纽约时报文摘 | 婚姻幸福感今非昔比?

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婚姻幸福感今非昔比?
The All-or-Nothing Marriage

ARE marriages today better or worse than they used to be?
与过去相比,今天的婚姻是变得更好了还是更糟?

This vexing question is usually answered in one of two ways. According to the marital decline camp, marriage has weakened: Higher divorce rates reflect a lack of commitment and a decline of moral character that have harmed adults, children and society in general. But according to the marital resilience camp, though marriage has experienced disruptive changes like higher divorce rates, such developments are a sign that the institution has evolved to better respect individual autonomy, particularly for women. The true harm, by these lights, would have been for marriage to remain as confining as it was half a century ago.
对于这个伤脑筋的问题,通常有下面两种不同的回答。婚姻衰退论阵营认为婚姻已经走向穷途末路:不断攀升的离婚率反映出人们普遍的责任感缺失和道德品质下降,这已经令成年人、儿童乃至整个社会都深受其害。而婚姻韧性论阵营则称,虽然婚姻遭遇了一系列破坏性的变化,如离婚率升高等,但这恰好说明婚姻制度正在向更加尊重个人,尤其是妇女自主权的方向发展。综上所述,让婚姻像半个世纪前那样饱受禁锢才是真正的危险。

As a psychological researcher who studies human relationships, I would like to offer a third view. Over the past year I immersed myself in the scholarly literature on marriage: not just the psychological studies but also work from sociologists, economists and historians. Perhaps the most striking thing I learned is that the answer to whether today’s marriages are better or worse is “both”: The?average?marriage today is weaker than the average marriage of yore, in terms of both satisfaction and divorce rate, but the?best?marriages today are much stronger, in terms of both satisfaction and personal well-being, than the best marriages of yore.
作为一名研究人际关系的心理学研究者,我的观点与上述两者均有不同。在过去的一年里,我研读了大量关于婚姻的学术文献:从心理学研究到社会学家、经济学家和历史学家的论述林林总总不一而足。从中我得到一个非常具有震撼性的认识:要论当今的婚姻比过去好还是坏,答案或许是“两者兼有之”。虽然以夫妻双方的满意度和离婚率作为评价的指标,现代婚姻的平均分的确是低于以往;但要是以满意度和个人的幸福感来衡量,现代最理想的婚姻要比过去的强上许多。

Consider, for example, that while the divorce rate has settled since the early 1980s at around 45 percent, even those marriages that have remained intact have generally become less satisfying. At the same time, consider the findings of?a recent analysis, led by the University of Missouri researcher Christine M. Proulx, of 14 longitudinal studies between 1979 and 2002 that concerned marital quality and personal well-being. In addition to showing that marital quality uniformly predicts better personal well-being (unsurprisingly, happier marriages make happier people), the analysis revealed that this effect has become much stronger over time. The gap between the benefits of good and mediocre marriages has increased.
一方面我们承认,自20世纪80年代初以来,离婚率一直在45%左右居高不下,即便是那些尚未破碎的婚姻,通常也不那么尽如人意。另一方面,我们也要考虑到近期的研究取得了一些新的发现。例如,密苏里大学(University of Missouri)的研究人员克里斯蒂娜·M·普罗克斯(Christine M. Proulx)领导了一项研究,对1979年至2002年间的14项关于婚姻质量和个人幸福感的纵向研究进行了分析。其结果不但表明良好的婚姻质量预示着高度的个人幸福感(毫无疑问,美满的婚姻造就快乐的夫妻),还显示出这种影响力已随着时间的推移日趋强大。人们从幸福婚姻或平淡婚姻中得到的收益差距正日益扩大。

How and why did this divergence occur? In answering this question, I worked with the psychologists Chin Ming Hui, Kathleen L. Carswell and Grace M. Larson to develop a new theory of marriage, which we will publish later this year in a pair of articles in the journal Psychological Inquiry. Our central claim is that Americans today have elevated their expectations of marriage and can in fact achieve an unprecedentedly high level of marital quality — but only if they are able to invest a great deal of time and energy in their partnership. If they are not able to do so, their marriage will likely fall short of these new expectations. Indeed, it will fall further short of people’s expectations than at any time in the past.
那么,为何会出现这种差异?它又是如何产生的?为了回答这个问题,我与心理学家陈明辉(Chin Ming Hui,音译)、凯瑟琳·L·卡斯韦尔(Kathleen L. Carswell)和格雷斯·M·拉森(Grace M. Larson)合作,提出了一个关于婚姻的新理论。我们将分两篇文章来阐述这个理论,并在今年晚些时候发表在《心理探究》杂志(Psychological Inquiry)上。该理论的核心观点是,当今的美国人对婚姻的期望有所提高,事实上,他们也有能力使其婚姻质量达到前所未有的理想水平——但这有一个前提:即他们必须要在与伴侣的相处中投入大量的时间和精力。如果做不到这一点,他们对婚姻的新期望可能就会落空。事实上,人们对婚姻的失望程度有可能远远超过以往的任何时候。

