I remember walking by a bookshelf at a Christian bookstore, and this book by Gary Thomas shouted out at me: “Sacred Influence: What a man needs from his wife to be the husband she wants”. (This was a few years back when I had just got married, and was still figuring my way around.)
“This should be interesting,” I thought as I paid for the book, “it might just help me to change my man.” (Well, how many of us wouldn’t mind some tweaking and fine-tuning of our husbands? To be more romantic? More sensitive to our needs? A better listener?)
After reading the book, I realised how frivolous I was in thinking that, and how immature…If anything, the author’s intention was for me to change my attitude first. While marriage is about unconditionally accepting our spouse, there are also some circumstances that require real long-term changes to be made.
In a nutshell:
Women are designed by God to be a powerful influence on our husbands. However, we need to first understand a few things:
1. Change begins from me. And I can aim to be the best wife that he could ever have.
2. A man respects a woman who respects herself. “If you can stand strong and secure in your identity and in your relationship with Christ, courageously making it clear how you will and will not be treated, you will be amazed to see how the respect you show for yourself rubs off on your husband.”
3. A man needs affirmation and respect from his wife. These are basic ingredients to cultivate in our marriages first before we even try to motivate / influence our husbands.
4. A good marriage doesn’t happen by accident. It requires deliberate choices, sacrifice and perseverance. We need to take the initiative and start acting and changing, instead of just hoping for the best.
Some quotables from the book:
I’ll be upfront with you: you can’t change a man. But you can influence or move him – a far subtler art.
God, not your marital status or the condition of your marriage, defines your life.
You may not have realized this, but husbands like to brag about their wives. They may not say it to you, but they notice your strengths and take pride in them.
Your husband chose you as you were and accepts you as you are – but you can bless him with the woman you want to become.
Men don’t normally change if what they’ve been doing seems to be working for them. When a woman allows her husband to treat her with disrespect, he has no motivation to change – and so it’s unlikely he ever will.
The typical man remains unmoved by power plays or criticism or by a wife who disrespects him. He’s moved by a wife who lets him lead and then helps him get where he wants to go.
…it might surprise you to learn that when dozens of men filled out a recent survey, listing how they wish their wives would love them, not a single one mentioned a desire for their wife to lose weight. About half of them, however, expressed a desire for their wives to cultivate a different attitude toward sexual intimacy – a comfortableness with sex and their bodies, the willingness to be emotionally engaged, initiating, enthusiastic.
Because success and achievement play such a vital role in a man’s sense of well-being, we men tend to have a greater fear of failure, and even insecurity, than most women would ever guess.”
When you consistently, persistently, and creatively affirm your husband, you remove one of the most compelling reasons for him to get overinvolved at work or to find an escapist hobby that robs his passion for home.
I challenge you: if you really want to move your man, begin by praying this prayer: “Lord, how can I help my husband today?
I think the book really helped me to understand my man better. It’s also helped me to take responsibility for my marriage and know the influence that I have, and be able to use it for the benefit of my husband.
What do you think your man needs most from you?