No Country for Old Men.



4月16日,我仰慕的《纽约客》Staff Writer 樊嘉扬发了一条推文(为应付审查,在微信公众号平台我只能写“樊嘉扬在社交媒体发布动态”,下文涉及的自我审查不再一一列举):

You can’t properly grieve—you can’t heal—without safety and support and space to fall apart and be vulnerable. You need people to actively acknowledge your loss.

她分享了《大西洋月刊》的一篇文章:Grief, Everywhere,我关注樊嘉扬的推特数年,知道她母亲不久前去世,她还沉浸在悲痛里。我的视力日益衰退,不能在手机上长时间阅读,她分享的文章我只是快速浏览了一遍,没什么感觉。


在同一个页面,我被编辑推荐的文章 The Marriage Lesson That I Learned Too Late 吸引,不顾视力疲劳,又点击阅读。标题下方的引语击中了我:

The existence of love, trust, respect, and safety in a relationship is often dependent on moments you might write off as petty disagreements.


我在手机上读了前面几段,直到眼睛再也受不了。我把文章保存至“熊掌记”App,休息片刻后在 iPad 上读完它。

作者 Matthew Fray 被妻子抛弃了,原因让人啼笑皆非—因为他喜欢把餐盘放在洗碗槽边,不考虑妻子的感受。他痛定思痛,痛改前非,成了情感教练和畅销书作家。(Matthew Fray is a relationship coach and the author of [This Is How Your Marriage Ends: A Hopeful Approach to Saving Relationships])



The things that destroy love and marriage often disguise themselves as unimportant. Many dangerous things neither appear nor feel dangerous as they’re happening. They’re not bombs and gunshots. They’re pinpricks. They’re paper cuts. And that is the danger. When we don’t recognize something as threatening, then we’re not on guard. These tiny wounds start to bleed, and the bleed-out is so gradual that many of us don’t recognize the threat until it’s too late to stop it.


I spent most of my life believing that what ended marriages were behaviors I classify as Major Marriage Crimes. If murder, rape, and armed robbery are major crimes in the criminal-justice system, I viewed sexual affairs, physical spousal abuse, and gambling away the family savings as major crimes in marriage.


Because I wasn’t committing Major Marriage Crimes, when my wife and I were on opposite sides of an issue, I would suggest that we agree to disagree. I believed she was wrong—either that she was fundamentally incorrect in her understanding of the situation or that she was treating me unfairly. It always seemed as if the punishment didn’t fit the crime—as if she were charging me with premeditated murder when my infraction was something closer to driving a little bit over the speed limit with a burned-out taillight that I didn’t even know was burned out.



The reason my marriage fell apart seems absurd when I describe it: My wife left me because sometimes I leave dishes by the sink.


It makes her seem ridiculous and makes me seem like a victim of unfair expectations. But it wasn’t the dishes, not really—it was what they represented.


Hundreds, maybe thousands, of times, my wife tried to communicate that something was wrong. That something hurt. But that doesn’t make sense, I thought. I’m not trying to hurt her; therefore, she shouldn’t feel hurt.


We didn’t go down in a fiery explosion. We bled out from 10,000 paper cuts. Quietly. Slowly.


She knew that something was wrong. I insisted that everything was fine. This is how my marriage ended. It could be how yours ends too.


Sometimes I leave used drinking glasses by the kitchen sink, just inches away from the dishwasher. It isn’t a big deal to me now. It wasn’t a big deal to me when I was married. But it was a big deal to her. Each time my wife entered the kitchen to discover the glass I’d left next to the sink, she moved incrementally closer to moving out and ending our marriage. I just didn’t know it yet.


I wanted my wife to agree that when you put life in perspective, a drinking glass by the sink is simply not a big problem that should cause a fight. I thought she should recognize how petty and meaningless it was in the grand scheme of life. I repeated that train of thought for the better part of 12 years, waiting for her to finally agree with me. But she never did. She never agreed.


I was arguing about the merits of a glass by the sink. But for my wife, it wasn’t about the glass. It wasn’t about dishes by the sink, or laundry on the floor.


It was about consideration. About the pervasive sense that she was married to someone who did not respect or appreciate her. And if I didn’t respect or appreciate her, then I didn’t love her in a manner that felt trustworthy. She couldn’t count on the adult who had promised to love her forever, because none of this dish-by-the-sink business felt anything like being loved.



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