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To Win at Marriage, Learn to lose

赢得美满婚姻,要学会认输

[1]Having been married for more than 40 years, I can attest to the truth of the following statement: to excel in the art of domestic argument, one must master the art of losing.

[1]做为一个结婚40余年的人,我可以证明下面这个说法完全正确:想要在家庭争执中得满分,首先要掌握认输的艺术。

[2]Modern psychologists are taken with the “win-win” solution. But in marriage, success resides more in “lose-lose” solutions. Out of these, both parties can win. For in the love configuration, losing gives a gift that always returns.

[2]现代心理学家们都醉心于“一赢再赢”的解决办法,而在婚姻里头,成功往往在于采取“一输再输”的策略。因为这样,双方都可以是赢家。在爱情的天地里,认输实际上永远是一份有回报的礼物。

[3]One day shortly after my wife and I were married, we set about picking new living-room wallpaper from a book of samples. My taste and hers were at odds.

[3]婚后不久的一天,我和妻子着手从一本样品手册中挑选起居室的壁纸。我们的爱好有了矛盾。

[4] “I like this one,” she said. “That looks like a section of a diseased liver.” “How can you say that? This is a classical pattern that goes all the way back to the Venetian.” “The Venetian were blind. They named blinds after them, remember? I like this one.” “I wouldn’t hang that in hell if I were the devil.”

[4]“我喜欢这一张。” “这张简直就像一块有病的猪肝。” “你怎么能这样说?这可是一幅古典的古威尼斯风格的图案。” “威尼斯人都瞎眼了,后来的瞎子也都是因威尼斯人得名,记得吗?我喜欢这一张。” “我死也不会挂那一张的。”

[5]As the argument went on, my wife suddenly slammed the book shut. “There are over two hundred samples in this book,” she declared. “I say we spend our energy finding one that suits us both, instead of bickering over the ones we don’t like.”

[5]在争吵中,我妻子突然用力把书一合,大声说:“这本书中有200张样品,我们应该把精力用在找到一张我们都喜欢的样品,而不是用来争吵那些我们不喜欢的。”

[6]And that’s how we settled it. Eventually we found a pattern we both liked. The “wallpaper book” became our symbol for settling the myriad issues that arise in marriage. “Well,” she’d say when we couldn’t agree on furniture or a place to vacation, “there are plenty of samples in the wallpaper book.”

[6]我们就这样解决了争执。最后我们终于找到了一个我们共同喜欢的图案。壁纸样品手册成了我们解决婚姻中遇到的无数争执的一个象征。当我们在要什么家具或去什么地方休假的意见不一时,我的妻子就说:“在壁纸样品手册里有的是样品呢!”

7]The issues that people argue over most in marriage, such as how to spend money, often aren’t the real ones. The key issue is: who is going to be in control? When I was younger, my need to control arose out of fear, a lack of trust, insecurity. The day I finally realized I didn’t need to control my wife―that, indeed, I ought not control her, that I couldn’t control her, and that if I tried to, I would destroy our marriage―was the day our marriage began.

[7]人们在婚姻中争吵的那些事情诸如怎样花钱之类,往往并不是争执的真正所在。争执的关键是谁来控制。当我年青的时候,我想去控制是因为出于恐惧,是缺乏信任和安全感。当我终于认识到我不必控制我的妻子的时候,我们的婚姻才算真正开始。确实,我不应该控制我的妻子,我也不能去控制她,如果我要这样去做,我就会毁坏我们的婚姻。

[8]Giving up control is often confused with weakness. But the winner in a domestic argument is never really the winner. When you win a battle and your partner submits, you have, paradoxically, lost.

[8]放弃控制对方常常与软弱相混淆。其实家庭内争吵的赢家永远不可能是真正的赢家。当你赢得了一场口角,使你的另一半屈服了,你其实恰恰相反,是输家了。

[9]What is it we want most from a marriage? To love and be loved. To be happy and secure. To grow, to discover. A love relationship is the garden in which we plant, cultivate and harvest the most precious of crops, our own self, and in which our spouse is provided the same rich soil in which to bloom.

[9]我们在婚姻中最想得到的是什么?是爱与被爱,是幸福与安定,是不断的成长与发现。爱情的关系就是一个花园,在这个花园里我们种植、培养和收获最宝贵的庄稼,这就是我们自己;在这个花园里,我们要给我们的爱人提供同样肥沃的土壤,让她茁壮成长。

[10]We cannot obtain what we want unless our partner also gets what he or she wants. A woman may, for instance, want to go to the symphony. Her husband might hate symphonies. But by spending a few hours listening to music he doesn’t care for, he can bring joy to his partner. That’s a pretty cheap price to pay for joy, isn’t it?

