Why we love who we love打破砂鍋愛到底
Have you ever known a married couple that just didn’t seem as though they should fit together — yet they are both happy in the marriage, and you can’t figure out why?
I know of one couple: He is a burly ex-athlete who, in addition to being a successful salesman, coaches Little League, is active in his Rotary Club and plays golf every Saturday with friends. Meanwhile, his wife is petite, quiet and a complete Homebody. She doesn’t even like to go out to dinner.
What mysterious force drives us into the arms of one person, while pushing us away from another who might appear equally desirable to any unbiased observer?
Of the many factors influencing our idea of the perfect mate, one of the most telling, according to John Money, professor emeritus of medical psychology and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, is what he calls our “love map” — a group of messages encoded in our brains that describes our likes and dislikes. It shows our preferences in hair and eye color, in voice, smell, and body build. It also records the kind of personality that appeals to us, whether it’s the warm and friendly type or the strong, silent type.
In short, we fall for and pursue those people who most clearly fit our love map. And this love map is largely determined in childhood. By age eight, the pattern for our ideal mate has already begun to float around in our brains.
When I lecture, I often ask couples in the audience what drew them to their dates or mates. Answers range from “She’s strong and independent” and “I go for redheads” to “I love his sense of humor” and “That crooked smile, that’s what did it.”
Robert Winch, a longtime sociology professor at Northwestern University, stated in his research that our choice of a marriage partner involves a number of social similarities. But he also maintained that we look for someone with complementary needs. A talker is attracted to someone who likes to listen, or an aggressive personality may seek out a more passive partner.
However, there are instances where people of different social backgrounds end up getting married and being extremely happy. I know of one man, a factory worker from a traditional Irish family in Chicago, who fell in love with an African American Baptist. When they got married, their friends and relatives predicted a quick failure. But 25 years later, the marriage is still strong.
It turns out that the woman was like her mother-in-law — a loving and caring person, the type who rolls up her sleeves and volunteers to work at church or help out people in need. This is the quality that her husband fell for, and it made color and religion and any other social factors irrelevant to him.
Or as George Burns, who was Jewish and married the Irish Catholic Gracie Allen, used to say: his marriage was his favorite gig, even though it was Gracie who got all the laughs. The two of them did share certain social similarities — both grew up in the city, in large but poor families. Yet what really drew them together was evident from the first time they went onstage together. They complemented each other perfectly: he was the straight man, and she delivered the punch lines.
There are certainly such “odd couples” who could scarcely be happier. We all know some drop-dead beautiful person married to an unusually plain wallflower. This is a trade-off some call the equity theory.
When men and women possess a particular asset, such as high intelligence, unusual beauty, a personality that makes others swoon, or a hefty bankroll that has the same effect, some decide to trade their assets for someone else’s strong points. The raging beauty may trade her luster for the power and security that come with big bucks. The not-so-talented fellow from a good family may swap his pedigree for a poor but brilliantly talented mate.
Indeed, almost any combination can survive and thrive. Once, some neighbors of mine stopped by for a friendly social engagement. During the evening Robert, a man in his 50s, suddenly blurted out, “What would you say if your daughter planned to marry someone who has a ponytail and insisted on doing the cooking?”
“Unless your daughter loves cooking,” I responded, “I’d say she was darn lucky.”
“Exactly,” his wife agreed. “It’s really your problem, Robert — that old macho thing rearing its head again. The point is, they’re in love.”
I tried to reassure Robert, pointing out that the young man their daughter had picked out seemed to be a relaxed, nonjudgmental sort of person — a trait he shared with her own mother.
Is there such a thing as love at first sight? Why not? When people become love-struck, what happens in that instant is the couple probably discover a unique something they have in common. It could be something as mundane as they both were reading the same book or were born in the same town. At the same time they recognize some trait in the other that complements their own personality.
I happen to be one of those who were struck by the magic wand. On that fateful weekend, while I was a sophomore at Cornell University, I had a terrible cold and hesitated to join my family on vacation in the Catskill Mountains. Finally I decided anything would be better than sitting alone in my dormitory room.
That night as I was preparing to go to dinner, my sister rushed up the stairs and said, “When you walk into that dining room, you’re going to meet the man you’ll marry.”
