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For Better or for Worse?

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

[Work From Home Day 4]

One day before the Movement Control Order was enforced, my friend sent me the picture of Happy Mummies to be! Babies! It shows how some married couples are looking at this quarantine as their second honeymoon. A time to spend quality bonding time together.

However, an hour later, I read this article that shocked me. It reported that there have been long queues for divorce after Home Quarantine! Marriage registration offices in Xi'an of Shaanxi Province in north-western China have seen an unprecedented rise in divorce appointments since reopening, according to reports.

As a result of the epidemic, many couples have spent quite some time with each other at home for over a month, which evoked the underlying conflicts and disagreement. The weaknesses and shortcomings of the spouse become more obvious and unbearable.

One of the Internet users revealed that simple things like who should cook or wash the dishes could lead to a big fight between husband and wife.

Another netizen wrote: “Before the outbreak, I could understand that he was very busy at work and neglected the family but now he is so free and yet, he is not helping out with little housework or taking care of our child”.

Shortcoming according to Cambridge Dictionary means a failure to reach a particular standard, I would paraphrase it as a failure in meeting someone’s expectation. What is your standard/ expectation?

Have you communicated it with your partner?

Most times, we think that – It is common sense! He or she should know their responsibility! Do I really have to say it out?! What is worse is some communicated their standard/ expectation through scolding or cold war, expecting the spouse to know what he/ she expects. On another side, your spouse might think that “It Is Not My Responsibility”! Poor couples. All the unmet expectations which they interpret as “You Don’t Really Love Me”, fosters the emotion of anger, bitterness, and disappointment which eventually break the relationship.

Today is the fourth day where most of us work from home, how are you doing? If you encounter similar challenges like the couples in China, don’t worry, we have a prescription for you!

1. Don’t Criticise, Condemn and Complain – because this can’t solve the problem. We have a bigger problem to fight – which is COVID-19, not our spouse!  Remember that your spouse doesn’t really know what you are thinking or what are your expectations, they might be as worried as you are but expresses it in a different way.

2. Begin in a Friendly Way – with a calm emotion and with the best intention in mind to work things out, look for a suitable time to have an open conversation with your spouse. Share your feeling, thoughts, and expectation in a non-judgemental way to your spouse. This is not a blaming game. Remember, our intention is to work things out. Our biggest enemy is COVID-19, not our spouse.

3. Be A Good Listener – After you share, now is the time to let your spouse share, be a good listener to hear your spouse out. Remember not to cut off your spouse’s conversation. Be patient and listen with an open heart. It is not about who is right or wrong, it is about understanding our spouse's points of view and their emotion.

4. Seek Alignment – After both of you share, it is time to seek alignment and get mutual agreement on how to move forward to build a blissful family in this crucial moment. Remember, our enemy is COVID-19, not our spouse.

If you would like to enhance the treatment to ensure it is sustainable, we have supplement prescription for you too.


Begin with praise and honest appreciation

Praise the slightest improvement

I understand that it is easier said than done. No worries, if you have questions on how to enhance human relations, we are here for you. Also, if you have time during this home quarantine, I will strongly recommend you to read Dale Carnegie's time-tested and all-time favorite book: How to Win Friends and Influence People. You will gain a deeper understanding of the principles (which is the prescription mentioned in this article) and gain more insights in dealing with different people.

Lastly, I would like to invite you to choose the outcome after the quarantine, whether having a happy ending with a stronger relationship with your spouse or breaking up with your spouse. The choice is your hand. God Bless!


Performance Consultant, Dale Carnegie Malaysia

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