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Do You Understand Your Mate’s Spiritual Gift?

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
We avoid frustration and disappointment when we understand our spouse’s spiritual gifts.

Family Counseling Ministries -

Sam and Linda looked forward all week to their upcoming weekend visit with good friends who lived several hours away. The entire family made elaborate preparations. The children could hardly contain their excitement about spending two days with their grandparents. As he serviced the minivan and loaded the luggage, Sam thought about the fun of helping Jim build a back deck on his home. For her part, Linda was eager to offer comfort and encouragement to Susan, who had suffered a miscarriage two weeks earlier.

What promised to be a pleasant and memorable weekend of fellowship became a source of personal frustration for Sam and Linda.


Driving home Sunday evening Linda poured out her disappointment and irritation to her husband, “You acted as though you didn’t care that Susan lost the baby. You and Jim were off in your own little deck-building world. You didn’t have to finish the deck this weekend. Was it too much to ask of you to spend a little time expressing some concern for her? Don’t her feelings matter to you at all?”


Sam’s surprise and hurt tumbled out,

Of course I care about Susan’s feelings. She and Jim are our best friends. You know I’d never do anything intentionally to offend her. I don’t understand where all this is coming from. I thought we shared great mealtime conversations, but Jim and I were focused on getting the job done. What’s wrong with that?

These partners, one motivated by a desire to serve, the other propelled by a heart of mercy, are seriously hindered in the communication process because they do not understand one another’s spiritual gifts.

The writer of Romans 12:6-8 charges Christians with a supremely important responsibility,

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Each one of these seven motivational gifts is viable and essential to the well being of the Body of Christ.

God entrusts all Christians with gifts and graces that they should enthusiastically exercise. As Believers use these gifts properly, they encourage and edify other Christians. When husbands and wives come to understand their motivational gifts, they are free to build each other up in the faith, strengthen the body of Christ, and share His life-giving message with a lost and dying world.

Additionally, they learn to be grateful for the differences in one another’s perspectives, rather than being threatened by them. In place of the tension and misunderstanding that may typify a relationship, peace and harmony begin to reign.


Instead of defending their own approach to a particular situation, husbands and wives begin to appreciate the value of their mate’s unique way of responding to the same circumstance.


When we learn, as marriage partners, to accept one another’s differing gifts, we are able to celebrate the diversity of those gifts. However, when we fail to understand how God uses varying spiritual gifts within the marriage relationship, we open the door to unnecessary misunderstanding and heartache. God would not have us be ignorant of such a foundational scriptural principle. Our mates need our whole-hearted affirmation of their motivational spiritual gifts. We must be committed to encouraging one another to implement our spiritual gifts in unique ways.



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