Love Story Corrected After 44 Years – Love DOES Mean Having to Say You’re Sorry

Posted by: Shel 12 Comments

Love Story - Love DOES Mean Having to Say You're Sorry

After the recent post referencing Tom Cruise’s famous movie line “You complete me,” I heard from many of you who thought there was another Hollywood line that should be on the “Relationship Drivel” list: Love means never having to say your sorry.

I agree – but I’m not the only one who does. Even the stars of the 1970 movie Love Story think it’s ‘a crock’ – it’s a wonder Ali McGraw could keep a straight face while uttering those silly words to a youthful Ryan O’Neal.

Even if you’re not old enough to remember the movie, you’ve probably heard the much-quoted line and recognized the fallacy of this adage. Not only does love mean sometimes having to say you’re sorry, actually apologizing when you’ve wronged your spouse is mandatory in marriage. At least for those who want to stay married.

An apology – if sincere – can be beneficial to marriage. Here’s how:

  • It can stop an argument before it starts
  • It can stop an argument in progress before it gets to the point where permanent damage is done
  • It can validate and lift up the spouse who was right
  • Each time you make yourself give a deserved apology, it makes it easier to do so the next time one is needed
  • Dislike of having to apologize may lead to avoiding the behavior that  creates the obligation to do so

It’s nice to know that after 44 years, we’re finally all on the same page: Real love means sometimes having to say you’re sorry.

Like This Post? Never Miss Another!
We respect your privacy.

Leave a Reply


  • LOVE STORY gave an entire generation (of men, especially) the permission NOT to say they were sorry. I had a college psychology professor who said it almost ended his engagement until his fiance said she was sorry, but if he couldn’t learn to sincerely apologize the engagement was over.

    • Shel Harrington

      I found it interesting that even Ryan O’Neil thought it was silly at the time, but yet it was portrayed as such a romantic concept – I can see how adhering to it would be a relationship – dealbreaker!

  • thanks, I needed this today and always….

    • Shel Harrington

      I hear you, Lin – the art of apology is a skill I’m still developing. Unfortunately, I suspect it is one that I will continue to have need to summon up!

  • Apologizing to stop an argument is a great strategy!
    Despite the line in Love Story, I do enjoy the movie. 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      It’s been so long since I’ve seen it I don’t remember anything but the sadness and feeling like everybody was very cool – I was probably a bit young to appreciate the depth of the romance. It is soooooooo weird to be able to say: “I haven’t seen that movie for 40 years.” 40 years! When did that happen??

  • As a person guilty of constantly being wrong between my husband and I, I found that when I forced myself to swallow my pride and apologize it was really me saying “honey, I love you and you shouldn’t be shouldering the blame for something I did.” He always forgave me instantly and never brought it up again. It was one way I could show him I valued him.

    • Shel Harrington

      I got a little misty-eyed reading this, Amy – it sounds like he was an amazing man. From our interaction over the past year and experiencing first-hand what an encouraging, supportive spirit you are, I have no doubt that you found many ways to show your husband how much you valued him. And it is also clear that he left you with no doubt about how valued you were as his wife. You continue to be in my prayers, my friend.

  • Good advice, Shel. I’m glad you added “and mean it.” I have to laugh sometimes at my three-year-old grandson, who’ll do something he’s not supposed to do while simultaneously apologizing. Somehow, if the apology doesn’t curtail the action, its sincerity might be questioned.

    • Shel Harrington

      Your grandson is really on top of things! Reminded me of the cartoon I saw where one character is apologizing to the other for what they planned to do!
      I thought of you last week when I saw the Love Story reunion headline that the famous line was “a crock” because you were one of the first to mention it to me. Of course, you already knew Ryan O’Neal thought that because you saw that later show where he poked fun at it – I loved that the viewpoint got a little more focus!

  • I’m sorry but I love this. 🙂
    And speaking of questionable advice, we always subscribed to the “don’t go to bed angry” rule, which is not always a good rule for 2 stubborn people who would lie next to each other, not talking into the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes you need to go to sleep so you can find your rational mind.

    • Shel Harrington

      That’s a really good point, Mari – sometimes “sleeping on it” can change your approach. Arguing when overtired is adding dangerous fuel – no telling what hurtful can’t-take-back thing will pop out when our censors aren’t operating at full capacity!

Get updated by email when there's a new post!
We respect your privacy.