Songs about being in love for a long time
March 12, 2024 10:45 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite songs about long-term relationships? Can be about people going through it (Can We Hang On) or unrepentant fluff (Ten Years), but should NOT be about people who remain together through sheer force of loathing (No Children etc.)
posted by goodbyewaffles to Media & Arts (55 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Do You Love Me from Fiddler on the Roof about a couple in a a long-term, arranged marriage coming to the recognition of how much they have learned to care for each other over the years.
posted by metahawk at 10:51 AM on March 12 [9 favorites]

45 Years by Stan Rogers.

After twenty-three years, you'd think I could find a way to let you know somehow
That I want to see your smiling face forty-five years from now

posted by darchildre at 10:58 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]

Still Into You by Paramore is a great song about a long-term relationship and still getting butterflies after all these years.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:58 AM on March 12 [4 favorites]

Stand Inside by Kurt Vile is about his relationship with his wife, and I put it on every wedding playlist I make.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:59 AM on March 12

Darling Lorraine by Paul Simon
posted by shadygrove at 11:05 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Harvest Moon by Neil Young.
posted by jocelmeow at 11:09 AM on March 12 [8 favorites]

This will be - Natalie Cole
Higher and Higher - Jackie Wilson
Still the One - Orleans
When a Man Loves a Woman - Bolton
Have I Told You Lately - Rod Stewart
Wonderful Night - Eric Clapton
Everlasting Love - Carl Carlton

Funny enough I have a Google Music Playlist on this theme, definitely some laughably cheesy songs. I'll try to link it later.
posted by rubatan at 11:11 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]

If We Were Vampires by Jason Isbell is about realizing that even a successful long term relationship generally ends with one person being widowed. The song isn't about vampires, btw. It just uses them as an example of what it would be like to be in a relationship that could not be ended by death. In the end, the narrator takes the position that this is what makes his and his partner's time together so precious: it is limited.

It's knowing that this can't go on forever
Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone
Maybe we'll get forty years together
But one day I'll be gone
Or one day you'll be gone

Sad footnote: Isbell wrote this for/about Amanda Shires. They're getting divorced now.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:14 AM on March 12 [11 favorites]

Through the Years, Kenny Rogers
posted by Melismata at 11:14 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]

True Companion - Marc Cohn
posted by amf at 11:14 AM on March 12

The Oscar-nominated song "It Never Went Away" by Jon Batiste could suit, and it's lovely.

I'm still having warm fuzzies after seeing him do it on the Oscars on Sunday - at some point he points into the audience and sings "every time I see your face," and he's pointing at his wife Suleika then. She's who he wrote it for, to comfort her when she was going through chemo; they met when they were teenagers at a band camp, and at during his Oscar performance, they show a clip of the pair at their own wedding mixed in with clips from movies like SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:15 AM on March 12

100 Years by Five for FIghting
posted by pangolin party at 11:15 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]

Pearl Jam, Just Breathe
posted by metasarah at 11:19 AM on March 12

"Two Sparrows in a Hurricane" by Tanya Tucker. I can barely think about it without crying but it's a beautiful song about long-time love.
posted by Wylie Kyoto at 11:36 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]

Spring Wind, Greg Brown
posted by bricoleur at 11:36 AM on March 12

I love this question!

My favorites in this genre are:
* The obvious choice of When I'm 64;
* The Idea of Growing Old.
posted by yankeefog at 11:43 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Gerry Rafferty - Right Down The Line
posted by jabes at 11:45 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]

Woody Guthrie/Wilco's "Hesitating Beauty," which is from the perspective of a young man proposing marriage and envisaging a home full of children and love.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:56 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Grace Petrie - Departures
posted by Wink Ricketts at 12:08 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Statler Brothers: “I’ll go to my grave loving you.”
posted by serendipityrules at 12:09 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

The Magnetic Fields, Papa Was a Rodeo

The Beautiful South, Prettiest Eyes
posted by eirias at 12:12 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]

The Vow by RuthAnne
posted by kuma440 at 12:14 PM on March 12

Dance me to the end of love - Leonard Cohen
posted by warriorqueen at 12:18 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]

As - Stevie Wonder.
posted by rekrap at 12:21 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]

There are probably just maybes (FWIW):
- Endless Love (Glee Cast)
- (I've Had) The Time of My Life
- Because You Live (Jesse McCartney)
- Your Smiling Face (James Taylor)
posted by forthright at 12:22 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Indigo Girls, "Power of Two."

"And if we leave a legacy
It's that we loved each other well."

