If love means never having to say you're sorry, we'd all be in a sorry mess. Sometimes being sorry is the only means to a solution when it comes to matters of the heart.

I know it isn't the least bit fair, since I'm a writer, but for the past 10 years I've negotiated a compromise, which really is just a win-win for me, for our valentine's celebration. Instead of taking me to a fancy restaurant (when I'd actually rather be home cooking) or buying me jewelry (which I'd never wear) I suggested we write each other love letters in place of a gift. It usually takes him a week to get his done while I pound mine out in less than 15 minutes. Like I said, it's not fair.

To my surprise, each and every year, he outdoes me by writing something so sweet and meaningful, I feel awful for getting my love letter done so quickly. He's much better at romance than I am, I probably should tell him I'm sorry for being so nonchalant about everything. He's great at giving compliments, while I neglect to tell him what I'm thinking, and never say. The truth of the matter is, he truly is the better half and I just count my lucky stars he loves me. I often have to tell him I'm sorry for not giving the relationship all that I can because he doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk so much better than I ever could.

When the youngest daughter complained about her husband's bad habit, I really couldn't muster up any sympathy for her. In fact, the daughters will agree, I rarely take their side when it comes to disputes with their better halves and will try to help them see things from a different angle, which really means, defending the sons-in-law. There's a method to my madness. If the sons-in-law know I have their back, they will have mine, which means they will gladly participate in family functions. They may complain to their wives about coming over, but they are smiling when they walk in my door and that's all a mother-in-law could ask for.

Her main complaint (if this is the main complaint, I pointed out, you are one lucky woman) is his dirty work jeans land next to the hamper, instead of inside it. When I asked if this had been going on for the nearly five years they've been sharing a hamper, she said yes. Have you asked him to throw them in the hamper? She said no, he should already know this. As crazy as it sounds, the guy may not know or even realize the hamper is there. I told her to tape this message above the hamper, "please put jeans in hamper. Love, your wife." She said that was ridiculous. I said, then quit complaining.

The beauty of being mature, empty nesters is knowing love is saying you're sorry and being able to sound genuine, even if you aren't and overlooking bad habits because you have plenty of your own.

Thank you to my valentine for making every day like a box of chocolates and knowing where the hamper is.

Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at sandydownhome@hotmail.com