Marriage, then, has increasingly become an “all or nothing” proposition. This conclusion not only challenges the conventional opposition between marital decline and marital resilience; but it also has implications for policy makers looking to bolster the institution of marriage — and for individual Americans seeking to strengthen their own relationships.
因此,婚姻日益陷入了“要么十全十美,要么一无是处”的境地。该结论不仅挑战了婚姻衰退论和婚姻韧性论之间势必水火不容的传统观念;同时,它为希望巩固婚姻制度的政策制定者,以及想要改善夫妻关系的普通美国人都带来了不同程度的启示。

TO understand marriage today, it is important to see how we got to where we are. Throughout America’s history, its populace has experienced three distinct models of marriage, as scholars like the sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin and the historian Stephanie Coontz have chronicled. In the era of the?institutional marriage, from the nation’s founding until around 1850, the prevalence of individual farming households meant that the main requirements Americans had for their marriage revolved around things like food production, shelter and protection from violence. To be sure, Americans were pleased if they experienced an emotional connection with their spouse, but such affinities were perquisites of a well-functioning marriage rather than its central purpose.
要理解当代的婚姻,我们很有必要回顾一下它的演化过程。正如社会学家安德鲁·J·切尔林(Andrew J. Cherlin)和历史学家斯蒂芬妮·孔茨(Stephanie Coontz)所记载的,纵观美国历史,民众们共计经历了三种不同的婚姻模式。从美国建国到1850年左右是“制度化婚姻”(institutional marriage)时代,此时个体农户是最普遍的家庭形式,这意味着美国人对其婚姻的需求主要围绕着吃、住及免受暴力侵害等。诚然,当时的美国人也乐于享受恩爱的夫妻关系,但这种亲近只是婚姻运作良好带来的额外福利,而并非其核心目的。

In the era of the?companionate marriage,?from roughly 1850 until 1965, American marriage increasingly centered around intimate needs such as to love, to be loved and to experience a fulfilling sex life. This era overlapped with the shift from rural to urban life. Men increasingly engaged in wage labor outside of the home, which amplified the extent to which the two sexes occupied distinct social spheres. As the nation became wealthier and its social institutions became stronger, Americans had the luxury of looking to marriage primarily for love and companionship.
“友伴式婚姻”(companionate marriage)时代始于1850年前后,到1965年左右结束。这一阶段美国婚姻的中心越来越转向了追求爱与被爱等亲密情感和满足性生活的需求。这个时代正与美国的城镇化进程相重叠。男性越来越多地离开家去打工挣钱,这扩大了社会分工的差别,最终导致男性和女性分别占据了不同的社会角色。随着国家的日益富裕和社会制度的日渐强大,美国人拥有了足够的基础和条件,得以去寻求以爱和陪伴为主要目的的婚姻。

Since around 1965, we have been living in the era of the?self-expressive marriage. Americans now look to marriage increasingly for self-discovery, self-esteem and personal growth. Fueled by the countercultural currents of the 1960s, they have come to view marriage less as an essential institution and more as an elective means of achieving personal fulfillment. “You make me want to be a better man,” from the 1997 movie “As Good as It Gets,” could serve as this era’s marriage ideal. In the words of the sociologist Robert N. Bellah, love has become, in good part, “the mutual exploration of infinitely rich, complex and exciting selves.”
从1965年左右至今,我们生活在“自我表达婚姻”(self-expressive marriage)的时代里。美国人日益注重起婚姻中的自我发达、自我尊重和个人成长。在20世纪60年代反文化潮流的推波助澜下,婚姻的制度色彩逐渐减轻,人们更多地将其看做是实现个人价值的一种可供选择的手段。“是你的存在,让我想成为一个更好的人,”可以说,1997年的电影《尽善尽美》(As Good as It Gets)中的这句台词为这个时代的婚姻理想作出了通俗的诠释。用社会学家罗伯特·N·贝拉(Robert N. Bellah)的话来说,爱已经欣然成为“携手探索丰富多彩、纷繁复杂又激动人心的天性自我的一个过程”。