I think I said something like “Buzz off!” But my sister couldn’t have been more right. I knew it from the moment I saw him, and the memory still gives me goose flesh. He was a premed student, also at Cornell, who incidentally also had a bad cold. I fell in love with Milton the instant I met him.
Milt and I were married for 39 years, until his death in 1989. And all that time we experienced a love that Erich Fromm called a “feeling of fusion, of oneness,” even while we both continued to change, grow and fulfill our lives.
Hungry for your love真愛無限
It is cold, so bitter cold, on this dark, winter day in 1942. But it is no different from any other day in this Nazi concentration camp. I stand shivering in my thin rags, still in disbelief that this nightmare is happening. I am just a young boy. I should be playing with friends; I should be going to school; I should be looking forward to a future, to growing up and marrying, and having a family of my own. But those dreams are for the living, and I am no longer one of them. Instead, I am almost dead, surviving from day to day, from hour to hour, ever since I was taken from my home and brought here with tens of thousands other Jews. Will I still be alive tomorrow? Will I be taken to the gas chamber tonight?
Back and forth I walk next to the barbed wire fence, trying to keep my emaciated body warm. I am hungry, but I have been hungry for longer than I want to remember. I am always hungry. Edible food seems like a dream. Each day as more of us disappear, the happy past seems like a mere dream, and I sink deeper and deeper into despair. Suddenly, I notice a young girl walking past on the other side of the barbed wire. She stops and looks at me with sad eyes, eyes that seem to say that she understands, that she, too, cannot fathom why I am here. I want to look away, oddly ashamed for this stranger to see me like this, but I cannot tear my eyes from hers.
Then she reaches into her pocket, and pulls out a red apple. A beautiful, shiny red apple. Oh, how long has it been since I have seen one! She looks cautiously to the left and to the right, and then with a smile of triumph, quickly throws the apple over the fence. I run to pick it up, holding it in my trembling, frozen fingers. In my world of death, this apple is an expression of life, of love. I glance up in time to see the girl disappearing into the distance.
The next day, I cannot help myself-I am drawn at the same time to that spot near the fence. Am I crazy for hoping she will come again? Of course. But in here, I cling to any tiny scrap of hope. She has given me hope and I must hold tightly to it.
And again, she comes. And again, she brings me an apple, flinging it over the fence with that same sweet smile.
This time I catch it, and hold it up for her to see. Her eyes twinkle. Does she pity me? Perhaps. I do not care, though. I am just so happy to gaze at her. And for the first time in so long, I feel my heart move with emotion.
For seven months, we meet like this. Sometimes we exchange a few words. Sometimes, just an apple. But she is feeding more than my belly, this angel from heaven. She is feeding my soul. And somehow, I know I am feeding hers as well.
One day, I hear frightening news: we are being shipped to another camp. This could mean the end for me. And it definitely means the end for me and my friend. The next day when I greet her, my heart is breaking, and I can barely speak as I say what must be said: “Do not bring me an apple tomorrow,” I tell her. “I am being sent to another camp. We will never see each other again.” Turning before I lose all control, I run away from the fence. I cannot bear to look back. If I did, I know she would see me standing there, with tears streaming down my face.
Months pass and the nightmare continues. But the memory of this girl sustains me through the terror, the pain, the hopelessness. Over and over in my mind, I see her face, her kind eyes, I hear her gentle words, I taste those apples.
And then one day, just like that, the nightmare is over. The war has ended. Those of us who are still alive are freed. I have lost everything that was precious to me, including my family. But I still have the memory of this girl, a memory I carry in my heart and gives me the will to go on as I move to America to start a new life. Years pass. It is 1957. I am living in New York City. A friend convinces me to go on a blind date with a lady friend of his. Reluctantly, I agree. But she is nice, this woman named Roma. And like me, she is an immigrant, so we have at least that in common.
“Where were you during the war?” Roma asks me gently, in that delicate way immigrants ask one another questions about those years.
“I was in a concentration camp in Germany,” I reply.
Roma gets a far away look in her eyes, as if she is remembering something painful yet sweet.
“What is it?” I ask.
“I am just thinking about something from my past, Herman,” Roma explains in a voice suddenly very soft. “You see, when I was a young girl, I lived near a concentration camp. There was a boy there, a prisoner, and for a long while, I used to visit him every day. I remember I used to bring him apples. I would throw the apple over the fence, and he would be so happy.”
