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QMy wife and I had a ter­ri­ble ar­gu­ment the other night. What’s the best way of mak­ing up? GM, Blair Athol

AMost ar­gu­ments in re­la­tion­ships stem from com­pet­ing be­lief sys­tems about how things should or should not be. She be­lieves the house should be ti­died up for an hour ev­ery night, whereas you be­lieve that as she be­lieves it so much, she should be the one to ac­tu­ally do it. In your com­pet­ing, but equally wor­thy of re­spect, be­lief sys­tem, the house is tidy if the stack of empty pizza boxes is be­low the height of the kitchen bench and the lawn gets mowed reg­u­larly, like clock­work, once a sea­son. But re­gard­less of the de­tails of the ar­gu­ment, there’s noth­ing ei­ther of you can do while you’re both still an­gry. So try to avoid her for a bit un­til you’ve both calmed down. Then all you have to do is to es­sen­tially re­state her laun­dry list of your fail­ings back to her, but para­phrase it a bit. This will mol­lify her enough so you can both plas­ter on fake smiles and stum­ble through an­other few months for the sake of the chil­dren. Send your ques­tions to saweek­[email protected] Touch the sto­ries that touch you. Get our ipad app in the itunes store. ade­laide­

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