Analyzing a Problem You Solved
1. Describe in specific detail an important problem you have solved recently.
The most recent problem I solved is my breaking marriage. I got married 7 years ago and followed my husband migrated to this strange place, America. I didn't like this country because it caused so much frustration, especially for people who didn't speak English like me. My husband worked in the restaurant the first year I came to this country. He left home at 9 am in the morning and arrived home at 11:30 pm in the midnight, left me alone all the time. I wasn't allowed to make phone call as frequent as I used to make in Hong Kong because of the expensive telephone fee at that time. Without knowing the environment and with no friend and family in this country, I was totally isolated. I tried to find a job but very difficult without the work permit. I started to complain to my husband. I felt very angry with him. He became a citizen of this country 20 years ago but still didn't know much about this country. I was hit by a car, he didn't know where to find a lawyer; I didn't get my work permit after 3 month I applied for it, he didn't know what we should do. His English was only good enough for him to stay in the Chinese society. I questioned him why he chose this country to stay? I tried to convince him to go back to Hong Kong with me but he refused. Our marriage was full of complaint.
About one year later, my husband passed the exam and started working in the post office as a letter carrier. The first time he worked with a non-Chinese boss. He almost stressed out. Every night I heard was his nightmare. Later on, I found a job in Chinatown and meanwhile I got a chance to enter a CUNY college in Bronx. I worked during the Spring break and the Summer break to earn my tuition. My husband wasn't happy with what I did. He discouraged my study and always said something like "you are wasting your time" to put me down. He thought that we could save more money if I worked full time, and we could buy our own apartment instead of moving all over in Queens. During these 7 years, we have been moved our home six times because of the bad condition of the apartments, most of them has no or not enough heat supplied during winter time. The rent increased as quickly as the rocket gun. All of these undesirable things exaggerated our anger, and then we became silence, sometimes we had no conversation at all as long as one month.
After I graduated from school, with the affordable income that I made from the hospital, we brought our own single house last year. I thought that the ending of our argument should be ended; however, my husband felt that our marriage was very insecure. I worked night-shift, earned double more than he earned, and I didn't try hard to have a baby. We both thought each other might have an affair with somebody else since we were not having the same working hours. All these elements drove us crazy and exaggerated the bad temper of my husband. He cursed everytime when we were together; he worked in the restaurant all the weekend while he was off in the post office and didn't want to stay with me. His action or behavior made the word "divorce" in my mind getting bigger and bigger.
Divorce, it is the worst word in my mind indeed. I held this idea back ultimately. Besides his temper, selfish, and stupid, I couldn't find any other reason to terminate our marriage. So, instead of waiting for him to understand me, I started to do something to solve this problem. I requested working day-shift, started this year in January. I introduced most of my colleague to my husband. I let him hear from my colleague that being a nurse is not easy. I showed him that I worked almost non-stop within that 12 hours shift; no time or no energy to have any affair with anybody. In return, he stopped doing stupid things like turn off his cell phone, instead, he answered my phone call as soon as he could. Now we have more chances to see, to talk, and to understand each other. The ice is breaking down and the marriage crisis has been solved.
2. Explain how you went about solving the problem. What were the steps, strategies, and approaches you used to understand the problem and make an informed decision?
Before I solve the problem of my marriage, first I have to agree or admit that it is a problem needs to be solved. I realize this is a problem because it is getting bigger and bigger like a tumor. It is actually brothering me and affecting my daily lives. Both of us are not enjoying our life and our new house, we are working hard to numb our feeling to each other. I talk to myself that I am very independent in this country now. I could have many other alternatives to make my life easier and happier such as separate with my husband, go back to Hong Kong, or look for another replacement. However, this kind of alternative thinking hurts my heart and it is very painful. I think of the advantages of these alternatives are giving me more freedom and less torture. Other than that, I can have nothing but empty; being lost for I don't know how long. I definitely will not get married again because it is not easy to find a man who does not drink and smoke at all like my husband. Yes, I might have more freedom but I am accustomed to not being free, therefore, it is not really a great advantage for me. I might have less torture from the bad relationship, however, this bad relationship can be fixed as a matter of fact. So I finally decide to choose the last and the best alternative, which is to rebuild our confidence to each other and sew the gap between my husband and me.
3. Analyze the organization exhibited by your thinking process by completing the five-step problem-solving method we have been exploring.
The five-step problem-solving method I am using to solve my marriage crisis are as follow:
1) to admit and face the problem;
2) to find out different options to either give up this broken marriage or to safe it;
3) to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of getting divorce in order to make a final decision to solve the problem;
The last two steps of problem-solving method are taking action to fulfill my decision and to review or evaluate my action.
Once I decided to stay with my husband, I started to test him. I told him that I would request back to the day-shift and my salary would be a lot different. I calculated our monthly expense and how much I was paying for our bills in front of him. Then, I warned him that I need him to pick me up after my shift end at 7:00 pm when the sky getting dark; and I also told him that my job wouldn't allow me to leave on time, he must be patient while he is waiting. My husband agreed to take over the portion of the bills that I might not be able to pay without the night shift-differentiate.
The next step I did was to re-adjust my sleeping cycle to prepare myself back to the day-shift scheduled. I tried not to sleep during day when I was off-duty. Meanwhile, I gripped all the chances to allow my husband and me to talk because I wanted to make sure he didn't talk to me was not due to somebody else interfered us. Sometimes, if he didn't want to talk, I would let him know how my job was doing through the conversation between my colleague and me on phone. I knew this strategy would work because to reflect on my action, my husband would do the same things to let me know how his working experience was by talking to his friend on phone. Through this funny game, we knew each other daily activities a little bit more. We even sometimes join the conversation to give each other an opinion. The more we knew about each other daily life, the more topics we could discuss. Now, we are really open up to talk to each other directly.
To evaluate my strategy, I would say that I am achieving the goal to break the ice between my husband and me. He is still working hard but he would at least to have one day off with me every week. He becomes more responsible to our monthly expenses, does more house repair job, and much less foul language cursing. The most important is he starts giving me a little support for my continued study, at least not much complain when I need time to do my homework.