Roma sighs heavily and continues. “It is hard to describe how we felt about each other-after all, we were young, and we only exchanged a few words when we could-but I can tell you, there was much love there. I assume he was killed like so many others. But I cannot bear to think that, and so I try to remember him as he was for those months we were given together.”
With my heart pounding so loudly I think it wil1 explode, I look directly at Roma and ask, “And did that boy say to you one day, ‘Do not bring me an apple tomorrow. I am being sent to another camp’?”
“Why, yes,” Roma responds, her voice trembling.
“But, Herman, how on earth could you possibly know that?”
I take her hands in mine and answer, “Because I was that young boy, Roma.”
For many moments, there is only silence. We cannot take our eyes from each other, and as the veils of time lift, we recognize the soul behind the eyes, the dear friend we once loved so much, whom we have never stopped loving, whom we have never stopped remembering.
Finally, I speak: “Look, Roma, I was separated from you once, and I don’t ever want to be separated from you again. Now, I am free, and I want to be together with you forever. Dear, will you marry me?”
I see that same twinkle in her eye that I used to see as Roma says, “Yes, I will marry you,” and we embrace, the embrace we longed to share for so many months, but barbed wire came between us. Now, nothing ever will again.
Almost forty years have passed since that day when I found my Roma again. Destiny brought us together the first time during the war to show me a promise of hope and now it had reunited us to fulfill that promise.
Valentine’s Day, 1996. I bring Roma to the Oprah Winfrey Show to honor her on national television. I want to tell her in front of millions of people what I feel in my heart every day:
“Darling, you fed me in the concentration camp when I was hungry. And I am still hungry, for something I will never get enough of: I am only hungry for your love.”
It was only a few weeks after my surgery, and I went to Dr. Belt’s office for a checkup. It was just after my first chemotherapy treatment.
My scar was still very tender. My arm was numb underneath. This whole set of unique and weird sensations was like having a new roommate to share the two-bedroom apartment formerly known as my breasts – now lovingly known as “the breast and the chest.”
As usual, I was taken to an examination room to have my blood drawn, again – a terrifying process for me, since I’m so frightened of needles.
I lay down on the examining table. I’d worn a big plaid flannel shirt and a camisole underneath. It was a carefully thought out costume that I hoped others would regard as a casual wardrobe choice. The plaid camouflaged my new chest, the camisole protected it and the buttons on the shirt made for easy medical access.
Ramona entered the room. Her warm sparkling smile was familiar, and stood out in contrast to my fears. I’d first seen her in the office a few weeks earlier. She wasn’t my nurse on that day, but I remember her because she was laughing. She laughed in deep, round and rich tones. I remember wondering what could be so funny behind that medical door. What could she possibly find to laugh about at a time like this? So I decided she wasn’t serious enough about the whole thing and that I would try to find a nurse who was. But I was wrong.
This day was different. Ramona had taken my blood before. She knew about my fear of needles, and she kindly hid the paraphernalia under a magazine with a bright blue picture of a kitchen being remodeled. As we opened the blouse and dropped the camisole, the catheter on my breast was exposed and the fresh scar on my chest could be seen.
She said, “How is your scar healing?”
I said, “I think pretty well. I wash around it gently each day.” The memory of the shower water hitting my numb chest flashed across my face.
She gently reached over and ran her hand across the scar, examining the smoothness of the healing skin and looking for any irregularities. I began to cry gently and quietly. She brought her warm eyes to mine and said, “You haven’t touched it yet, have you?” And I said, “No.”
So this wonderful, warm woman laid the palm of her golden brown hand on my pale chest and she gently held it there. For a long time. I continued to cry quietly. In soft tones she said, “This is part of your body. This is you. It’s okay to touch it.” But I couldn’t. So she touched it for me. The scar. The healing wound. And beneath it, she touched my heart.Then Ramona said, “I’ll hold your hand while you touch it.” So she placed her hand next to mine, and we both were quiet. That was the gift that Ramona gave me.
That night as I lay down to sleep, I gently placed my hand on my chest and I left it there until I dozed off. I knew I wasn’t alone. We were all in bed together, metaphorically speaking, my breast, my chest, Ramona’s gift and me.