Full lyrics.
posted by humbug at 12:40 PM on March 12

What Comes After Certainty - Bill Callahan

True love is not magic
It's certainty
And what comes after certainty?
A world of mystery

posted by rabbitbookworm at 12:46 PM on March 12

Yo La Tengo - Stupid Things, The Point of It
posted by hydrophonic at 1:04 PM on March 12

Islands in the Stream
posted by runincircles at 1:27 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Al Green - Let’s Stay Together
posted by TwoWordReview at 1:28 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]

Naked as We Came, Iron & Wine
posted by Depressed Obese Nightmare Man at 1:37 PM on March 12

The Far Side Banks Of Jordan by June Carter and Johnny Cash is an excellent version of this. It's from the point of view of two old-timers who promise that whoever dies first will wait for the other on the River Jordan so that they can both enter heaven together.
posted by Newbornstranger at 1:37 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

True Love Travels on a Gravel Road by Percy Sledge, Elvis, Nick Lowe, or the Afghan Whigs.

The 14th of February by Billy Bragg

Taylor Swift - Mary's Song

James McMurtry -Canola Fields --> not about being married, but about having a very long term crush on a person. "cashing in on a 30 year crush - you can't be young and do that".

Feist - Mushaboom - about dreaming about a long-term relationship and your future

Opposite: Guns N Roses 14 Years - about falling out of love after 14 years of marriage.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:16 PM on March 12

Yes jabes Right Down the Line was my second favorite song at one point, (Behind 'Feelin' Satisfied off Boston's "Don't Look Back" lp) back in the late 70's -80's?.

Enduring love in spite of all the nonsense life will throw at you.

Luckily, found that woman...
posted by Windopaene at 3:44 PM on March 12

Shania Twain's "You're Still The One"
posted by purplesludge at 3:50 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Do You Remember by Jack Johnson. He started I think at 10 years, but will update the lyrics in the songs when performing live to the current amount of time. It's a nice little love song.
posted by Carillon at 3:51 PM on March 12

I'm gonna go ahead and county "In Spite of Ourselves" by John Prine and Iris Dement.
posted by kensington314 at 4:05 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]

Teenage Fanclub - I don't want control of you
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:24 PM on March 12

The Pogues - A Rainy Night in Soho

The Magnetic Fields - It's Only Time

They Might Be Giants - Another First Kiss
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:24 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

The Boy Least Likely To - Rock Upon a Porch with You. "Someday when I'm older I will rock upon a porch with you // ... // 'cause somehow after everything and everyone that we've been through // I'm kind of looking forward to rocking back and forth with you // on the front steps of our sweet retirement home."
posted by Pandora Kouti at 5:54 PM on March 12

Here's a brand new one from Iron and Wine (with a delightful guest vocal accompaniment by the great Fiona Apple).

All In Good Time
posted by HillbillyInBC at 6:16 PM on March 12

Jimmy Buffett, Coast of Carolina
posted by TwoStride at 6:32 PM on March 12

Ben Folds - The Luckiest

I feel like Bill Morrissey often sings about well-worn loves, though often with a tinge of sadness, if you like the tone of Inside there's more to explore!
posted by euphoria066 at 7:38 PM on March 12

Mary Chapin Carpenter's cover of Grow Old Along With Me
posted by adekllny at 5:46 AM on March 13

Guy Clark, 'Stuff That Works'.
posted by Hogshead at 6:39 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]

Birches by Bill Morrisey
posted by Wilbefort at 11:17 AM on March 13

Charlie Rich – Life Has Its Little Ups And Downs
posted by Chenko at 1:02 PM on March 13

David Lee Murphy - Dust on the Bottle
posted by sigmagalator at 1:17 PM on March 13

Stuck With You - Huey Lewis & The News
posted by imitura at 3:16 PM on March 13

The most iconic of this genre, in my book, is Robert Burns' traditional Scottish ballad, "John Anderson My Jo". Here is a beautiful performance of it. ("Jo" means sweetheart.)

John Anderson, my jo, John,
When we were first acquent;
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonnie brow was brent;
But now your brow is bald, John,
Your locks are like the snow;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
John Anderson, my jo.

John Anderson, my jo, John,
We clamb the hill thegither;
And many a cantie day, John,
We’ve had wi’ one another:
Now we must totter down, John,
And hand in hand we’ll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,
John Anderson, my jo.
posted by ojocaliente at 10:47 AM on March 14

One more from 90s country: Alan Jackson - Remember When
posted by sigmagalator at 6:47 PM on March 14

There's a beautiful French-language song by Georges Moustaki called "Sarah" (alternatively known as "La femme qui dort dans mon lit"). It describes a man's love and affection for a woman, and how that hasn't been diminished by aging, adversity, etc.
posted by DavidfromBA at 12:28 PM on March 15

*smacks forehead*

The Dutchman! This is a song from the 60s that became a bit of a folk standard; it's a slice-of-life from the life of an elderly Dutch couple, where the husband is experiencing some kind of dementia or memory loss and his wife is patiently caring for him. But as the last bit of the song suggests, sometimes the fog parts for him:

"And he sees her for a moment, calls her name,
She makes the bed up singing some old love song,
A song Margaret learned when it was very new.
He hums a line or two, they sing together in the dark.
The Dutchman falls asleep and Margaret blows the candle out.

Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuiderzee.
Long ago, I used to be a young man
And dear Margaret remembers that for me."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:57 PM on March 15

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