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Even spiritual gifts can create conflicts between couples

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–Even spiritual gifts can cause conflicts in marriages if couples do not know and understand the characteristics of each, a human behavioral consultant said.
Spiritual gifts include prophecy, service, teaching, encouragement, giving, administration and mercy, and all have distinctive character traits that may or may not conflict with one other, according to Danny Glover, a counselor with Relationship Dynamics, Durham, N.C. Glover and his wife, Diane, taught “Spiritual Gifts and Perception Problems” during a Fall Festival of Marriage conference at Ridgecrest, N.C., Oct. 9-11.
“For example, a person with the spiritual gift of prophecy might just tell it like it is,” Glover said, “and if he has a wife with the gift of mercy, she might get mad at him and say, ‘Oh you’ve hurt so-and-so’s feelings.'”
Understanding each other’s spiritual gifts will help couples “know why you come at things differently,” the counselor said.
Glover said he has the spiritual gift of encouragement, while his wife has the gift of service. Those two gifts could cause family contention, he said, if the couple didn’t understand how they can emerge as opposite personality traits.
“If I’m going to the hospital to visit someone, she’ll wonder why I’m not taking them a cake or something to eat. And I think the fact that I’m going is good enough. If she didn’t know the characteristics of my gifts, she would think I was selfish and thoughtless.”
Glover described each gift, its keywords and its characteristics. He asked the couples to identify each other’s gift and discuss whether it could have the potential to cause marital conflicts if misunderstood.
The gifts, their definitions, keywords and characteristics are:
1. Prophecy — motivated to speak the Word of God or foretell the future in order to reveal a person’s motives or see people conform to God’s standards. Keywords are: right/wrong. Characteristics are: honest, discerning, direct, persuasive, forgiving, virtuous and authoritative.
2. Service — motivated to meet needs and be very alert to them. Keywords are: helping/doing. Characteristics are: sensitive, generous, available, worker, focused, project people, neglectful (of their families, for example) and loyal. “People with gifts of service just can’t do enough for other people.”
3. Teaching — motivated to clarify truth through research and instruction. Keywords are: truth/correctness. Characteristics are: systematic, accurate, dependable, detailed, diligent, traditional and critical.
4. Encouragement — motivated to encourage and admonish individuals and organizations to grow by visualizing God’s best. Keywords are growth/change. Characteristics are: visionary, talkative, insightful, open/transparent, positive, flexible and sensitive.
5.Giving — motivated to meet specific needs that help others to succeed. Keywords are: resources/success. Characteristics are: thrifty, resourceful, motivational, independent, like quality, cautious (meaning they won’t get involved in it until they believe in it) and risky.
6. Administration — motivated to help others organize to fulfill their delegated responsibility. Keywords are: organize/accomplishment and efficiency/effectiveness. Characteristics are: vision, detailed, delegate well, determination, decisive, loyalty and control.
7. Mercy — motivated to give grace and help people in time and need. Key words are: unity/love. “They do what they do so people will love each other.” Characteristics are: perceptive, good listener, non-confrontational, helpers, caring, savior and sensitive.
Glover said some of the gifts sound like they belong more naturally to women and others sound more masculine, but he advised the couples not to be misled by that.
“We have different gifts according to the grace God gives us. Spiritual gifts are not gender-oriented. We might have a different perspective on some situations than our spouses, friends or family members do, but if we can understand why they act the way they do, and they can understand why we act the way we do, we can all serve God more efficiently.”
Fall Festivals of Marriage are sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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  • Terri Lackey