Monday, April 14, 2014

Love Means Always Having to Say You're Sorry

Way back when, 1970 to be exact, a film called Love Story was released. The film was based on a novel by Erich Segal and featured Ali McGraw and Ryan O'Neal as Ivy League college students who fall hopelessly in love. I won't spoil it for you except to say it's a case of wrong side of the tracks, and quite possibly one of the saddest movies ever to hit the big screen.

I was 10 years old in 1970 so I didn't see the movie until it had been out a few years. Love Story was rated PG, and in 1970 most parents didn't allow allow their ten year old daughters to see movies with a PG rating, but I digress.

Back around Valentine's Day I heard some folks on the radio bantering about a line made popular in this film. It was voted by The American Film Institute as #13 in its list of most quoted movie lines, and the line is this-

'Love means never having to say you're sorry.'

Has that been your experience because I have to say it has not been mine?

Since we've hit letter L in the A-Z Blog Challenge today, I thought now would be a good time to weigh in on that big little word-

L is for Love

We don't have to wonder what love looks like. A picture perfect portrait of the word was painted by the apostle Paul centuries ago, and while these statements play out in all sorts of ways within individual marriages, they remain universally true. 

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
It doesn't envy or boast.
It's not arrogant or rude. 
It does not insist on its own way. 
It's not irritable or resentful. 
It keeps no record of wrongs. 

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  

Does any other married person out there squirm just a little when they read those simple statements? Those verses were read on our wedding day back in 1984, and as I listed them here I did a quick mental inventory of my expertise as a wife-ha! It seems I fall short on a few of those on a pretty regular basis, maybe even every day.

Living out all the pieces of that picture every single day is hard. When you live with another person love is tested in a hundred ways a thousand times a day. It's easy to feel impatience with your spouse, easier to sometimes treat perfect strangers with more kindness than we treat the person we married. We look around and think we want more, better, different. We get mad.  Easily. Past hurts and the mistakes you or your spouse have made can spin like a film reel inside your head.

Love is many things, but it is for sure not 'never having to say you're sorry'.

Love is waking up every day purposing to be all those things you weren't the day before.
Love is letting some things go and making dinner instead.
Love is a million small acts of kindness sprinkled across a lifetime.

Love means always having to say you're sorry.

There's power in those words. Left unsaid, small annoyances turn into something much bigger than they ought to be. And without somebody saying those words, truly big issues will begin to take up all the space in the room until it feels like there's none left for the two of you. 

In marriage the words "I'm sorry" will be uttered hundreds, if not thousands of times, and that's a good thing. Those two little words are what help us live out the last part of that verse-

They allow trust to grow.
They offer hope.
They make you want to persevere.


  1. That is so sweet. Totally agree. These are the 'secrets' to a long happy marriage.

  2. I remember getting to watch Love Story when I was probably in sixth grade. Our parents watched it with us. My dad blurted out , well That line couldn't be further from the truth! Love means always having to say you're sorry.

  3. Oh I remember the movie well...I was a sophomore in high school and my girl friends and I blubbered our way through the show. That line was ridiculous of course but boy was it EVER repeated. And truthfully it took me a while in a relationship before I realized just how crazy that line was. Your right, TRUE love means ALWAYS having to say your sorry, lol. Enjoy your day!

  4. Thanks for this reminder today, Joyce. Just what I needed to read. :) And I, also, had to wait a few years to watch Love Story. No 10-year-old in my parents' house was allowed to watch a PG movie! Now excuse me while I go say I'm sorry. :)

  5. Oh, I definitely remember "oohing" and "aahing" over Love Story! Your words are so very true, Joyce. I've often said, after being married for 24 years, it's much harder to stick it out than to just throw in the towel. Loving someone means you never, ever give only give in.

  6. I was 10 and finally watched it when I was 12 at a friend's house. I agree, Love is always having to say, I'm sorry! Next to the saddest I've ever seen, Others sad ones are Beaches, Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment. Do you agree?

  7. Love means HAVING to say your sorry, that's for sure! Love your weeding photo.

  8. Amen to saying I'm sorry… and sometimes even when you don't think you need to because you were "right." lol Saying sorry goes a long way!

  9. So, so true. Sometimes those three words ("I am sorry") mean a whole lot more than the "typical" three words ("I love you").

  10. Oh, so glad you addressed that. I wasn't but 18 years old when that movie came out but I thought it was an insane quote even then.

    After 42 years of marriage I can attest that saying "I'm sorry" is a regular part of our life. :o))) Otherwise we probably wouldn't have survived 42 years.

    Easter blessings and keep enjoying your girls visit!

  11. So true! Love means Always being willing to say you're sorry. Glad you brought out that hugely important point, Joyce. When that simple truth is learned, it makes marriage so much better!

  12. I never liked that movie quote, at all. I think people just use it as an excuse not to apologize, but we all know where that'll get ya'! Keep the great posts coming :)

  13. I agree with you completely. To not have to say "I'm sorry..." because you are loved by the person you wronged... idiocy.

    I saw that movie as a newlywed way back in 1971. I cried and sobbed and could barely leave the theater when it ended. I've never seen it again, and never will. (And that 1st husband of mine (I was 19) should not have believed he didn't have to say he was sorry!)