Monday, March 30, 2009

Love means....

...never having to say you're sorry.

Does it now?

"Love means never having to say you're sorry." is a line from the novel of the same name and from the 1970's film
Love Story.

Matthew (
The Editor) and I had our first real disagreement since being an official couple last week and it got me to thinking.

First of all - I say disagreement rather than fight because I don't believe anything is ever really a 'fight' unless you want it to be. Matthew and I are both rather intelligent (him more so than I) individuals with a very strong hold on what we believe and for the most part our thoughts and beliefs are very similar. However, when we do come across a topic we don't see eye to eye on we can tend to get rather passionate and well, OK let's just be blunt here, we can both be pushy jerks about getting our personal views across to the other person. And respect can sometimes get lost in the heat of the dispute.

This happened in our disagreement. I guess argument could be an accurate description as well. I admit I wasn't always this way, and occasionally am still not, but over the years I've come to the realization that everyone is not going to think like me. I know, who'd have thunk? Along with that realization has also come the maturation of my ability to respect others even when we don't see eye to eye. I have, you could say, developed the ability to be ok with 'agreeing to disagree'. My honey on the other hand, while he's much more mature than me in many other areas, is somewhat lacking that same ability.

It started from a conversation about
Lam Loung, the man who threw his four small children off of the Dauphin Island Bridge last year. He was found guilty and jurors were deliberating to determine his sentencing. Life in prison or the death penalty.

I personally am against the death penalty. I do not believe that any human has the right to take the life of another. The only exception I would make to this is in an extreme case of self defense. God is the giver of life. God is the only One who has the right to take it away. That is my personal belief on that topic.

Matthew believes in a more Karmic view. Yes God gave life, but the Bible says that if you take the life of another then you forfeit your life at the hands of man as well. You take the life of someone, you are in effect putting into motion the end of your life as a result.

The first mention of capital punishment as a penalty for murder is in Genesis 9:6:

"Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." (KJV)

Numbers 35:31 states:

"... you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death."

And that's all find and dandy, but it's not my personal feeling or belief. Yes I believe in God, yes I read and follow the Bible, but on this particular subject, my heart leads me in another direction.

So the conversation started getting a bit passionate and I could tell that it was headed nowhere fast so I told Matthew, "OK, I understand how you feel, and I respect that. I don't feel the same. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this particular subject"

He didn't agree, or agree to disagree and he continued to push his view to the point that it became disrespectful. He got angry, eh frustrated may be a better word, and I got upset.

We both calmed down later and I expressed how I felt, that by refusing to accept my view and respecting that it was not the same as his, that he'd disrespected me. He said he was sorry for upsetting me and we moved on.

Now I want you to reread that last sentence because it is the real reason for this post.

He said he was sorry for upsetting me and we moved on.

He was sorry that something he did upset me. Not that he did something wrong.

Please note that the next day he did come over and very very humbly said he realized that he'd been a bit of an ass and that he owed me a very big apology, which I very happily accepted.

But it got me thinking.

Saying you're sorry.

If you honestly don't think you did something wrong, but are honestly sorry that someone was upset as a result of your actions does the sorry mean the same thing as apologizing for the actions themselves?

Does "I'm Sorry" carry the same weight if the person really doesn't think they did anything to be sorry for or are they basically apologizing for you taking something the wrong way? Even if you didn't. Even if they really were wrong.

Now this isn't a slight against Matthew in any way, shape or form. This is not a 'my boyfriend was a jerk so I'm going to complain about it' post. We rarely disagree and when we do, we're normally very skilled at verbalizing ourselves in a way that gets the point across to both parties without any sleight occurring. It's simply a question, an expression of a thought brought on by a rare instance where we didn't communicate quite so well.

So what do you think? How do you like your 'sorrys'? Does it matter what the apology is for as long as it's sincerely heart-felt, or is it important to you that the other person really see the 'wrong' they've done and are sorry for that?

For me... a heart-felt apology for hurting my feelings carries a lot of weight, but ultimately I want the sorry to be for the action that did the hurting. Although ideally it would be for both.

So for my love and I... it may not need to be said often, but love doesn't mean we'll never say "I'm sorry".

2 People who coughed on a furball:

Anonymous said...

I want sorry to mean they are sorry for their actions, not because they hurt me or just because they are saying just to be saying it. On the other hand, I get an "I'm sorry" for my actions apology, I expect that to be the one and only time that situation has to be apologized for. If someone says they're sorry and then continually does the same thing, then that sorry doesn't count and I'd rather not hear it at that point. It takes a strong person to actually say "I'm sorry" and mean it. You have to swallow all pride but it's worth it in the end.

Clever Elsie said...

Hmm. This is a tough one. As for me personally, I try to remember that while there are certain absolute standards of right and wrong, there are also a lot of gray areas. So if someone genuinely doesn't believe his actions were wrong but is sorry that they hurt me, I try to respect that his beliefs are different than mine and accept the apology in the spirit in which it was given. That said, if someone's moral standards are consistently so different from mine that he can wrong me repeatedly (in my eyes) yet never believe his actions were wrong, I'll probably show him the door pretty quickly!