Have you ever noticed how many love songs are about the first flush of love or about the confusing ups and downs and losses of love? It’s rare to find love songs that champion faithfulness in the ordinary spaces of life. Indeed, songs and stories about the happily married often seem boring to us. Happily ever after is an ending, not a story in itself. As a result, we often romanticize the thrill of the chase or the pain of regret more than the calm joy of a life of love. So, for the happily married or for those who just want to see faithfulness as the subject of romantic fantasy, I give you 5 love songs for the happily married.
Let’s Stay Together by Al Green
This classic song directly denounces the kind of on-again-off-again romance that most popular song celebrates with the lines,
Why, why some people break up
Then turn around and make up
I just can’t see
You’d never do that to me
Staying around you is all I see
Plus, who can forget the happily wedded President Obama singing a clip of the song?
I Will Be Here by Stephen Curtis Chapman
Evangelicals of a certain age heard this song at every wedding they attended for at least the full decade since its 1990 release. But unlike many songs from that time, this one has aged incredibly well, and with lyrics like “I will be here and you can cry on my shoulder/When the mirror tells us we’re older, I will hold you…” the song stands up just as well for a 20th anniversary as it did for that first wedding dance.
Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney
This love song from Paul to Linda is one of the greatest rock love songs of all time. Its message isn’t confined to married life, of course, but since it comes from the man who also wrote “Will you still feed me, will you still need me when I’m sixty-four,” I think it’s safe to assume Paul’s respect for monogamy. Besides, the song tells us that the beloved is both with and loving our narrator “all the time,” and the song somehow manages to turn laundry imagery into a metaphor for the transforming power of love when it says “…you pulled me out in time and hung me on a line.” If that’s not married love, what is?
Dancing in the Minefields by Andrew Peterson
Andrew Peterson always excels at taking ordinary bits of life and turning them into epic stories by showing how they connect to the biggest story of all — the gospel. In this song, Peterson acknowledges the crazy faith it takes for two barely-twenty-somethings to take on life together:
And we went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storms
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
Well, “I do” are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another, I’ve heard
Is a good place to begin
‘Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And if you like that song, you’ll also love my new favorite from Peterson’s 2015 album, The Burning Edge of Dawn, “One Safe Place.”
Faithfully by Journey
When you and your beloved need some 80s stadium rock, this song is the go-to. Not everyone can relate to having to remain faithful to someone even when they are out on the road living the rock n’ roll lifestyle, but every married person can relate to the way changes in the course of life can make a couple feel like “two strangers learn[ing] to fall in love again.” So, let this song awaken “the joy of rediscovering” one another as you stick together through the hard times — faithfully. (cue guitar solo)
And just in case you need something a little more down to earth than the woes of a rock star in a relationship, I give you a bonus song (and a shameless self promotion.) Here’s a song I wrote about what life looks like for two introverts who get married. If you like what you hear, you can sign up for my mailing list and you’ll be the first to receive a free download of the single when it releases this week.
Christine Hand Jones is a singer-songwriter, a professor of English and songwriting, and has served as a worship leader and church music director. She has a PhD in Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas, which she earned, in large measure, by listening to the collected works of Bob Dylan and writing about what she heard. When she's not playing music or fascinating her students with stunning lectures over comma splices, Christine can be found drinking coffee, playing devoted cat mom to Desmond and Molly, and roaming the shelves of Half-Price Books.