As a psychologist, I could not help noticing that this history of marriage echoes the classic “hierarchy of needs” outlined in the 1940s by the psychologist Abraham Maslow. According to Maslow, human needs fit into a five-level hierarchy: The lowest need is that of physiological well-being — including the need to eat and drink — followed by the need for safety, then for belonging and love, then for esteem and finally for self-actualization. The emergence of each need characteristically depends on the prior satisfaction of a more basic need. A person unable to satisfy the need for food, for example, is wholly concerned with meeting that need; only once it is met can he focus on satisfying the need above it (safety), and so on.
作为一名心理学家,我不禁注意到,婚姻的历史恰好印证了心理学家亚伯拉罕·马斯洛(Abraham Maslow)在20世纪40年代提出的经典“需求层次理论”。马斯洛认为,人类的需求可分为五个层次:最低层次的需求为生理健康,包括饮食需求等;其后的需求依次为安全感、爱和归属感、自尊直至自我实现。每一项需求的出现都依赖于前一个更基本的需求已得到满足。例如,连饭也吃不饱的人满脑子想的都是怎么解决吃饭问题;只有衣食无忧时他才会去关心更高层次的需求(安全感),依此类推。

My colleagues and I contend that an analogous process has occurred in our expectations about marriage. Those expectations were set at the low levels of Maslow’s hierarchy during the institutional era, at medium levels during the companionate era and at high levels during the self-expressive era.
我和同事们都认为,人们对婚姻的期望也经过了一个类似的过程。在“制度化婚姻”时代,这些期望还处于马斯洛层次中的低等水平,到了“友伴式婚姻”时代就发展到了中等水平,在“自我表现时代”则步入了高等水平。

This historical ascent is, on its own, neither good nor bad. But it has major implications for marital well-being: Though satisfying higher-level needs yields greater happiness, serenity and depth of inner life, people must invest substantially more time and energy in the quality of their relationship when seeking to meet those higher-level needs through their marriage. To be sure, it was no small feat, circa 1800, to produce enough food or keep a house warm, but the effort required to do so did not require deep insight into, and prolonged involvement with, each other’s core essence.
这种历史性的提升本身并无所谓好坏。但它却对婚姻幸福产生了重大影响:虽然满足高层次的需求可以使人更加幸福、安逸并更深入地触及到人的内心体验,但是,要在整个婚姻历程中持续满足这一高级需求,势必需要人们投入大量的时间和精力来经营自己与伴侣的关系。在1800年前后,维持整个家庭的温饱固然已经是不小的成就,但这些工作并不需要深刻地洞悉彼此的核心价值观,并在与其交流互动方面大费周章。

As the expectations of marriage have ascended Maslow’s hierarchy, the potential psychological payoffs have increased — but achieving those results has become more demanding.
鉴于人们对婚姻的期望已依照马斯洛层次逐步升级,潜在的心理回报也随之增加——但要取得它们也变得难上加难。

HERE lie both the great successes and great disappointments of modern marriage. Those individuals who can invest enough time and energy in their partnership are seeing unprecedented benefits.?The sociologists Jeffrey Dew and W. Bradford Wilcox have demonstrated?that spouses who spent “time alone with each other, talking, or sharing an activity” at least once per week were 3.5 times more likely to be very happy in their marriage than spouses who did so less frequently. The sociologist Paul R. Amato and colleagues have shown that spouses with a larger percentage of shared friends spent more time together and had better marriages.
现代的婚姻既可能使你收获伟大的成功,也可能令你遭遇巨大的失望。那些能够在婚姻关系中投入足够的时间和精力的人将可望摘得前所未有的甜蜜果实。社会学家杰弗里·迪尤(Jeffrey Dew)和W·布拉德福德·威尔科克斯(W. Bradford Wilcox)的研究证明,每周至少一次“与配偶独处,谈心或一起从事某项活动”的夫妻拥有美满婚姻生活的可能性是达不到这一标准的夫妻们的3.5倍。社会学家保罗·R·阿马托(Paul R. Amato)及其同事也发现,朋友圈交集较大的夫妻相处的时间较多,婚姻也更幸福。

