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home : opinions : columns   April 29, 2016

12/10/2013 9:34:00 AM
Column: Message received

Alicia LeGrand-Riniker
NT Reporter

It happens all the time. It’s third down at a crucial moment in a football game. The ball is snapped, the defense is blitzing and the quarterback needs to get rid of the ball. Then he sees an open man. He throws the ball and the receiver goes right and the ball goes left.

Who is to blame in this moment: the quarterback, the receiver, the coach or the defense? Many fans will have their opinions. However, in this case of miscommunication, as in almost every case, blame can be spread equally among all parties. It’s the same throughout life and in all relationships.

Just the other day I thought it would be fun to have an out-of-town shopping trip. I wanted to ask my parents to come and knew Davenport would be a better choice, but my husband likes a Japanese food market in Chicago and we had not been there in awhile. I talked with my husband who indicated Chicago sounded fun and decided to pose the idea to my parents.

A week later I called my mom in front of my husband and was told that my father, who travels a lot for work, would be too tired to make the three-hour trip to Chicago. Disappointed, I said OK and decided my husband and I would go alone. However, the instant I put down the phone my husband asked what I was talking about and why not just go to Davenport.

I told him of about our previous conversation of which he claimed he had developed selective amnesia. I called my mom back to suggest Davenport and she said that would be fine. She then laughed and said she has similar conversations with my father.

So who was to blame? I didn’t see that Davenport was not a deal breaker for my husband. He didn’t see that it wasn’t a suggestion floating around in the wind, but an actual plan would soon be forming. Many times I think we feel our partners can just read our minds.

Though this miscommunication was frustrating at first, soon my husband and I laughed it off. It was just a little thing and I am sure it will happen plenty more times throughout marriage. In the end, everyone had a good time on our shopping trip and that is nicer to remember.

Communication and miscommunication are part of everyday life. You cannot avoid it. But once communication breaks down or blame fills up the conversation, then you get a real problem.

A couple I know also recently suffered a breakdown in communication. It all started when the man in the relationship decided he did not want to see a new romantic movie that had come out. A few weeks later he asked his girlfriend if she wanted to come with his brother and himself to the movie “Ender’s Game.”

She became irate and said it was not a romantic movie and would not go with him. She then proceeded to not talk to him for the next week. She would not return his phone calls or texts.

The funny thing is that she complains that he is not a great communicator. I guess in her mind not communicating at all is better than being a poor communicator.

The sad thing is a week later she convinced him that he was to blame for it all because ‘if he did not want to go to her movies, then she didn’t have to go to his.’

Believe me people, blame and selfishness is not the name of the game in any relationship. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t like and sometimes you get to do things you want to do. I can tell you that my father and husband do not like shopping, but they did like that we went to an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet with wings and watched the Iowa game.

You need to clearly express the things that are frustrating you, but be open to listening to your partner as well. Make sure you are open to laughing at yourself. Let’s admit it, we all make stupid mistakes.

One thing is for sure, that no matter how embarrassing the lost that quarterback and receiver had the week before, they worked on there communication skills all week in practice and in the next game tried again.

Alicia LeGrand-Riniker can be reached at (815) 220-6931 or

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