When marriage partners possess a clear understanding
of both their spouse’s spiritual gifts and their own, they can
often circumvent marital conflict. A vital step towards finding deeper
fulfillment in the marriage relationship involves taking a closer
look at the importance of spiritual gifts.
God graciously grants to each Christian, at the point
of his or her conversion, various gifts, skills and abilities for
the purpose of glorifying Himself and building up the Body of Christ.
The seven motivational gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8 provide an
excellent basis for an investigation into an understanding of how
spiritual gifts function within marriage.
A husband or wife who has been given the gift of
prophecy has a high regard for God’s Truth and a deep motivation
to warn other people of the consequences of wrong actions. A wife,
whose husband has the gift of prophecy, for example, comes to him
seeking comfort because her close friend has made an unkind remark.
Rather than offer words of consolation, he responds to her need with
a seemingly harsh admonition,
Honey, you’ve walked with the Lord long enough
to know that people will always let you down. It’s sinful to
depend on other people instead of on God.
Her deflated spirit is a strong cue that he has
failed in his attempt to encourage her.
Someone with the gift of mercy has a keen sensitivity
to the feelings of others and a compelling desire to alleviate emotional
pain. A wife tells her downhearted teenage son, who has locked the
keys in the family car, “Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Even though it’s an expensive problem to fix, it could happen
to anyone.” Her husband, however, interprets her words as being
overly soft and lenient. He criticizes her for letting their son off
the hook too easily.
When a crisis occurs in the life of a friend or
family member, a servant-hearted spouse longs to meet immediate, practical
needs. Upon hearing that a friend has lost his job a wife suggests,
Let’s take them a meal and clean their house
once a week until John finds employment. Maybe that will be some encouragement
to them during this difficult time.
An exhorter, on the other hand, wants to discern
the reason why the crisis occurred. “Could God be teaching our
friends patience and humility in the midst of this trial?” he
might ask. “We shouldn’t get in God’s way by moving
in too fast with our own solutions to the problem.”
While attending a Missions Conference at their
church, a husband with the motivational gift of giving comments, “I
was thrilled to hear about all the people this missionary is reaching
for Christ. I believe God is prompting our family to financially support
his ministry.” The wife, however, whose perception is propelled
by the gift of teaching replies, “That may be so but I don’t
think his biblical explanation of evangelism was entirely accurate.
I also think he used a couple of scriptures out of context.”
A spouse who is gifted with administrative ability
finds joy in accomplishing projects and goals in a God-honoring
manner. He or she is skilled at seeing what needs to be done and
delegating specific jobs to people who can help bring the project
to fruition. Because this individual seems to feel free to tell
other people what to do with little apparent hesitation, his or
her spouse may view him or her as presumptuous or controlling.