Couples have a hard time believing that it is “good thing” when their spouse disappoints them. Living with an imperfect person is hard to do when you were expecting them to be a little less flawed. In these dark times of the reality of a spouse’s brokenness, we question whether we married the right person.

The truth is God gave you not just the right person but the exact person you were needing in your refinement process. Here are three foundational truths I’ve seen about God and His “ability” to put couples together in marriage.

We need to learn an important life lesson that God couldn’t teach us any other way. God can put us on a street behind a slow-moving car when we’re in a hurry to teach us patience. Marriage doubles down on life lessons when we can’t just honk the horn and zoom around. A spouse might not think they need to change that annoying habit. They become the obstacle we can’t get around. When we need to learn a life lesson it’s usually about God pointing out a fruit of the spirit that needs attention. Unfortunately, our spouse seems to provide the perfect venue to learn love, joy, peace or even self-control.

We need to depend more on God than our spouse. It’s easy to start leaning on our spouse for what only God can provide. Whether it’s our security or our identity, these are intrinsic, deep places that dependence on God can bring comfort to. He is a jealous God and will never let our spouse give us something that only He has for us.

We need to learn forgiveness the way Jesus learned forgiveness. Jesus is our example of how we also should forgive. We sometimes forget that it was in his weakest, most betrayed and abandoned state that Jesus extended forgiveness. From the thief on the cross and the disappointing lack of support from his friends to the fact that even God didn’t seem to be present, Jesus somehow dug deep to let his persecutors off the hook.

Marriage is sometimes about our refinement and not about our happiness. How often we lose sight that our spouses are the “perfect people” or “the right person” that God sent us to help us learn the fruit of the spirit, to learn dependence on Him, and to learn how to forgive.