My grandparents had an epic romance. They met in 1941 shortly before my grandpa, a naval aviator, left for WWII. Once he returned, in the words of Johnny and June Cash, they got “married in a fever” and began a 60-year life together anchored in love. Many of those years were spent in a beautiful log cabin in northern Minnesota. The family lore goes that my grandpa, as a young boy attending Boy Scout camp, watched builders create that very cabin with the trees from the property. Years later my grandparents went back and rented a cabin on the same lake until fate would have it that they were able to buy the log cabin.

Much of my childhood was spent with them in that place making precious memories I have tucked away. But it was their relationship I remember most. They loved each other well and laughed a lot. Oh, I know they had worries, tensions, and family discord. Finances were tight sometimes and days were long, but their hearts were big, which made the troubles small. They by no means had it all together, but there was never a time I didn’t witness affection between them and genuine care for one another.

One of my favorite memories was watching them dance in the kitchen with Willie Nelson on the stereo singing You Were Always on My Mind. My grandma would be doing the dishes, and my grandpa would come up behind her, grab her waist and take her in his arms. As they swayed back and forth with one another, they seemed keenly aware of what Willie’s song meant. Now, years later and 26 years into my own love affair, I too understand the meaning. And, if you have spent any length of time in your relationship, I bet it will resonate with you too.

Take a look at these lyrics, originally written by Brenda Lee:

Maybe I didn’t love you quite as often as I could have
And maybe I didn’t treat you quite as good as I should have
If I made you feel second best, I’m sorry I was blind

You were always on my mind; You were always on my mind

And maybe I didn’t hold you all those lonely, lonely times
And I guess I never told you I’m so happy that you’re mine
Little things I should have said and done I just never took the time

But you were always on my mind; You were always on my mind

Tell me, tell me that your sweet love hasn’t died
And give me, give me one more chance
To keep you satisfied, I’ll keep you satisfied
Little things I should have said and done I just never took the time

But you were always on my mind; You were always on my mind

In such a sincere and vulnerable way, this song shows us how we can both love each other deeply while simultaneously missing opportunities to show that love. That is the journey of any long-term relationship as we move from day to day with each other, holding each other in our minds and getting caught up in in the distractions of life that keep us at arm’s length. I also think this song is a sweet reminder that at any given moment we can turn to each and say, “ You are always with me. I am sorry if I missed showing you how much you mean to me. Today I am going to try harder to make sure you never wonder.”



Both men and women require this type of attention and love. We all need to be touched by hand and heart to feel known and appreciated. This love in action grounds us in the world, reminds us that we are needed, we are wanted, and that we matter. And in a couple relationship, this foundational caring is essential to keeping our relationship thriving and satisfying. Please know that little actions of caring go a long way over the lifetime of a relationship. It’s like saving pennies, at the moment it doesn’t seem of value, but when added up over the years it becomes significant.

Maybe today, just like my grandparents, you need to turn up Willie’s song, grab your partner and dance close together. Remind each other that you are here for each other and desire each other. Take a moment to apologize for any way your partner has felt forgotten or second best. Remind them that no matter what, they are your one and only, and they are always on your mind.

Until we meet again—Love each other well

Jen Elmquist