The most romantic words of all are not “I love you.” Here’s something better.


Authors Mary Morris, Larry O’Connor celebrating their 30th anniversary in Brooklyn last night.

Most people say the three most beloved words in the English language are “I love you.” I’ve always contended the top three should be “You are right.” But what are the top seven? I think novelist Mary Morris nailed it with this Facebook anecdote celebrating her thirtieth wedding anniversary to author Larry O’Connor yesterday. Consider it another in our sequence of courtship stories (our inaugural one last year, on “Romance on the Rails in NYC,” is here).

Thirty years ago today I made one of the best decisions of my life. I married this smart, funny, rock solid human being. I don’t think I know anyone with a sharper moral compass, a more decent soul, or a keener sense of beauty. I have never met anyone who can stare longer at a single painting or wait more patiently outside the ladies room. We have raised a child and several animals, traveled the world, lived in our home, and been partners in work and crime. (Well, there have been minimal crimes.)

But truth be told there was a moment of doubt years ago when we were engaged. We hadn’t known one another that long. I had a small child and a lot of responsibility. I’d also inherited a little bit of money that was my nest egg. Friends were adamant that I get a prenuptial. When I told Larry, he said it was fine. I should call a lawyer. But months went by and I never got around to it.

Valentine’s Day rolled around and Larry came home with a dozen roses and an enormous schmaltzy card. You know the kind. With spring flowers and a giant heart and glitter and birds making nests out of ribbon. The most garish card I’d ever seen – enough to make me doubt my decision even more.

When I opened it, Larry had written, “I love you. I will never sue you over assets.”

I’ve never looked back. I am incredibly grateful. To my fellow traveler, husband, friend, thank you. Here’s to thirty more.

Morris is the author of 2018’s Gateway to the Moon – “A sweeping generational tale that stretches from the Spanish Inquisition to modern-day New Mexico, beginning with Luis de Torres, a Spanish Jew who accompanies Columbus as his interpreter,” according to the New York Post.

Postscript: And it turns out there is a Stanford connection to this story. O’Connor’s 2003 book, Tip of the Iceberg, was nominated for a Stanford Libraries’ Saroyan Prize.

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One Response to “The most romantic words of all are not “I love you.” Here’s something better.”

  1. sandi dolmatch Says:

    Dear Mary,
    Truer words could not be spoken or written. You took the words right out of my mouth. My husband Murray was one of those rare birds that entered my life while dining at an intimate restaurant on the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) of Paris. We married after 5 years and thirty-two years later he died in my arms and took my heart with him. You are truly blessed if you have a man like that in your life.