Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry; NOT

2 12 2013

Back in 1970 a motion picture came out based on the true story of a young couple’s life, love and tragic ending.  The movie lovestory-posterwas Love Story and it took the country by storm, in every theater where it was playing you would have been hard pressed to find a dry eye in the house at the conclusion of the film.  I confess I would have to be counted as one of the weepy eyes who got caught up in the drama and sadness of the story.  To go a step further, my then girlfriend ended up seeing it 3 times.  (We worked at a drive-in so it made it easy to see it several times.)  We became so absorbed in the tale, I think we could have quoted almost every line, especially the most famous 8 word passage in the whole show; “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  Beautiful sentiment, huh? DON’T,   YOU,  BELIEVE IT!!!!!!!!  In our youthful innocence, we took those words to be prophetic as if sent by God himself; in truth they were more like a visit from the angel of death every time either of us uttered them.  But we began a “futile” attempt to live out our relationship in a way that that neither of us would ever have regrets for our words or actions to the other.  I use the “futile” because trying to be successful at such an endeavor would be like trying to fix the leak in the Titanic with silly putty!!!  Back in the day I was somewhat of a typical teenage boy, a whole lot of attitude and little tact on the words that came out of my mouth.  (Hmm, that sounds a little like me at times today.  Never mind, let’s not go there!)

But because of that immature attitude accompanied by an acidic tongue, attempts to live that perfect couple’s relationship would crash into the wall.  At moments like that tears would flow from my girlfriend’s eyes and the reality of my arrogance and ignorance would hit me in the face like a bucket of ice water.  Not wanting to see this, I would say “I’m sorry.”  Moist eyes and quivering lip would respond, “But love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  ARGHHH!!!!!  Talk about a Catch 22 situation–I do something wrong to a person I care for and then have no way of making it right!  The roles Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw portrayed on the big screen made me fall in love with them, but the anguish I suffered every time I spoke the “S” word made me want to take their heads and knock them together saying, “What the heck were you guys thinking making such a stupid movie anyway!”

I’m going to get to my main point early today because it’s a very important topic (plus I need all the practice I can get writing shorter.)

This really was a good movie for the times and had many good points relating to love between a couple, except in this man’s opinion it missed the mark on the main issue; love “DOES” mean saying you’re sorry!  I have met people in my life that adhere to the philosophy of not saying sorry for a number of different reasons: “People should understand that’s just the way I am.”  “People who have hurt me never said they’re sorry so why should I?”  Here’s one that’s been made popular from a TV show: “Saying you’re sorry is a sign a weakness.”  I’ll never be accused of being the sharpest knife in the drawer, but one thing I have learned is forgiveness, be it asking for or accepting is one of the strongest and meaningful things a person will ever do.  You see ‘sorry’ should not be looked at as just a word to get past rough road with someone; it should be seen and treated as an action that says I was wrong and I need to make it right.

In our early days together, Cathy and I had some real humdinger fights.  We were both stubborn, neither willing to give in and that in itself became the catalyst of what could have become another failed marriage for the times; but we both knew we had something special that was bigger than our separate egos, something worth treasuring and protecting.  We both had to learn (and I confess, mostly me) that when a wrong is committed, healing does not fully occur without forgiveness, either asked for, given or both.  19th Century George Macdonald said it this way, “Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.”  Over the years of my life, I have found myself sitting between two people who started out madly in love with each other, only to end up facing the destruction of their relationship because the words “I’m sorry” were more than one or the other could say.  It saddens me to say that a few of the hardest ones to get through to on the importance of asking for forgiveness have been Christian couples.  One “interesting” individual wanted to argue that it didn’t matter if ever told his wife he’s sorry so long as she does what the Bible says and submit to him.  (Those are the ones that send me to the nearest wall to beat my head against it!)  Knowing where he got that, I asked, “Well how well do you submit to her?”  “What?  I’m not supposed to submit to her!”  Taking him farther down to the book and chapter where he developed his one-sided attitude we read the words, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” Ephesians 5:21.  It’s all part of those words “Two becoming One,” Friends and Family; if you have taken those words as truth in your marriage then whenever you hurt your loved one, you are inflicting the same injury on yourself.  Literally scores of couples I have heard say felt a huge weight was lifted from both of them when repentance and forgiveness have occurred. Often when my Lady and I have had a falling out, my work day stays in ruin until I pick up the phone, call her to say those words that mean Love, “I’m sorry.”  Then to know restoration has occurred with her response, “I forgive you.”  Here’s a good practice to get into with your husband or wife, pray together.  One statistic I’ve quoted before is that 50% of all marriages end in divorce.  But with couple committed to praying together on a regular basis (and that includes praying out loud for each other), that stat drops to below 1%.  Hey, isn’t I worth a shot; just sayin.

My former girlfriend and I made a lot of mistakes and ended up going separate ways way back when, but I think it’s safe to say we learned love means a whole lot more than what we realized.  We must have learned something; we’ve both been married to our chosen life mates for 40 years now, pretty awesome huh?!!

Okay, failed again to write a short story, actually I have a whole lot more to say on this subject but I’ll save that for another time.  

One final thought, since becoming Christian I’ve learned that repentance and forgiveness is not only healing, it’s a giver of life;

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and “will forgive” us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9  In other words Life everlasting.

We as Travelers of the Rock Road must give consideration to the question how will we journey this life trail, alone with a heavy load never to set down because of the problems we discussed today, or with others willing to bare the load with you knowing the true two-part meaning of love.

“Love means saying I’m sorry, and Love means I forgive you.”

Nuff said, thanks for reading!!


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One response

5 12 2013
Beth Anne

I loved that book. I loved that film. And even then, when I was so young, I KNEW that line was all wrong. Love requires apology and forgiveness over and over and over again.

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