What’s your favourite love story? There are so many of course, both in history and literature. Anthony and Cleopatra. Heloise and Abelard. Napoleon and Josephine. And of course the fictional Romeo and Juliet. My favourite is the story of Catherine and Heathcliff in Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights. Richard and I visited the Bronte home in Haworth, Yorkshire, when we were in England a few years ago and got to see where the story was penned.
If you are a Boomer, you will of course recall another memorable couple: Jennifer and Oliver, played by Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal in the 1970 film version of Erich Segal’s novel, Love Story. If nothing else, you will remember its haunting tune and the famous line spoken first by Jennifer to Oliver and, later by Oliver to his father following Jennifer’s funeral: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
I was too young at the time to know what this line might mean, but when I did fall in love, I came to the conclusion that it is both true and false. It’s false because we know that, due to the frailty of human nature, we often make mistakes that sometimes wound those we love most. In these instances it is important that we apologize. On the other hand, as many of us have joyfully discovered, there are times when we have been lovingly embraced fully and completely and unconditionally, without saying a word, even when we did not deserve that love. The love of a parent or dear friend come readily to mind. Think of the story of the Prodigal Son. I have also known spouses to share this special kind of love.
What do you think?
Does love mean “never having to say you’re sorry?”
I would be interested to hear what you think about this famous catchline from Love Story. I would also enjoy hearing what your favourite love story is.
Happy Valentine’s Day!