We all face the same thing. Our marriages live in the middle of a world that does not function as God intended. Somehow, someway, your marriage is touched every day by the brokenness of the world. Maybe it simply has to do with the necessity of living with the low-grade hassles of a broken world, or maybe you're facing major issues that have altered the course of your life and your marriage. But there's one thing for sure: you will not escape the environment in which God has chosen you to live.

It's not an accident that you're conducting your marriage in this broken world. It's not an accident that you have to deal with the things you do. None of this is fate, chance, or luck. It's all a part of God's redemptive plan. Acts 17 says that He determines the exact place where you live and the exact length of your life.

God knows where you live, and he's not surprised at what you're facing. Even though you face things that make no sense to you, there's meaning and purpose to everything you face. I'm persuaded that understanding your fallen world and God's purpose for keeping you in it is foundation to building a marriage of unity, understanding, and love.

You see, most of us have a personal happiness paradigm. Now, it's not wrong to want to be happy, and it's not wrong to work toward marital happiness. God has given you the capacity for enjoyment and placed wonderful things around you to enjoy. The problem isn't that this is a wrong goal, but that it's way too small of a goal. God is working on something deep, necessary, and eternal.

God has a personal holiness paradigm. Don't be put off by the language here. The words mean that God is working through your daily circumstances to change you. In his love, he knows that you're not all that you were created to be. Even though it may be hard to admit, there's still sin inside of you, and that sin gets in the way of what you're meant to be and designed to do (and, by the way, that sin is the biggest obstacle of all to a marriage of unity, understanding, and love.)

God is using the difficulties of the here and now to transform you, that is, to rescue you from you. And because he loves you, he will willingly interrupt or compromise your momentary happiness in order to accomplish one more step in the process of rescue and transformation, which he is unshakably committed to.

When you begin to get on God's paradigm page, life makes more sense - the things you face aren't irrational troubles, but transforming tools. And there's hope for you and your marriage, because God is in the middle of your circumstances, and he's using them to mold you into what he created you to be. As he does this, you not only respond to life better, but you become a better person to live with, which results in a better marriage.

So, somehow, someway, this fallen world and what it contains will enter your door, but you don't have to be afraid. God is with you, and he's working so that these difficult things will result in good things in and through you.

This is the first of a 3 part series. View Part 2, Love for a Flawed Person and Part 3, Love With a Faithful God.

This article originally appeared on PaulTripp.com

Dr. Paul David Tripp is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries and works to connect the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life. Paul lives in Philadelphia and is hopelessly in love with his wife, Luella. They have four grown children.

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