Men and women are created to have differences. They are made to complement one another, to join together in union. In the book of Ephesians, this mystery of union is compared to the joining of the human and divine natures of Christ. Those two natures simply cannot be joined together, since they are qualitatively different. And yet, it happens. This is the highest view of marriage possible, and one which has disappeared in our society.

No one can doubt that the family is the basic unit of society. Without stable families, society will begin to come apart. We see this process happening all over our society, and few have understood that this situation is a new societal formation. The family unit looks different today in comparison to families in the past. Irreconcilable differences continue to disrupt the commitment to marriage and family.

We’ve all heard many arguments for divorce, many including the words irreconcilable differences.

Yes, spouses do have irreconcilable differences, because that is the essence of marriage. That is the basis for the sacrifice we are called to make in forming a family made up of those who have different wills than our own. We don’t always get our own way when we marry. Mutual submission is part of the process of overcoming differences. Working towards the greater good of the marriage and family will require resilience, humility, and a willingness to commit to a calling greater than ourselves.

When faced with differences which seem irreconcilable, we need to reach out and ask a friend, a counselor, or a pastor for help in having new insight. Work that brings healing to marriages headed for divorce can be difficult. But doing the hard work of relationships is work worth doing – no matter how irreconcilable the differences may seem!