Once upon a time many, many, many years ago, I recall walking out of a movie theater sobbing with several other young girls after watching Love Story. Yes, I’m dating myself, but now that I’m older and occasionally wiser than that young, very young girl, I realize that those famous words spoken by that dying heroine on screen were so totally wrong.
If you’ve never seen the movie, I’m talking about the scene in which a young married couple have a fight. It’s a horrible fight, especially since the heroine is dying. When heartthrob Ryan O’Neal returns after their fight to tell Ali McGraw he’s sorry, she stops him with a lie: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
Okay, it was mushy and gushy and cutesy then, but it was such a lie. I’ve known men who refused to apologize about wrongs they’ve committed. I know one man, in particular, who was known for never apologizing. And then one day, he called his first wife, whom he’d treated very poorly, and told her he’d finally, after all these years, accepted Christ as his savior. He proceeded to tell her he was sorry for every single thing he’d ever done to hurt her. She helped him out by listing many of those things, and one by one, he apologized for everything. After forty years, he finally learned what love meant–it meant humbling oneself and apologizing for wrongs done. For his sake, he could have done so much sooner, because he died two years later. It’s sad to consider all the years of joy he could have had, instead of anger and fighting and loss of love.
Romance, love, true love, means opening one’s heart to another person, to saying “sorry” when that word is needed, and to trying harder next time. Most folks say marriage is a lot of work. I’ve found that’s not true at all. When both parties in a marriage are willing to apologize and forgive and give to one another, those actions become easier and easier until marriage isn’t a hardship at all. It’s joy and companionship and fun. Mel and I have tried it–actually, we started out that way, thanks to Mel and his tender, giving heart. I’ve never been so blessed in my life until marriage to Mel.
Think about it–what if you and all your loved ones could forgive old hurts and apologize and give love with an open hand? What if you started the process, and others followed your lead? That’s what Mel did for me, and it worked. I’m not saying it will always happen, because I’ve been in “friendships” where I gave and gave and never received anything in return. I ended those relationships. With Mel, the more I give, the more he gives back. I say give it a try. Real romance is made of giving love in both directions.