But on average Americans are investing less in their marriages — to the detriment of those relationships.?Professor Dew has shown?that relative to Americans in 1975, Americans in 2003 spent much less time alone with their spouses. Among spouses without children, weekly spousal time declined to 26 hours per week from 35 hours, and much of this decline resulted from an increase in hours spent at work. Among spouses with children at home, spousal time declined to 9 hours per week from 13, and much of this decline resulted from an increase in time-intensive parenting.
但平均而言,美国人在婚姻中的投入有所减少——这已经损害了夫妻关系。迪尤教授指出,2003年时美国人与配偶独处的时间较之1975年时有所减少。在没有子女的婚姻中,夫妻相处的时间从每周35小时下降到了26小时,其主要原因是工作时间的增加。而在家有儿女的婚姻中,夫妻相处的时间从每周13小时下降到了9小时,这部分减少的时间基本上都花在了育儿之上。

Though this is not a specifically socioeconomic phenomenon, it does have a socioeconomic dimension. One of the most disturbing facts about American marriage today is that while divorce increased at similar rates for the wealthy and the poor in the 1960s and ’70s, those rates diverged sharply starting around 1980.?According to the sociologist Steven P. Martin, among Americans who married between 1975 and 1979, the 10-year divorce rate was 28 percent among people without a high school education and 18 percent among people with at least a college degree: a 10 percentage point difference. But among Americans who married between 1990 and 1994, the parallel divorce rates were 46 percent and 16 percent: an astonishing 30 percentage point difference.
虽然这算不上什么特殊的社会经济学现象,但它包含着社会经济学层面的因素。当今美国人的婚姻中一个最令人不安的现象是,尽管在20世纪60年代和70年代,富人与穷人的离婚率均以类似的速度增加,但从1980年起,两者之间的差距急剧扩大。社会学家史蒂文·P·马丁(Steven P. Martin)指出,在1975年至1979年间结婚的美国人中,没受过高中教育的夫妻中的10年离婚率为28%,而在至少具备大专学历的夫妻中则为18%:相差10%。然而,在1990年至1994年间结婚的美国人中,上述离婚率分别为46%和16%:差异达到惊人的30%。

The problem is not that poor people fail to appreciate the importance of marriage, nor is it that poor and wealthy Americans differ in which factors they believe are important in a good marriage. The problem is that the same trends that have exacerbated inequality since 1980 — unemployment, juggling multiple jobs and so on — have also made it increasingly difficult for less wealthy Americans to invest the time and other resources needed to sustain a strong marital bond.
问题并不在于穷人认识不到婚姻的重要性,也不是因为美国的穷人和富人对构成美满婚姻的要素有着不同的定义。问题是,自1980年以来,人与人之间的不平等趋势日益加剧,失业、身兼数职等压力迫使这部分不够富裕的美国人愈发拿不出足够的时间和其他资源来维系紧密的婚姻关系。

What can be done? Government actions that reduce inequality and family-friendly work policies like on-site child care are likely to help strengthen marriage. But they are not the only options, particularly for individual couples.
对此我们可以采取哪些措施?政府采取行动来减少这些不平等,并推行有利于家庭的工作政策,如在公司内提供托儿服务等,可能有助于改善婚姻关系。但这并不是唯一的解决之道,具体到夫妻个人身上尤其如此。

First and foremost, couples can choose to invest more time and energy in their marriage, perhaps by altering how they use whatever shared leisure time is available. But if couples lack the time and energy, they might consider adjusting their expectations, perhaps by focusing on cultivating an affectionate bond without trying to facilitate each other’s self-actualization.
首先,夫妻们可以选择在他们的婚姻中投入更多的时间和精力,比如换个方式来打发他们共同的闲暇时间等。不过,如果实在没有时间或精力,他们也可以考虑调整对婚姻的期望,譬如不再强求彼此的自我实现,退而求其次将注意力集中在建立牢固的感情纽带之上。

The bad news is that insofar as socioeconomic circumstances or individual choices undermine the investment of time and energy in our relationships, our marriages are likely to fall short of our era’s expectations. The good news is that our marriages can flourish today like never before. They just can’t do it on their own.
坏消息是:只要社会经济环境或个人选择影响我们在婚姻中投入时间和精力,我们的婚姻就很可能达不到这个时代的期望。但也不是没有好消息:今天的婚姻完全可以呈现出前所未有的繁花似锦——只不过,想要获得美满的婚姻,总得付出一番努力。

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