In my earlier post, I shared the "big picture" of spiritual gifts as part of the formation and sustainability of the church. I called it "the circle of life."
But those same dynamics can come into play in a marriage. So when preparing for marriage as part of pre-marital counseling, talking about the five spiritual gifts will be fodder for great conversation.
Specifically, here are three questions to discuss:
- Which of the five and their role in the church is most appealing?
- Which of the five gifts do you see in your partner?
- Which of the gifts do you least live into and why do you believe that?
Why talk about spiritual gifts during pre-marital counseling?
Well, it's actually a fun, yet insightful, way to get to know each other.
The old pick-up line "what's your sign" attempted to do something similar: to supposedly reveal someone's personality and their compatibility.
But far more interesting is understanding what gifts energize someone as part of the growth of the church, but without getting too, I dunno, "boring" about it. It's far less interesting, to me, to ask, "So, how do you like to serve in the church?" This question is more likely to bring upon false pretense and show.
You could still get the same result in talking about spiritual gifts, but because they are not commonly discussed, and for many people, still have a bit of mystery to them, there's far more 'play' to engage in the discussion.
Don't mistaken my intent: this is not intended to be a frivolous conversation. It should help each of you to put your lives in perspective around how you were designed, and what stirs your heart around building God's church.
Just as important, however, is to share how you perceive each other. Having someone who can see, appreciate, and encourage your gifts down the line will make a huge amount of difference.
Nothing could be lonelier than to begin to explore and activate your gift which is invisible to your spouse. Not only would that be a lonely experience, but it would also be a waste.
The third question is also a way to start to reveal weaknesses that could potentially be complemented by your potential spouse. It may not be. But even that is worth noting. If both of you realize you are weak in your interest in evangelism, that's good to know. On the other hand, if you are weak in the Shepherding gift, but your potential spouse is strong in it, that's also good to know.
The Engine Conversation
At that point, this is where things could get interesting.
Paul talks about how each part of the body is essential, that they must basically work well together.
Talking about how you envision your gifts working together and starting to exercise this engine could add a new level to the relationship.
The idea of the engine is like the way a basic engine works: while one piston is down, the other is up, and the combustion process cycles through this motion: when the one down goes up, the one that was once up goes down.
Finding the way your gifts work together could be powerful. For example, the one who is an evangelist and loves to connect people, who partners with the shepherd who like to care for people through hospitality, makes for a powerful engine.
Will this always be the case?
Probably not. But I bet if you have the conversation, you are more likely to find something that if you didn't.
I wouldn't despair if you don't have a readily-made engine through your gifts. These things often take time to appear.
But if you do see something, what a great way to continue to build the relationship up to and after your actual marriage.
Marriage serves a purpose, and the unity should support that purpose through a complementary engine.
What do you think?
- Do you believe that marriages can have such an engine based on each other's spiritual gifts?
- Could you share an example from your own life?
- What do you think would happen if no such engine were to be found?
Let me know, can't wait to hear what you think!