If you or your friends have gone through a divorce, you've likely heard the term irreconcilable differences get thrown around. When it comes to no-fault divorces, irreconcilable differences is often cited as the reason for filing for a divorce. The idea is that some problems are so unsolvable that divorce is the only option. In other words, a court will grant a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences if they determine that the spouses can’t agree on certain basic issues.
There are seven main factors that courts use to determine whether or not a marriage suffers from irreconcilable differences. These factors include things as simple as differences in personality to things as complicated as aggressive feelings and behaviors.
Some people think that being able to get a divorce on these grounds is a good thing, while others believe it leads to unnecessary separations. Although it's clear that something like aggressive feelings and behaviors should be grounds for a divorce, some of the other factors may actually be reconciled if you and your spouse are prepared to put in the work and are interested in avoiding divorce.
Keep reading to learn how you may be able to save a marriage that is affected by these six factors that qualify as irreconcilable differences.
1. Differences in Personality
No two people have the same personality. The personality traits that first attracted you to a person may end up being the ones that irritate you the most down the line. However, you may consider asking yourself whether or not being irritated by someone's personality traits is a good reason to get a divorce.
Normally these differences are magnified during times of stress like the birth of a child, financial difficulties, or even simply the daily grind of life. For instance, if you fell in love with someone because they were easy going and laid back, these same qualities may grow to annoy you if they cause your significant other to come home late and forget about things that are important to you.
So how do you reconcile this difference? You can try letting your spouse take care of the issues they are good at handling while you take on the tasks you are good at. Just be sure that you're both able to communicate what works for you. It's about playing off of each other’s strengths instead of focusing on your differences.
2. Unmet Emotional Needs
Many people deal with childhood wounds or issues from the past that can make it difficult to understand their emotional needs in the present. If this is the case for you or your spouse, you may find yourself looking to one another to fill a need that isn't yours to fill. This can lead to placing unrealistic expectations on your partner.
In this case, you can try seeking marriage counseling or working with a marriage educator to help you and your S.O. identify emotional needs and how best to meet them. For example, if you need more touch, you have to ask for more touch; if you need words of affirmation, you have to express that this is a need of yours.
More often than not, when one spouse is not getting their emotional needs met, the other isn’t either. If you feel your emotional needs aren’t being met, instead of filing for a divorce, you may consider seeking out therapy instead.
3. Financial Problems
If you or your spouse begin to make financial decisions without considering the overall needs of your marriage, then your relationship may suffer because of this. However, this situation is not necessarily irreconcilable.
The key is to be open and honest about your finances, regarding both what's coming in and what's going out. Rather than hide major purchases, it's always best to make those decisions together. If you're on the same page, even if financial troubles arise, you can work through them together.
4. Built Up Anger and Resentment
Built up anger and resentment tend to occur when a couple has a long-term inability to communicate their feelings with each other. It's easy to enter a marriage with high and even unreasonable expectations, and if those expectations aren't met it can be difficult to communicate this disappointment to your spouse. This could end up leading to anger and resentment that only build with time.
While it's inevitable that each marriage will face its share of problems, it becomes destructive when you're not able to openly discuss these problems as they come up. Surely, if enough anger builds up over time, it can feel irreconcilable. However, by opening the lines of communication, perhaps with a counselor or therapist, you can address your issues head-on and move forward.
5. Lack of Trust
Trust is one of the core pillars of any strong relationship. When trust is lost—no matter the circumstances—it can be a challenge to recover, but it's not impossible. It's really up to you to identify what it will take to regain trust in your spouse if they have lost your trust in them.
If they are willing to admit to their mistakes, make honest changes in themselves, and share information with you that you need, you can begin to take steps forward. When your heart is in the marriage and the relationship is a priority for both you and your partner, trust can be rebuilt so long as you're both willing and able to put in the work.
6. Squabbling and Bickering
Although some degree of bickering and arguing can be expected in any long-term relationship, it can quickly get out of hand when it becomes the norm.
If you and your spouse are caught up in a cycle of bickering and arguing, the only way to move forward is to learn the relationship skills needed to help you put an end to the unnecessary squabbling. A counselor or therapist can help you identify why you both feel the need to communicate in such a way, which can help you deal with problems more effectively in the future.
For some couples, these irreconcilable differences are reason enough to end a marriage (and that's okay). However, if you and your spouse are both invested in maintaining your relationship, there are ways to reconcile certain differences. The key is to be ready and willing to put in the work and to be open to seeking help from a professional if necessary.