I once met Kenny Rogers. It was in 1983, LaGuardia airport, when he was in the pinnacle years of his amazing musical career. He was the nicest guy, and after a pleasant meet and greet, I left with a signed headshot and a little crush. There is just something about Kenny.

Two years later my good friend Mark’s dad passed away. It was an “all of a sudden, take your breath away, hard to believe what someone is telling you is true” kind of event. One day he was there on the sidelines cheering Mark on, and the next day, he was gone. This left an indelible mark on my memory. One reason was that Mark’s dad was the same age as my dad and way too young to die. And the second reason was that his parent’s had a beautiful relationship. The kind you see from a distance and think it’s possible for people to be in love for a long time. At the memorial there was a slide show of Mark’s mom and dad hugging, laughing, kissing, and enjoying life. The song that was playing was Kenny Roger’s love song, Through the Years. It amazes me, but to this day when I listen to this song I shed a tear. Music is so powerful. Take a look at these inspiring lyrics and, if you want, you can listen to the song here.

I can’t remember when you weren’t there
When I didn’t care for anyone but you
I swear we’ve been through everything there is
Can’t imagine anything we’ve missed
Can’t imagine anything the two of us can’t do

Through the years, you’ve never let me down
You turned my life around, the sweetest days I’ve found
I’ve found with you… Through the years
I’ve never been afraid, I’ve loved the life we’ve made
And I’m so glad I’ve stayed, right here with you
Through the years

I can’t remember what I used to do
Who I trusted, who I listened to before
I swear you taught me everything I know
Can’t imagine needing someone so
But through the years it seems to me
I need you more and more

Through the years, through all the good and bad
I know how much we had, I’ve always been so glad
To be with you… Through the years
It’s better every day, you’ve kissed my tears away
As long as it’s okay, I’ll stay with you
Through the years

Through the years, when everything went wrong
Together we were strong, I know that I belong
Right here with you… Through the years
I never had a doubt, we’d always work things out
I’ve learned what life’s about, by loving you
Through the years

This song touches something deep in my soul. It triggers a truth. Did you hear it—the way to get a “through the years” relationship is by weathering the ups and downs. It is after couples spend years enduring the mundane and cheering the highlights, that they receive this gift of hindsight. And from this view, the troubles fade and clarity ensues. I think that is because as we allow our moments to become memories the rough patches soften and the good times start to glow. We become more accepting, accommodating, and grateful.

My husband and I talk about this phenomenon as we reflect back on the different seasons in our relationship. As the troubled moments passed, the waters of time started to flow over the jagged remains. Through this process, we continued to grow and learn about our relationship, each other, and how life works. So now, from a distance, we can appreciate the fact that we made it through together. We also see how the times of pain and disappointment have integrated into a better version of us. Through the Years offers us that hindsight view.

Can you look at your relationship from that perspective today? What have you already made it through that at the time felt nearly impossible? Can you see how it looks different, maybe even encouraging now? Do you feel the gratitude for your relationship and all it has given you? Hold on to that—it is your Through the Years song forming. Can you hear it? I hope so because we all need to hear a song that reminds us that loving someone for a lifetime is a beautiful thing.

Until we meet again—Love each other well

Jen Elmquist