The Christian Broadcasting Network


Understanding Your Spouse’s Spiritual Gift

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor

Family Counseling Ministries -

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.


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