at least for aggravating their husbands' bad behavior. I understand that this book was written specifically for women, but the implication seemed to be that wives simply have to bite the bullet, accept that their husbands will never be all that spectacular, and then try to accommodate them in every way. Furthermore, I was actually insulted on men's behalf at times, due to the way that Mr.
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