This month, we’ve discussed love, both for God and for others. Today, as part of Marriage Monday, we’re going to narrow our focus to a specific way of loving our spouses: encouraging them to develop and use their spiritual gifts. Here are a few everyday ways to encourage your spouse in the area of spiritual gifts.
Encourage Him to Take Development Opportunities
When you see a class, conference, or book that could help him develop a sub-skill of his spiritual gift, encourage him to take the opportunity. Not, “You need to take that class! No excuses. Go sign up now!” That’s being pushy. Encouragement is affirming. “Honey, you are great at _____. I saw the way _____ responded last week. I think this could be a great opportunity for you to sharpen your skills.”
Sometimes my husband takes my suggestion and sometimes he doesn’t. The important part is really in the encouragement.
Pass Along Service Opportunities
If you hear of a service opportunity that really fits her giftedness, let her know. If it’s a better fit than some of the ministries she’s currently involved with, help her make room in her life and schedule to pursue the passions God’s placed on her heart. This is for everyone’s benefit.
Pray with and for Him about God’s Mission
Sometimes we assume that because God has placed us somewhere in the past, we’re always to remain there. Biblical record gives plenty of examples to the contrary. Your spouse’s spiritual gifts aren’t going to change, but God’s “assignment” for where and how those gifts are used may. Encourage your spouse to continually pray about God’s mission for him, to ask God if he is where God wants him. Be ready for change if the answer is no.
Offer to Do Legwork or Fill a Support Role
Maybe she’d really like to attend that training session, but she’s too busy with the kids to make the phone calls or buy her ticket. Offer to make arrangements for her.
Or maybe he’s finally going to finish his college degree. Let him know you can print off his application or buy his textbooks.
I recently began leading a small group for teen girls at our church. My husband isn’t involved with the group, but I see it as his ministry, too, because he takes on full-time dad duty when the group meets. I am confident that my daughter will be OK, so I can give my attention to the girls.
Affirm His Effectiveness
My primary love language is words of affirmation. So I feel good all over when someone takes the time to detail their appreciation of me or my service. But even those who thrive on other love languages sometimes need to hear they are doing well.
Tell him how his spiritual gifts have affected someone else in the church. Or observe how his gifts have blessed your family or any other group of Christians. Basically, you’re saying, “You’re gifted at _____. Here’s how I know.” Be specific.