“Love does not distrust, does not take revenge, does not hurt; love always believes and forgives and lives and makes live..”


Do you remember the movie “Love Story”? And that mythical phrase… “ Love means never having to say you’re sorry”.

That phrase has been in our lives ever since, but saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean not loving, it means the opposite.

Let’s face it. Even healthy, happy couples argue, and sometimes fight dirty. Despite the hard work you put into your relationship, despite the hours you spend on personal development and managing your emotional state, and certainly despite your best and most loving intentions, you won’t always handle relationship conflict well.

We all make mistakes sometimes. Some of these mistakes are silly and unintentional. But sometimes we launch attacks aimed at our partner’s vulnerability. We cause harm to the person and the intimacy that binds us together.

So what do you do when you hurt the other person with your words or actions? Simply apologize and don’t ignore your mistakes. If you don’t heal wounds in time, they can fester and build walls in your relationship. But our mistakes are also our best teachers.

Every awkward act or word gives us the opportunity to start over. When we fail to love with mindfulness and hurt, the most skillful and committed couples in their relationship do a repair exercise and start over determined to bounce back, learn something and do better next time.

How to give and receive an apology

Giving or receiving a good apology is an art, and a good apology requires two people. There is the giver and the receiver. The apology must be offered and it must be accepted.

A healing apology is based on kindness, generosity and compassion. I have hurt you. I realize that. As an offender, I offer you my reparation. I apologize with kind heart, voice and words. I try to renew our intimacy and bring us closer again. But I cannot make amends alone. Even an apology crafted by the Buddha himself is not complete unless the receiver accepts it graciously and offers something in return: forgiveness. When you have hurt me, I watch you struggle. And I love you, so I listen to your apology with a kind heart, ears, and mind. And then I forgive you. Without my forgiveness, our rift cannot heal.

So, we, the offender and the offended, have the same responsibility to repair what has been broken. We are lovers, together. Our relationship is something for which we all take full responsibility.

My thinking causes my unhappiness, not you. So even when you have said something cruel, I can choose, with my mind, to let it go, to see past the temporary clouds of fear, ego and the love story behind it. So yes, sweetheart, I forgive you. I forgive you for your humanity, your flaws, your missteps. And I ask you to do the same for me when I fail.

Love means never having to say you're sorry
Love means never having to say you're sorry

Conscious apology in practice: making amends, forgiving and starting afresh


Here’s a repair manual for when you say or do something that upsets your partner.

“I’m sorry” is a good start, but for an apology to rebuild intimacy, it must have three qualities. If you have said something unfair, you must first acknowledge the mistake. Second, you must make amends. Third, you must commit to doing better.

Therefore, practice saying “I’m sorry” in a way that you take responsibility, make amends, and improve. I did something that hurt you (take responsibility), I’m sorry (repair) and I’m going to change it (improve).


Can you forgive and forget? If you have been hurt, you may never completely forget. But you can always forgive because forgiveness is a choice, a choice you may have to make over and over again. When your mind takes hold of something your partner said or did that hurt you, you have forgotten the present moment. You are reliving something that no longer exists. You are creating your own suffering here and now, based on your history. If you choose not to forgive your partner, you will not be able to dance in the present moment with them. You are tainted by the past.

By choosing to forgive your partner, you are also choosing to forgive yourself, because you make mistakes too. Choose to stop creating pain in this perfect moment. “I forgive you” is a good start to accepting an apology but it is best to follow these three steps: First, thank your partner for caring so much about you and your relationship. Second, acknowledge that your partner was responsible for his or her mistake and is trying to make amends. And third, accept the apology.

So practice saying “I forgive you” in a way that you thank, acknowledge and accept. Thank you for acknowledging your mistake (appreciation), I understand that you take responsibility for your mistake (acknowledgement) and I forgive you (acceptance).

Starting over

Do not allow unfinished business to accumulate. Let go of small slights and big hurts so that you can renew yourselves. Practice apologizing to each other often.

To love means to say “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you”. And now we start again, at this very moment, as friends and as generous lovers. Because no one is perfect, and LOVE knows it.

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