Sunday, February 18, 2007
Question of the Week #26: Irreconcilable Differences
I’m sure we have all heard the term “irreconcilable differences” used in reference to couples who are breaking up, but I recently heard someone use the term in a different way. They claimed many couples have such differences and we tend to find ways to thrive in spite of them.
How about the regular church-goer married to the agnostic? Is such a marriage necessarily doomed? Of course not. They could make trouble for themselves if they constantly argued the merits of their respective beliefs and tried to convert their partner to their way of thinking. A better strategy would be to leave that debate alone and accept that two people don’t have to be identical to enjoy each other’s company and share their lives together.
I can think of plenty of circumstances that fit this mold. Perhaps the wife is close friends with her cousin, with whom the husband has never seen eye-to-eye. Or he is a die-hard Republican and no one in her family has voted that way in two hundred years. In cases like these, successful couples often simply agree to disagree.
Perhaps another way to say this is that couples can thrive if each person respects their partner’s differences.
How about you? Have you seen this dynamic in action? What differences do you and your partner have? Have you learned not to press each other’s hot buttons on these topics? Have you seen couples who implode because the can’t seem to leave their differences alone?
I'm interested to hear what you think. I’ll post a summary of the comments next week.