Irreconcilable Differences, Hollywood Marriage and What It Teaches Us
The average Hollywood marriage lasts less than two years and most of these divorces end in irreconcilable differences. This got me to thinking, exactly what are irreconcilable differences? Is there really any marriage problem that can’t be solved if both spouses put in 100% effort? There are many cases where spouses choose to walk away because they don’t want to work on the marriage anymore. But to say it was “irreconcilable . . .” that might be a stretch.
Dennis Quaid and Wife Reconcile . . . for the 3rd Time
Let’s look at the case of Dennis Quaid, Hollywood A-Lister, and his wife Kimberly Buffington Quaid. These two have been married for nearly nine years and have separated at least twice. Recent news reports that the Quaids have yet again reconciled even though legally they can’t retract their pending divorce. I refer to this as the “ping pong marriage.”
The Ping Pong Marriage
At my small town college, there wasn’t much to do except play ping pong all the time. The ball goes to one side of the table and is then hit by your opponent to the opposite side. Back and forth, back and forth. The ping pong marriage is a term I came up with to describe couples who break up then make up, only to break up again . . . and then make up again. I’m not mad at ’em! Couples like this surely don’t believe in irreconcilable differences and are willing (usually) to do some work to make their marriages last.
Most Hollywood marriages are not ping pong marriages. Most often when a Hollywood spouse files for divorce, that’s a wrap! No more edits. No more takes. That’s why the Quaid marriage is getting so much attention. Let’s face it, the typical Hollywood marriage breaks up before the 2nd season of their reality show airs! So its really a great accomplishment whenever a Hollywood marriage lasts and the spouses actually reconcile.
Irreconcilable Differences for the Average Marriage
Most of us don’t have a Hollywood marriage. Nope, we’re just regular folks trying to make our marriages the best they can be. So what are some real reasons why most people get divorced? According to research done by Utah State University, the #1 reason people divorce is lack of commitment. Here’s an excerpt of the USU divorce report:
Researchers have identified the most common reasons people give for their
divorces. A recent national survey found that the most common reason given for divorce
was “lack of commitment” (73% said this was a major reason). Other significant reasons
included too much arguing (56%), infidelity (55%), marrying too young (46%), unrealistic
expectations (45%), lack of equality in the relationship (44%), lack of preparation for
marriage (41%), and abuse (29%).
If we look at all the reasons for divorce in the USU report, we can see that most of these reasons don’t qualify for “irreconcilable differences.” Most of these issues can be resolved with what I call the “H Factor: humility, hard work and help.
In order for there to be change in anything, humility must be present. In a marriage, if one or both spouses are prideful and refuse to own their part in the problem, change won’t happen. Humility isn’t only acknowledging you were wrong, but also determining to do whatever it takes to make it right.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results. Most marriages end in “irreconcilable differences” because spouses are just unwilling to do the hard work. They are more focused on themselves than their mate and therefore don’t feel they need to work hard to fix the problem(s).
The Bible talks a lot about accountability. Ecclesiastes 4:9 reads, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” And then in verse 12, “Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Some things in life are not meant to be done alone. If a marriage is in trouble, the best thing to do is seek help.
Irreconcilable Differences Don’t Have to Be the End
I know there are hard cases. Lord, do I know! However, I truly believe that 99% of marriages can be saved if spouses are willing to enforce the H Factor and instead of citing “irreconcilable differences.” they realize some things are worth fixing.