How We’re learning

By Claudia Duff


“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1Corinthians 13:4-8a (ESV)

My husband and I have been married for 31 years and I do believe we both married our best friend. People say that all the time, probably because they indeed married their best friend.

My OW (one word) for this year is “forgive.” I really wanted to give it back for another word like “peace” or “joy” but, I got “forgive.”

Forgiveness is truly the cornerstone of our marriage. So many things have needed forgiveness over the past 31 years and God has granted us both a measure of faith to forgive one another again and again. That’s the only way to do this life on earth. We are surrounded by fallen people who hurt us and yet love us fiercely.

A heart of forgiveness is a treasure not to be taken for granted.

Redemption is tied tightly to forgiveness. Redemption is strapped to forgiveness like a baby to her nursing momma. When we offer up forgiveness, God honors that sacrifice with the beauty of redemption and the glory of God is released for all to see.

Others may remark, “You guys are so lovely together; what a great godly example of marriage you two are.” It’s not because we have been living a perfect marriage. Instead it’s because we have NOT been living a perfect marriage. We are living a forgiven marriage.

What they see are the flashes of God’s glory revealed in all of the gaps and broken places of our marriage. Marriage is hard work every, single, day; but, we get Jesus!

Every, single, day we get Jesus! For the past 43 years I have been a witness of God’s redemption in my life with the love of my life.

We met when I was 8 and married when I was 20, so lots of history together. God’s plan for “this is us” began to unfold and move forward. Now here we are, 31 years later, still married. Yet, it feels like more than just married–it feels like we are resting in the glory of a good and gracious God.

We ain’t just married; we are gratefully married, taking nothing for granted!

So thank you, Jesus, for 31 years of loving, forgiving, and Your glory shining through the broken places of our marriage–making “us” a glorious reflection of Your redeeming love.

I love you babe! It’s you and me ’til the wheels fall off and then we will just walk it!

How to View Marriage as a Work of Extravagant Love and Extreme Forgiveness:

What I am learning is that marriage is a constant dance of love and forgiveness. In the verses above it clearly gives the work of love as an all-consuming discipline. It is an “all in” kinda thing for both of us. No 50/50 split.

Sometimes I have nothing or maybe less than nothing to offer to my guy but his love for me, for us, steps in and he is able to give just a bit more.

That’s not partnership, that’s stewardship. The Lord has entrusted our marriage vows to each of us; it’s up to us to protect, nourish, and bring glory to God through them.

In reading through these verses and thinking of my marriage, I see the beauty of the sacrifices of love: a stronger faith. It is impossible for me to love like this without the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit leading me every step of the way.

Love is an action that makes you move, believe, and be grateful all at the same time.

Your Turn:

  1. What couple, who you know personally, has a marriage you admire? What do you see them doing that you could add to your marriage? Holding hands more? Laughing more? More date nights? What you learn from them, apply to your marriage without telling your husband.
  2. As you walk through this week, take some time to reflect on the above verses. Think about how you can put these verses into a daily life application.
  3. I have always journaled, but I have a new journal that I keep specifically for recording what I am learning through sermons, worship songs, devotionals, and my own writings. I encourage you to do the same this week. Look for nuggets of truth in all things and record them, so you will remember.


Lord, thank You for forgiving me of my past sins and renewing me in the Holy Spirit to love and forgive. Teach my Your ways and grant me courage to remain “all in” for my marriage. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Join Claudia at our next Strength2Throve Conference in San Diego on October 28! Find out more information and register today here – you’ll be so glad you did!