Love Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry?


Confession is important to married love because it acknowledges wrongs committed.

I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin.
Psalm 38:18

Remember the movie Love Story, starring Ali McGraw and Ryan O'Neal? Millions loved it, but it included a painfully misleading message, and that message is contained in the ludicrous line, "Love means never having to say you're sorry?'

Love—true love—means saying "I'm sorry" all the time. Why? Because, as fallen human beings, all of us mess up from time to time, and the only remedy for those mistakes is to honestly acknowl­edge our error, ask for forgiveness, and dedicate ourselves to God's work of repentance.

The false premise behind this Love Story line is that if we truly loved one another, such confes­sions would not be necessary. However, in today's verse, the psalmist makes commitment to confes­sion. Confession is in many ways simply a declara­tion of what's true.

"I'm sorry" are two of the most important words we can say when we err. Teresa and I have found that "I was wrong" may be even better. These words of confession are part of the humbling process that God uses to make us more mature as believers and as marriage partners.

Please keep confessing your sins to your spouse, and please keep giv­ing reassurance that with God's help you will do better. Don't buy the Love Story notion that saying "I'm sorry" somehow means you don't really love each other deeply enough.

Confession is important to married love because it acknowledges wrongs committed. It's also important, I believe, because it powerfully states to your spouse, "When you hurt, I care."

What steps can you take today to overcome your reluctance to utter the words "I was wrong" when they are needed?

God, please help my spouse and me to confess wrongdoing to one another, ask for forgiveness, and truly dedicate ourselves to Your plans for change.

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Lessons from My Father: Marriage
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