[10]我们不可能得到自己想要的东西,除非我们的配偶得到他(或她)想要的。例如:一个女人想去听一场交响乐,而她的丈夫却讨厌交响乐,只要丈夫宁愿花几个小时去听一下他不喜欢的音乐,就可以给他的配偶带来快乐,难道这不是一个很廉价的换取快乐的办法吗?

[11]But what if a husband wants to go on a fishing trip with friends? Suddenly there aren’t a lot of samples in the wallpaper book: his wife either agrees or not.

[11]但是如果丈夫想要和他的朋友们一起去钓鱼呢?这时妻子就面临同意或不同意的抉择,就像墙纸样手册中突然没有许多样纸可供挑选了。

[12]Already you can hear the usual power strategies: “I’ll spend my money any way I please,” or “How come you’re such a millstone? Jim’s wife is happy that he gets to go.”

[12]你也许已听说过这样的权力策略:“我可以随意花我自己的钱。”或:“你怎么这样麻烦?吉姆的妻子就高兴他随便去哪儿。”

[13]Instead of such strategies, he might try empowering his partner: “Honey, I’d like to go on a fishing trip with the boys. What do you think?” “I thought we were going away.” “How about this fall? I’ve always wanted to take a trip with you to see the fall foliage in New England.” “Good idea. I’ll go see my mother while you’re fishing.” Such a dialogue, as idealistic as it sounds, is born of a marriage of mature adults.

[13]不采用这种办法,丈夫可以把事情让妻子自己决定:“亲爱的,我想和小伙子们一块去钓鱼,你看怎样?” “我想还是我们一块出去吧。” “今年秋天再去怎样?我一直想跟你去新英格兰看一看秋天的落叶。” “好吧。你去钓鱼而我回家看母亲。” 这样的对话,听起来是最理想的了。它只能发生在很成熟的成年人配偶之间。

[14]But what if she says, “You always make promises you never keep. This fall there will be some excuse. I think you owe me a trip first”? Now he must decide. Is she right? She could be, you know. When the couple arrives at this juncture, it’s time for him to listen.

[14]但如果妻子说:“你从不信守诺言。到今年秋天你又会有别的借口。我想是你首先欠我一次出游,对吧?”这样丈夫就必须决定,他的妻子是否正确。要知道,他的妻子可能是正确的。当双方到了这样一个关键时刻,丈夫就应该听从了。

[15]When anger is hurled at us, it hurts us. If it were a pistol, I would insist anger, like control, be checked at the door. But anger can also be a response to pain. So when your spouse responds in anger, you must terminate the argument. It’s that simple: the argument must end because another person may be in pain.

[15]如果激愤在我们之间爆发,它会伤害我们的感情。如果激愤是一把手枪,我认为也要像对待控制他人的欲望一样,要在一开始就不让它发射出来。但是愤怒可以是内心伤痛的一种释放。当你的配偶释放愤怒的时候,你就必须停止争吵。道理很简单,争吵必须终止,因为其中一人可能已被触动内心的痛处。

[16]Try this: Let a little space occur between you. Let the storm recede a little. Then tell your partner you understand that when a person is angry, it means she’s been hurt, and that you want to do something about it because you love her.

[16]不妨这样试一下:让你们之间的紧张松弛一下,让你们之间的风暴平息一点。告诉你的妻子你理解她的激愤,你知道她内心有伤痛,你愿意为此做点什么,因为你爱她。

[17]Perhaps she’ll tell you why she’s hurt―angrily. Try not to be put off, but to hear the anger as sounds of hurt. When you discover the pain, you can address its cause, and the anger will begin to fade.

[17]也许她会愤怒地告诉你她为什么受伤,不要拖延,只管倾听她激愤的表达。当你发现她的痛处是什么时,你可以说出它的原因,这样激愤就可以平抚。

[18]You’re allowed to get angry too. But dumping anger on your partner is a poor way to soothe your hurt. When you talk of your hurt without anger, an unangry response usually comes.

[18]你自己也可以表示愤怒,但是对你的配偶宣泄你的激愤不是一个抚平内心伤痛的好办法。你如果能心平气和地说出你的伤痛,你就会得到心平气和的理解。

[19] So remember: If you want to overcome anger in your relationship, search for the hurt. If you want to feel loved and respected, give up control. And if you want to win arguments at home, learn to lose them.

[19]所以请记住:如果你要想在你们的关系中克服激愤,那么就要找出内心的伤痛;如果你要想得到爱和尊重,就必须放弃对伴侣的控制;如果你想要赢得家中的口角,就先学会认输吧!

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