Really? As a person that’s about to be married and who has been ‘subjected’ to reading several marriage counselling books in the run up to my nuptials, I can safely say that love means saying sorry…. A lot.
The problem with the quote, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”, is it’s intrinsic romantic value – having been made popular through the movie Love Story (The quote was ranked 13th in the American Film Institute’s “AFI’s 100 years… 100 Movie Quotes).
Romantics would argue that the quote describes a kind of pure love where two lovers understand each other to such a degree that apologies are unnecessary.
Which is also the kind of belief that nearly every married couple would struggle not to laugh about.
One well known definition of love as first described in the Bible, reads:
Love is patient, Love is kind,
It does not envy, it does not boast,
It is not proud, It is not rude,
It is not self-seeking,
It is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil,
but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.
By not apologising, you set the stage for love to be beaten down by the need for justice and compensation. After all, aren’t most conflicts resolved by both parties agreeing to forgive each other and forget about the whole issue?
Apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift
Margaret Lee Runbeck
I find the quote above very meaningful, oftentimes, when we know we’ve goofed yet again, we try to cover up our act with by trying to explain further – when what the person wanted in the first place was a simple, straightforward and honest apology.
It’s funny sometimes, how we fail to do as we tell others to do. Parents spend their time during their child’s formative years teaching them various things – including the need to apologise for wrongdoings. Those same parents then do a u-turn in their dealings with other adults by doing things like refusing to apologise because they felt too hurt to do so.
If we take a cold hard look at ourselves, I’d wager a lot of money and belongings that we’d see a young child throwing a temper tantrum and sulking about still not being able to have our own way.
Why don’t we all practice what was taught to us by our parents during our formative years? Genuine repentance and seeking forgiveness is a powerful way to heal hurts caused by conflict. It’s also a vital first step towards effective reconciliation that results in the relationship growing stronger.
The key thing is we need to mean it when we apologise and say we’re sorry.
“A stiff apology is a second insult… The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.”
This article was first published on RainTiger.com in 2007 and was part of a monthly series of motivational writings that were loosely titled, ‘Forward ever’. I’m forever grateful for that opportunity to have my work in print, even if it was ‘only’ in the online space. I remember the original motivation of this article was to have a deep look at some mistaken beliefs we often have of ourselves. I hope I succeeded though at the end of the day, that’s for you, the reader, to judge for yourself.