You Do Not Have Irreconcilable Differences

Modern divorce papers have a box you can check for “irreconcilable differences,” and checking it is standard protocol for starting a divorce. But the term suggests something that rarely exists.

True irreconcilable differences, for example, might exist between a radical Muslim who wants to convert a devout Christian. When there is no possible way to work out differences, like the example above, those are justly called irreconcilable differences. What you have are not irreconcilable differences.

You Do Not Have Irreconcilable Differences

The real problem between married couples who want a divorce is the refusal to understand each others’ point of view; or more usually, each one insisting they get their own way without regard of the other’s perspective. In those cases, experts agree there should be a different box to check: “refusal to act maturely.” That would be a far more honest checkbox.

Those who push for irreconcilable differences are lawyers or therapists who are not practicing at a high level of integrity. They don’t want to insult you and lose your business, so they assure you that it’s your spouse who is wrong and won’t listen to reason. They want divorce to be easier for you. It means more money for them when you can’t resolve your differences. But it’s your marriage, your life, and your children’s lives that are at stake.

Do you really need an “easy” way out of your marriage? Or should you stick to the original plan of a lifetime marriage?

Maybe it’s a good time to learn more about marriage. If you knew more about relationships, communication, and what to expect from marriage, you would be less upset. If you knew how much easier it is to rehab your marriage than get a divorce, you would be better off.

Most people would be embarrassed if they heard themselves say the real reasons they want out. Most “reasons” for divorce are excuses for not learning how to get along.

But maybe I’m being too hard on you. After all, when relationship problems spiral out of control, it’s primarily ignorance that prevents you from getting your marriage back on track. It’s not your fault that society doesn’t provide marriage education for us. And the experience of being married doesn’t teach anyone how to be married — not at all. So you just get bounced around like a balloon in a storm, not knowing what to do.

Your differences are normal — they are not irreconcilable at all. You are a man and a woman; you are different, so you have your differences. But you make those differences points of contention instead of delightful treasures.

Differences Should Be Expected

Differences should be appreciated. You are as different as could be because of your gender. There is supposed to be a natural balance between male and female energy, even between same-sex couples! The differences are there for us to learn and enjoy. We are not supposed to get hung up on them through a lack of understanding or impatience.

Lack of consideration adds to our feelings that our differences are irreconcilable. But that’s the mind tricking us.

When we lose our patience, we become far less user friendly. You get mad because you aren’t getting your way. Your spouse gets mad for the same reason. So, instead of looking at your own “stuff,” you point out what you see as your spouse’s weaknesses and expect them to change to suit your idea of what is acceptable.

Marriage Is An Education

One of the great lessons of marriage is that it’s nobody’s job to make you happy. Life and marriage are not fairy tales; they are opportunities to grow and evolve. You can and should be happy when you are married, but you can’t put the responsibility for your happiness on someone else, like they do in movies. That doesn’t work in the real world.

Your differences are not irreconcilable. You can rise above most and work through others. And you can take the shortcut in learning how to do it.